What are Sensory Swings?

Cam Russo
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What are Sensory Swings? What are Sensory Swings?

Sensory swings are a game-changer for many people affected by ADHD, autism, and other sensory needs.

While these swings are popular for children, adults can also appreciate the soothing sensations of a safe, comfortable sensory swing.

Those with sensory processing disorder (SPD) can struggle with an overload of sensory input, as well as nervous system stress.

Swinging and cuddling sensations for a sensory swing can calm overstimulated senses, and fight or flight urges.

Occupational therapists and disability support staff have used sensory swings for decades to encourage a healthy and happy body and mind.

Sensory Swing Benefits

Knowing what you want to get out of your sensory swing and acknowledging your priorities can also help establish which variety is right for you.

When buying a new swing, remember that sensory swings offer several key benefits, including:

  • Vestibular Input– Therapeutic swinging encourages movement sensations that support balance, coordination, muscle tone, and body awareness.
  • Occupational Therapy– Some therapists recommend the addition of at-home sensory swings to work on movement patterns and target certain vestibular receptors. This includes up/down (vertical), side to side (linear), and rotary in all directions.
  • Motor Skills– Sensory swings are used to develop motor skills and build up core strength, reactions, and balance.
  • Individualized Intensity Sensory swings allow children to move at their own pace and work on their skills without being too overwhelmed by all the sensory.
  • Visual Tracking & Processing--This goes hand in hand with the visual system, as they track their vision around the room with every movement of the swing.

Sensory Swing Features

Before jumping into sensory swing shopping, it’s good to understand the key features and what may work best for your child.

There are two main design options: pod and saucer swings. The first has an enclosed cocoon style with soft fabric that hugs the body.

Round saucer swings are more open with less security, although some kids prefer this sensory option, especially if they feel claustrophobic.

Stretchy nylon and cotton fabric are some of the most common materials used to make sensory swings. Some swings have handles, cushions, and additional attachments for sensory play.

The other key feature is the swing stand or ceiling suspension. While every family may have slightly different preferences, most sensory swings are easy to install.

Sensory Swing FAQs

What does a sensory swing do?

A sensory swing is a type of autism therapy that can help to calm and relax individuals with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD). The gentle motion of the swing provides input to the vestibular system, which can help to reduce anxiety and improve focus. The swings can also be used to provide proprioceptive input, deep pressure, and vestibular stimulation.

Do sensory swings really work?

The answer seems to be yes for many children. The swings’ deep pressure and movement can help calm an agitated child and improve focus and concentration. In addition, the vibrations and sounds’ stimulating effects can help increase alertness and cognitive function.

Are sensory swings good for ADHD?

The constant movement and sense of spinning can help to release excess energy, while the deep pressure provided by the swing can have a calming effect. In addition, sensory swings can provide a much-needed outlet for fidgety children with difficulty sitting still.

Can adults use sensory swings?

While sensory swings are often considered playground equipment for kids, they can also benefit adults. Sensory swings provide gentle movement and input that can help to calm and focus the mind. They can also be helpful tools for managing anxiety and stress. In addition, sensory swings can provide a form of vestibular stimulation that can help to improve balance and coordination.