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Scooter Boards for Vestibular Input: What to Add to Your Sensory Room
This article contains information on the importance of scooter boards for vestibular and sensory integration. 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.
There is no doubt how much kids love scooters, especially those that come to our center. Scooters are great for motivating kids to be active and they provide great opportunities to get their friends involved. Parents and teachers can encourage their kids to use scooters at the gym, in P.E. and at recess.
Building a Sensory Room
Although scooters are great fun and they encourage kids to be physical active, they are even more important for your child’s learning development, sensory integration, and vestibular input. In fact, for those parents who have children with Sensory Processing Disorders (SPD) and want to create their own sensory room in their home, the first item we tell all parents to buy is a scooter board. Because scooters are so versatile and they provide so many learning benefits, it’s one of the toys that work best for children with sensory issues.
Typically children ride these types of scooter boards in the prone position or on their tummy. If your child struggled with tummy time as a baby or if they skipped crawling or had Torticollis, they may have trouble riding the scooter in the prone position. This position forces your child to contract their neck muscles and creates movement of the eyes, which is good for posture, visual perception, tracking and focusing on the chalkboard. In addition, it can improve and help your child’s auditory and visual processes so they can listen to the teacher, retain information and attend and focus.
In Sensory Integration and the Child, written by Jean Ayres, Ph.D., she says, “The full-body movements on the scooter board, and the sensory input and organization that go along with those movements, build a foundation for cerebral processes such as language and reading. Full-body movements also provide a foundation for hand and finger movements, such as those involved in writing and using tools.”
If your child struggles with their vestibular, proprioception, sensory input and spatial awareness, their head may sag or they may drag their feet on the floor while they are on the scooter. It may take several rides for your child to develop the neural connections in their brain to improve their vestibular and proprioceptive systems.
Pick a Scooter Board for your Sensory Room
Pick a floor scooter for your home that has four wheels and that is wide enough to prevent accidents. We also like the scooter boards that have handles on them so your child can hold on while sitting, kneeling or laying on the scooter. To prevent the scooter from scratching your floor, you can put a piece of wood or floorboard down in your home.
How to Use Scooters for Sensory Integration
There are several ways to encourage your child to use a scooter board at home. If you don’t know where to begin with your scooter, try some of these activities to get your kids started.
Now that you know how important the prone position is for your child’s vestibular and sensory input, let’s first get them on their tummy while on the scooter. If you have a rope or bungee cord, you can have them hold on to it as they swing back and forth on their tummy. If you don’t have a bungee cord, have them hold on to the handles as they swing across the room and then backward. Encourage them to lift their feet of the ground and hold their neck up to see what direction they are gliding to.
Now have your child sit on the scooter and pull their knees up to their chest so their feet are touching the edge of the scooter. If you have a bungee cord, have your child hang on to the cord while sitting on the scooter and ride back and forth. They can also use the handles to hold on to if you don’t have a bungee cord.
Plunger Glides – Knees
Have your child kneel on the scooter so their needs are bent, but their torso is sitting upright. With these fun plunger sticks, instruct your child to scoot across the floor using the plungers with alternating hands and arms. Your child can also scoot across the floor using both hands at the same time, which encourages bilateral coordination.
Plunger Glides – Prone Position
To get your child back in the prone position, have them lie on the scooter and use the plunger sticks to glide their bodies across the floor. Encourage them to hold their feet in the air and use the strength of their upper body to glide themselves across the floor.
Children who have sensory seeking behavior tend to like heavy work and crashing into items to calm their brain and body. Anytime you can get your child crashing into items while on their scooter is great for sensory input. Have your child lie on the scooter in the prone position and hand them the end of a rope. Place some boxes in front of them or some fun inflatable toy tires like what you see here. Take the opposite end of the rope and pull your child into the tires so they crash right into them. Crashing into the tires helps your child feel strong and gives them the opportunity to have a strong impact on their environment.
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