Sensory Integration Therapy

Dear Martin and Siobhan,

“I wanted to write and thank you for all your help and advice in ordering a Rockabye for my disabled son’s 21st Birthday. Daniel has profound learning disabilities with autism. He has sensory integration difficulties which means swinging is very calming for him. He wouldn’t be able to get on and off a normal swing so having a bench to sit back and relax in will be of great benefit to him throughout his life. Your advice, Martin, on shape really helped as we decided the Tranquillity Slat-Back would suit him best. The shape would encourage him to sit back and at the same time the head and lumbar area would be supported. I am thrilled with the shape and the carving of DANIEL 21YRS 15/02/2012 made it extra special. Especially as you were able to deliver it that day – his birthday.“

- Joanne King

Swinging, jumping, spinning and rocking are important to children not only for fun and exercise but also to help their bodies organize and to regulate their sensory systems. Vestibular input is one of the core elements of sensory integration therapy. Our bodies' vestibular system is the sensory system that provides the primary input about movement, balance, spatial awareness and positioning. It helps us prepare our posture, maintain our balance, properly use our vision, calm ourselves and regulate our behaviour.

The amount of vestibular input varies depending on the child. Some children crave movement, while others may be motion sensitive. It is important that the sensory needs of the child be monitored to determine what is right for them. Some children may start to "stim" (Stimming means carrying out a repetitive body movement, such as hand flapping) after a point and can become more aggressive or hyperactive offsetting any calming effect the swing may have had on the child. Controlled vestibular input under the direction of an occupational or physical therapist is recommended for children with sensory processing issues.

Movement is essential for typical development to occur in all children. Swinging can have a powerful impact on the brain's ability to process and use sensory information and can act as a powerful activator on the body's systems. Swings are often used in this type of therapy. Therapists, parents and teachers can use swings effectively to reinforce any therapy objectives for children. In addition, swings can act as a strong motivator. Since all kids like to swing (special needs or not), swinging can be used as a reward for positive behaviour. When choosing a swing it is critical to consider safety at all times.

  • Adult supervision is always required at all times.
  • Make sure the swings are able to support the user(s).
  • Children who are seizure prone may require additional precautions.
  • Make sure the child has the ability to stop on their own at a moment's notice.
  • The child must want to swing on their own. Never force a child to participate.

We are able to supply a robust fixing down system and if necessary a restraining feature for our swing seats ,rope swings and Rockabyes and can reassure you of their safety in being strong enough to support even the heaviest person.

Posted by Siobhan on April 20th 2014

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