If you’re the parents of a special need child, you’re probably someone who is very concerned with your child, and want to know everything out there that can help them succeed. Many parents in this situation have placed their children in therapy sessions with a qualified therapist. Surely you wonder exactly what goes on during these sessions, and you’re likely very interested in how various treatments and methods can help your child.
The Sensory Swing
While every child is different, and all of the methods may not work for each one, it can certainly put your mind at ease to know exactly what the purpose of these treatments is, and how each is supposed to help your young one. One such treatment that is used quite frequently in these kinds of therapy sessions is the sensory swing. However, is the sensory swing an effective method of therapy for your child, or is this just a fad?
Of course, most children do enjoy spending a bit of time in the park, playing on the jungle gym, riding on the swing, and dangling from the monkey bars. Have you ever stopped to ask yourself why children enjoy these activities so much?
In reality, there are very comprehensive answers from the scientific community, and you can tap into this to help your child relax during swinging sessions, and to grow in different ways. In short, swinging and playing on other playground items is enjoyable for children because it provides an opportunity for their minds and bodies to learn about the environment and their place in it.
It may sound strange to the average adult, but when we are young, our minds and bodies actually need help to learn to work together. This is why it’s so difficult for young babies to start walking, and it’s the same reason that toddlers so often trip or fall over when running. It takes time and experience in order for their bodies to understand spatial relationships. This is broken down by science into two basic sensing systems in the mind known as the vestibular system and proprioception system.
The vestibular system is one that’s essential to allow us to sense motion, and thus helps with balance. Have you ever closed your eyes inside of a moving vehicle such as a car or a train? Weren’t you still able to tell when the car was moving? This sensation is only possible because you have an effective and well-trained vestibular system. Your vestibular system picks up on small signals from your environment to detect that you are moving, whether that be forward or backward, or in a rotational manner.
Without the vestibular system, you’d have trouble doing anything involving motion, and would likely topple over almost constantly. An autism swing exposes your child to the kinds of input that are necessary for the vestibular system to be trained and thus understand the environment. In short, this is a learning experience for your child’s senses, and it will make them feel more grounded, and eventually help them to walk, run, and perform other actions.
Proprioception is a touch-related sense that you probably don’t even think about. However, it’s extremely important for you to be able to perform complex movements. To illustrate exactly what this sense does, when you finish reading this sentence close your eyes and see if you can touch your index fingers together. Were you able to do that on your very first try, or did it take a couple of attempts? Most healthy adults are able to do that on the first attempt, and that’s all thanks to proprioception.
Proprioception is the ability of your body and mind to understand where your individual body parts are. Of course, your mind is taking various sensory inputs into account when it does this, and that certainly does include your sight, but the ability to complete this task without your sight is an indication of healthy and strong proprioception.
The sensory swing stimulates the body and mind, exposing your child to all kinds of sensory inputs that are pleasant, but also help to train the sense of proprioception.
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