Saturday, March 12, 2011

Man on the Move!

I have a little guy in my room who is a "man on the move!" We all know these children!  He's a bundle of energy, constantly in motion, constantly seeking deep pressure. He enjoys running at people and objects and slamming his body into them. He doesn't often simply hold an adults hand; he hangs from their arm. He LOVES rough and tumble play and initiates this by smiling and tumbling onto a lap, or by kicking, wiggling and hitting when he is unable to run into things. 

Originally, I thought of creating a "crash pad" area in the gym, with a bean bag chair or a large cushion (large dog beds found at a discount store work well for this) to slam into. He seems to get more excited the more he slams though, so I didn't want to have a child so wound up he couldn't calm himself down!

So, rather than spending our time in the gym with a child running at me and slamming into me as hard as he could (don't think my body can take it much longer!), I hooked up the therapy swing. 

Ahhhh...the power of swinging! At first, he laughed and wiggled his body. But, soon he started to relax and slow down. This little guy spent about 15 min. in the therapy swing. We had to stop when we started noticing his eyelids drooping!  We wanted a relaxed child, not a sleeping child!

After this activity, he walked down the hall holding an adults hand without hanging or pulling, he came into the classroom calmly and washed his hands. He was able to sit to listen to a 5 minute book and a quick song without kicking, hitting or rolling on the floor. He spent 10 min. painting with us. He then came over and danced with us, without slamming into people or hanging from adults.

When you find something that works for a child, it can be very powerful and have an immediate result! 15 minutes in the therapy swing helped him stay calm enough to enjoy participating for the next half hour in activities.

NOTE:  For more resources on sensory processing disorder and/or sensory diets see the bottom of this previous post.

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