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Talking About Sensory Integration Therapy

We’ve talked before about the benefits of being outside, and never more so than during Lockdown, when people are feeling so “confined to barracks”  you can read more about these benefits here:

Treasuring Being Outside

The Sanctity of the Garden

What Makes Sitting on a Swing Seat So Special?

Improving Sleep

Benefits of Spending Time on a Swing

But are you aware of the enormous benefits simply being on a swing seat can bring to people with certain disabilities?  Sensory integration therapy aims to help children & adults with sensory processing issues (which some people may refer to as “sensory integration disorder”) by exposing them to sensory stimulation in a structured, repetitive way. The theory behind it is that over time, the brain will adapt and allow the person to process and react to sensations more efficiently.

Regulating Sensory Systems

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 Development

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, 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.

Safety on our Swings

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

We have supplied many assisted living facilities with swing seats, and find that our Trilogy is particularly popular with its design of a swing seat and rope swing next to each other, see photos below.

“I wanted to thank you for all your help and advice in ordering a Rockabye for my disabled son’s 21st Birthday. He 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. The Tranquillity Slat Back really suits him best. The shape encourages him to sit back and at the same time the head and lumbar area are supported"   JK

Posted by Siobhan on February 11th 2021

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