Monday, April 15, 2024

What is a Sensory Swing? & Other Common Questions About Sensory Swings

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What is a sensory swing? Answering common questions about sensory swings.

When I first installed a swing in our basement, I wasn't really aware of all of the benefits that swings could offer. I simply knew that my kids liked to swing, that our winters were long, and that I needed a way to help my boys burn off some of that excess energy when it was too freaking cold to go outside.

The next thing I know, I was making our own sensory swings and picking up other types of swings along the way to help meet my oldest son's sensory needs. He was a big vestibular and proprioceptive sensory seeker after all!

But maybe you're new to all things sensory processing and are wondering about sensory swings. Maybe you're considering using one with your child, but have a few questions first.

Well, that's what we'll cover here. We'll answer what is a sensory swing? and other common questions that you might have.

What is a sensory swing? Answering common questions about sensory swings

What is a Sensory Swing?

A sensory swing is a type of swing that's designed to provide sensory input and therapeutic benefits, especially to children.

Most often, but not always, sensory swings feature a fabric or hammock-like seat and feel a bit like a cocoon. At least, that is what most people imagine when they hear the term sensory swing. But sensory swings actually come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and colors and can be found in a variety of settings, from therapy clinics and schools to sensory rooms and homes.

Definition of a sensory swing

Who Can Benefit from Sensory Swings?

Sensory swings can be beneficial for people of all ages and abilities, including children or adults identified with:

  • Sensory processing issues
  • Autism
  • ADHD
  • Anxiety
  • Development delays
  • Balance or coordination issues

What age are sensory swings for? Can any child use a sensory swing?

Can Any Child Use a Sensory Swing?

While sensory swings are usually targeted towards autistic or neurodivergent children or children with sensory issues, any child can use a sensory swing.

However, it's important to consider the needs of the child to determine if using a sensory swing will be appropriate for them. Especially since some children might find sensory swings overwhelming or uncomfortable.

What Age are Sensory Swings for?

Anyone of any age can benefit from using a sensory swing. However, some swings may have specific age requirements or weight limits that you will have to adhere to.

Why are Sensory Swings Good for Autistic & Neurodivergent Children?

There are lots of benefits of swinging for autistic and neurodivergent children, including providing sensory input, reducing anxiety, and improving focus. Essentially, sensory swings are a great way to regulate an individual and manage sensory overload.

Do Sensory Swings Help with Anxiety?

Yes, sensory swings are great for reducing anxiety and stress. They're highly regulating and are well-known for their soothing and calming effects. Learn more about the benefits of swinging here.

What to Do in a Sensory Swing?

The most common thing to do is simply swing back and forth. You don't have to overthink it.

However, there are lots of different things or activities that you can do in a sensory swing such as:

  • Swinging side to side
  • Spinning in a swing
  • Laying on your stomach while swinging
  • Swinging to music
  • Reading or listening to a book while swinging
  • Playing catch while swinging
  • Practicing deep breathing while swinging
  • Working on speech or language skills while swinging

What to do in a sensory swing?

Are Sensory Swings Safe?

Sensory swings are safe as long as they are properly installed, are used under proper supervision, and are used appropriately. That means you need to consider weight/age requirements, perform regular maintenance, and frequently inspect the swings to ensure that they're safe to use.

Are sensory swings safe?

Can Sensory Swings be Used Indoors?

Yes! Most sensory swings are used indoors and can be found in occupational therapy settings, homes, schools, daycares, sensory rooms and gyms, speech therapy clinics, and other therapy clinics.

We had our swings installed in our basement (see here) and used them all year round. We now mostly use them outdoors on our swing set, as needed.

Can sensory swings be used indoors? Examples of where you might find sensory swings

Where Do You Put a Sensory Swing?

Installing a sensory swing will depend on your needs, the size of the space, and the type of swing you are installing. We had our sensory swing hooks installed in a really wide doorway in our basement (see here), but you can also mount hooks to a ceiling (you'll want to install it in a support beam).

Where do you put a sensory swing?

You could also use an outdoor play structure or swing set. For instance, we swap the swings on our swing set all the time, switching between a variety of different swings (e.g., rope ladder, hammock swing, round platform swing, gymnastic rings). We always store our sensory swings indoors though to make sure they don't get damaged by the sun or weather.

But, like I mentioned in the previous question, sensory swings can be installed in a variety of different settings, both indoors and outdoors, so sensory swings can be put almost anywhere. I say almost because they still need to be installed into a support beam or similar that can handle the weight of the swing. So, their placement will depend on that factor as well.

A Quick Recap of Sensory Swings

Here's a quick summary of all the things that were discussed above regarding sensory swings:

  • Sensory swings are a great tool for providing sensory input to individuals of all ages and abilities, but are most often used for autistic or neurodivergent children who need support with their sensory needs.
  • These swings can be used in a variety of settings, both indoors and outdoors, including therapy clinics, schools, daycares, sensory rooms, and homes.
  • Where you will put a sensory swing will depend on your needs, the size of the space, and type of swing you are installing.
  • Sensory swings are safe to use as long as they are properly installed, are used under proper supervision, undergo regular maintenance and inspection, are used appropriately, and weight/age limits for the swing are adhered to.

Hopefully, this guide helped answer any questions you might have about sensory swings, including what is a sensory swing?

What is a sensory swing? Answering common questions about sensory swings