As children, we learn about the five senses and how they help us interpret the world. The smell of warm bread tells us a bakery is nearby, or we know something exciting is happening when we hear people cheering. But for kids with autism or sensory processing disorders, they struggle with these everyday sensory inputs. Their senses are out of sync; lights are too bright, sounds are too loud, and smells are too strong. A therapist or parent may choose to place an autistic child on a sensory diet that guides the child through organized activities that help stimulate the senses gently. As part of a sensory diet, swinging is one of the top recommended methods for providing lasting vestibular input for children and is appropriate for all ages.
WHAT IS A CUDDLE SWING?
If you’ve ever taken a moment to sit in a porch swing or a hammock, you understand how relaxing and soothing that gentle swinging motion can be. A cuddle swing uses that concept to provide a safe space for children with sensory processing issues.
These swings are usually made from stretchy fabric like cotton Lycra. The fabric is soft to the touch, and the stretchiness allows him or her to move around within the swing however they see fit.
HOW DOES A CUDDLE SWING HELP AUTISM?
One of the largest sources of human sensory input is the vestibular system. Located within the inner ear, it is the sense of movement and contributes to balance. While sight and sound are important senses, having a sense of balance is crucial to build the neural pathways that help process sensory input. A strong vestibular system tells our bodies where they are in relation to the rest of the world – whether we are standing up, falling down, or spinning around. For those children who struggle to process vestibular input, a cuddle swing can help them learn to tolerate it without overwhelming their already fragile senses.
The gentle, swinging motion of a cuddle swing is a wonderful tool to help calm children who are overwhelmed. Because of the cocoon-like nature of the swing, it provides gentle pressure that calms the child, as well as muffling noises and blocking out bright light.
A cuddle swing isn’t just for autistic children either. Many parents find that their children, regardless of their ability to process sensory input, are better able to focus on tasks and concentrate as a result of using the swing. It can also be just as soothing for parents too, and is a great tool for encouraging relaxation.
TRY A CUDDLE SWING!
Research shows that activities or tools that calm an autistic child helps their brains process and build the needed infrastructure to handle overwhelming situations in the future. If your child suffers from sensory issues, a cuddle swing could greatly benefit them. InYard provides a wide array of swings that can help your child and includes all the hardware you’ll need to hang it; check out the selection here and order one today!
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