Play sets (at home)
Install play sets such as swings, trampolines, merry-go-rounds around the house or in the garden
Garden /outside area (functions)
In order to
train motor functions, have fun playing and stimulating the proprioceptive and vestibular senses.
Playing on a swing, turning (on an office chair for instance), trampoline jumping and other rhythmical movements are activities which stimulate both proprioception (the registration and interpretation of one’s muscle tension and other internal bodily experiences) and the vestibular system (balance and the further orientation of the body in space).
It may seem childish to put sturdy swings in the garden of an adolescent, but they do enjoy it, it relaxes them and it boosts their bodily self-confidence. A trampoline can have these effects as well. In both activities, the effect has to do with sensing the strong forces of ‘flying’ and landing. Through the sensations of trampoline jumping and swinging, possible proprioceptive and vestibular problems are overruled.
Such experiences help boost the usually impeded motor skills.
Children and adolescents who are often excluded from team sports such as football or baseball due to communication difficulties and insufficient motor skills have an alternative with play sets. A sturdy play set has at least three functions: an alternative to the team-games from which they are excluded, the enhancement of motor skills and an opportunity to begin the process of “catching up” with the neurotypicals.
Other play sets and activities also qualify and fulfill these important functions. Marga Grey, a pediatric occupational therapist, suggests “climbing (and I like the idea of climbing on natural objects such as a fallen over tree / branch) gives excellent proprioceptive input as well as hanging (e.g. on a branch or monkey bar). Crawling in tunnels, squeezing in and out of tight spaces, walking on a line/narrow “wall” (can be only a few centimeters off the ground level) or pipe, stepping over gaps are all excellent for motor planning. Uneven foot paths are good for balance and proprioception…”