5 Surprising Sensory Activities to Help Picky Eaters Please welcome Alisha Grogan MOT, OTR/L from…
Sensory Integration: Swinging Not Just for Recess
This post contains information about sensory integration and how swinging can help learning challenges in the classroom. Affiliate links are provided for your convenience. Integrated Learning Strategies (ILS) is a learning and academic center. As a reminder, ILS is not a health care provider and none of our materials or services provide a diagnosis or treatment of a specific condition or learning challenge you may see in your child or student. If you seek a diagnosis or treatment for your child or student, please contact a trained professional who can provide an evaluation of the child.
As you become familiar with sensory integration, you understand that all children need to develop each part of their senses from birth to adulthood. A child’s developmental growth encompasses multiple stimulations from touch, smell, movement, taste, and body awareness to hearing sound and reacting to bright light. When your child’s brain is developing, exposure to activities and exercises to improve this sensory integration is critical for their future learning development.
When a child’s sensory stimulation has been deprived or starved as a child, it can lead to sensitivities with light, sound and texture, or you may notice they lack balance, coordination, motor planning and muscle awareness. Because the body and the brain are connected, disruptions in sensory integration may not be fully developed, which can cause attention and focus issues in the classroom. They may also struggle to listen to their teacher or find it hard to retain and grasp elements that come easier to other children.
Most parents and teachers become concerned if they think their child or student is showing signs of vision and hearing delays. If they lack the development for reading, writing and following instructions, our first thought is to check the eyes and ears. However, other aspects of the body such as balance and weight (vestibular system) or sense of touch (tactile) is arguably more important because they comprise so much of a child’s overall body mass. If a child shows signs of learning delays in the classroom it could be a lack of sensory integration and a poor vestibular system instead of trouble with the eyes and ears.
Swinging is Key
If you suspect your child or student has a weak vestibular system and needs more sensory integration, a great activity to try is swinging. Remember, swinging isn’t just for recess. The benefits of swinging are astronomical! Kids need to swing sitting up straight, on their stomachs, on their backs and even twisting round and round. It’s what we call a sensory diet. That is why using a park swing isn’t always the most beneficial, because they are limited to what they can do.
Swinging has a powerful impact on the brain’s ability to process information (listening to the teacher) and it can provide that deep pressure input needed for children who struggle to stay calm or lack focus and attention in school.
Hammock swings are some of the most beneficial and aren’t too difficult to add to your child’s bedroom or to your classroom. What’s even better about hammock swings is that they aren’t even that expensive compared to other more “popular” action figures, Lego sets and toys. While this swing is one of the most important, it isn’t the only one that is beneficial for your child. We will talk more about what other swings can help your child in the future, but this is an easy one you can put in your home or classroom.
Parents and teachers can use therapy hammocks because they provide children with a whole slew of benefits for sensory integration and the vestibular system. First, your child is completely immersed in the hammock, which means they are covered from head to toe. This provides deep pressure that calms the body and prevents anxiety and anxiousness.
This hammock also allows your child to swing while lying on their back or even swinging on their stomach, working both the prone and supine positions needed for strengthening the neck muscles so your child can copy notes from the chalkboard. As for motor planning, hammocks like this one helps your child move their legs, arms and trunk, giving them opportunities to develop their core strength and increase body awareness.
As for the swinging motion, it helps your child’s vestibular system and improves your child’s overall balance and coordination. If your child is constantly on the move, shows signs of toe walking after the age of five, has speech delays or an auditory processing disorder, they may have an under-responsive vestibular system. The movement of swinging can open the vestibular system and improve all areas of learning in your child’s brain.
Integrated Learning Strategies is a Utah-based center dedicated to helping mainstream children and children with learning challenges achieve academic success. Our services provide kids with non-traditional tutoring programs within the Davis County, Kaysville, Layton, Syracuse, Farmington, and Centerville areas. Areas to find Integrated Learning Strategies include: Reading tutors in Kaysville, Math tutors in Kaysville, Common Core Tutors in Kaysville, Tutors in Utah, Utah Tutoring Programs