Sensory swings are not only fun but a functional addition to your home sensory toolbox.
You can choose a sensory swing that meets your child’s individual needs for vestibular stimulation or for a combination of sensory effects to promote regulation.
The vestibular system is the sense of movement that supports our body awareness, coordination, balance, and visual skills. The vestibular sense gives a child information about where their body is in space, if they’re moving or still, how quickly they’re moving, and in what direction.
However, some children do not process this sensory information appropriately and require therapeutic supports to help them make sense of movement.
Providing movement opportunities will help with increasing vestibular input for your child. Think of – running, biking, climbing, jumping, swinging and sliding. These are all ways to provide movement opportunities.
For some kids who need more intensity of sensory input, or if you are limited by weather (yes, sensory swings can go indoors too!), sensory swings can provide much needed vestibular stimulation all year round.
A sensory swing allows for rotational movement (in all directions) as well as linear movement (back and forth, side to side). Some swings even have a vertical component that allow for up/down bouncing as you swing!
8 Benefits of Sensory Swings
- The vestibular sense informs body awareness, safety, muscle tone, balance, and coordination.
- Different types of swings target specific vestibular receptors through different movement patterns:
vertical – up/down
linear – side/side
rotary – all directions
- Swings can challenge core strength, balance, righting reactions, and motor skills in different ways, depending on the design you choose.
- Swinging and throwing bean-bags to a target will help with visual motor and timing. Use the same swing while lying prone on your belly and see how you can challenge muscle strength to hold yourself up against gravity!
- Swings allow for varied intensity of movement that may be needed for kids who under-respond or over-respond to vestibular input.
- Predictable, rhythmic swinging promotes calm and organisation while unpredictable, arhythmic swinging is alerting.
- It is common to support visual processing issues with a vestibular or movement component because we use functional vision while our bodies move to inform our body awareness.
- Sensory swings can support sensory diet planning for self-regulation purposes. Whether the intention of your sensory diet is to calm and reorganize, or alert and stimulate, there is a sensory swing out there that can meet your child’s needs.