Many children say “No!” to playgrounds and play sets because they don’t like the feel of metal bars, damp slides or are not motivated enough. Some parents don’t like to take their special needs children outside with their weak immune systems when the weather is changing for fear they will get sick. There could be many other reasons why your child may not be able to play at the park.
But it is essential for children with Autism or Sensory Processing Disorder to get heavy work input (proprioception to help calm and organize their Central Nervous System. The input may help improve self-regulation, focus, attention, strength and coordination. It can also help increase their interest in exercise vs. screen time, decrease fidgeting and self-stimming behaviors.
You can bring the sensory exercise indoors with a doorway swing set. Instead of breaking furniture that is not meant for crashing into you can get a safe and reliable doorway swing package to help your child self-regulate through vestibular (swinging) and proprioceptive (hanging or pumping) input that their body craves.
Here are some fun therapeutic games you can play with your child.
*Adult supervision is always recommended during all exercises and a safety mat underneath and around the swings may decrease injuries.
Net Swing – Have them look at an I-Spy book, use a chewy for a mouth tool, do their homework inside it, read or listen to an audio book or music, draw a picture of the family or just play and relax with calming hand fidgets to de-stress the Central Nervous System.
Trapeze Bar – Use feet to trap a beanie baby or other small items and fling it into a target while hanging from trapeze, perform flips, hold gymnastic inspired L-sit or Pull up pose, swing and crash into a Crash Pad and look for a puzzle piece or other object.
Strap Swing – Swing and crash, pump and swing to favorite music to improve mood, perform hip/knee tucks with swing on shins in push up position for upper body and core strengthening, parent waits for a secret code word or signal to roll the therapy ball for the child to lift up their feet>swing>kick the ball back to parent.
Alex Lopiccolo is a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant, Certified Personal Trainer, Nutrition Consultant, Jin Shin Practitioner, Wilbarger Therapressure Brushing Protocol Practitioner, Therapeutic Listening Program Practitioner who explores Sensory Integration inspired therapeutic activities. Alex, his wife and baby live in Edmonds, Washington. His favorite activities are spending time with his family and exploring the Pacific Northwest.