Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Toy-FULL Tuesday

What child doesn't LOVE the thrill of going as high as possible on a swing? Our little bees are no exception... 

Adapted Swing at Morgan's Wonderland in Texas

Natan Shai at the park with one of the greatest swings I've ever seen!

This guy would LIVE in his swing if he could!

Sometimes we have to make it work... and go a little sideways for fun!!
But for them, it's actually so much more than plain and simple fun. From eSpecialNeeds, including pictures also from their online store that are not included in the original article at their site:

Swing Therapy and Sensory Integration for Special Needs Children

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 behavior.

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 being monitored to determined what is right for them. Some children may start to “stim” 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 the brain’s ability to process and use sensory information. Whether the child is linear swinging on a strap swing, cuddled up in a net swing for proprioceptive input or spinning in a rotating movement, all of these movements can act as a powerful activator on the body’s systems. Swings and a variety of other sensory input are used in this type of therapy. Therapists, parents and teachers can use swings effectively to reinforce any therapy objectives for children and provide sensory diets for special needs 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 behavior.

  • A swing apparatus can vary from a doorway mounted swing frame to a ceiling support eyebolt to a free-standing swing frame. Some systems available are modular and can be moved from one classroom to another with minimal changes. Consider the layout of your room and where the ideal area would be to position the equipment. If space is limited, ceiling mounted swivel hardware can be installed into the framework of a home of classroom. Doorway mounted swings allow the installation of a bar that does not interfere with the function of the door and can be easily removed and moved to another door. A variety of swings are be secured to any of these designs including: 
  • platform swings
Square Carpeted Platform Swing

  • net swings
Therapy Net Swing with Spreader Bar
  • strap swings 
Strap Swing
  • trapeze bars 
Trapeze Bar
  • cuddle swings 
Cuddle Swing
  • bolster swings 
Bolster Swing
  • high back swing seats 
Adaptive Swing Seat
  • and more

Once you have planned your layout, consult a product specialist who can then review your plan and make the proper product recommendations.

When choosing a swing and swing apparatus it is critical to consider safety at all times.

  • Adult supervision is always required at all times.
  • Be aware of floor, wall and head protection.
  • 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.

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