Have you used a sensory swing with your child or students with autism? For years, occupational therapists have used sensory swings and autism swings. In recent years, autism swings have become a popular therapy tool to include in home, classroom and therapy programs.
What is a sensory swing?
A sensory swing is a hanging swing that can be used as part of a therapy program, as a reinforcing activity or just for fun.
Trouble Processing Vestibular Input
The STAR Institute explains that children who have sensory processing difficulties may have trouble understanding where their bodies are in space.
Symptoms may include :
- Feeding difficulties
- Motion sickness
- Clumsiness and crashing into furniture and walls
- Poor posture
- Overall muscle weakness
- Generalized difficulty with every day tasks
Benefits of a sensory swing
Sensory swings can :
- Help increase balance and coordination
- Help autistic learners become more aware of their bodies
- Serve as a reinforcer
- Provide a sensory break
- Provide hours of fun
Why is swinging good for autism?
A sensory swing can be used as part of a sensory integration program as a therapy swing or it can simply be used as a pleasurable activity for a child with autism or even as a reinforcer as part of a home, classroom or therapy program.
I love using sensory swings as a fun sensory activity that also provides a sensory break for the child.
How to choose a sensory swing
Choosing the perfect sensory swing for your home, classroom or therapeutic practice will depend on your particular needs.
Some important things to consider?
- Is it easy to clean?
- Is it easy to install? (Although you may worry that this will be complicated, typically it’s easier to install a sensory swing than you think!)
- Is this swing safe for my child’s age and developmental level?
How to use a sensory swing with a child with autism
There are many ways you can include a sensory swing in your home, classroom or therapeutic practice.
- Give your child or students regular (supervised) sensory breaks throughout the day.
- Use time on the sensory swing as a reinforcer during a break from a table session or at the end of the session.
- Build communication skills by having your child ask for “swing” then swinging a bit, stopping, having your child say “swing” again, repeat to teach the word “swing”.
- Build social skills by having your child take turns on the swing with his or her sister, brother or classmates.
Pro tip : take a photo of your autism swing and include it in your sensory break cards
My favorite sensory swings
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More Autism Learning Resources
- The Successful Interaction with a Child with Autism Course – learn to better understand your autistic child or students with this complete course.
- Autism Activities Workbook Bundle – build communication skills, fine motor skills, sensory play skills and daily living skills, while helping your child or students to successfully manage any difficult behaviors, with these fun, educational, printable activities.
- Sensory Communication Workbook – Build communication skills with simple sensory activities.
- How to Make a Communication Binder Guide & Workbook – Learn how to create a Communication Binder for your child or student with autism using real photos. Follow my expert guide to learn how to use it to increase communication skills.
- Zoo Animals Play Dough Mats Bundle – use these printable play dough mat to work on the names of the animals, build language skills, and increase fine motor strength and precision in a fun, sensory way!
Have you used a sensory swing? Will you add one to your home, classroom or therapy practice?
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