|A Good Reliable Friend
Deanna Macioce, MS, OTR/L
Continuing on with our 'Getting to Know' segment, this month we are taking the time to focus on reacquainting ourselves with the Platform Swing
- what it is, how and when to use it, as well as providing some creative ways to implement it into treatment sessions. The Platform Swing
is a classic tool for sensory integrative treatment and typically is seen in most therapeutic settings, as well as in homes because of its various uses. It was one of the therapeutic pieces of equipment highlighted recently on the NBC show "George to the Rescue
" when Southpaw was called in to help equip a sensory room for the highlighted family's makeover.
The Platform Swing
is a large square platform that is connected at one point and has four control lines. It is an excellent way to provide vestibular input, as well as address balance, postural control and also work on proprioceptive input. Clients can use it in a variety of positions - sitting upright, prone, or even high kneeling offering different sensations and increasing proximal stability.
Providing vestibular input is an important part of any sensory diet. Using the Platform Swing
, you have the ability to implement linear, as well as rotational input. It can be set at various heights, increasing or decreasing the arc of movement. This also helps to ease the gravitational insecure child into movement and height. The four control lines allow clients a way to hold on, working on grasp and encouraging core stability, but they also allow you to increase the challenge of using the swing by tilting the platform base.
For smaller children, those with decreased motor control, or those who are more sensitive to vestibular input, the Platform Swing
gives the therapist or adult the ability to sit with the child and still provide the needed input. In addition, Southpaw also provides an adaptation kit or a large inner tube swing can be used to provide a smaller space, providing extra support for the child, as well as a play area where a small activity can be completed. It can also be filled with balls for a quick, mini ball pit. This is a great way to address body awareness.
When the Platform Swing
is placed lower to the ground, you can have the child lie in prone allowing him to use his upper extremities to maneuver the swing. This is an excellent way to provide proprioceptive input, especially for children with decreased shoulder and trunk stability. In this position, you can have the child move the swing and reach for puzzle pieces, bean bags, or other small objects (ie. Mr. Potato Head pieces, pegs, etc). It is also a fun way to have him work to knock down block towers or complete a bean bag toss game encouraging head and next extension.
Working in high kneel, an individual challenges core stability when movement is provided. It is a great way to complete a target activity by placing objects such as bean bags on the swing platform and having the child reach down to get them before tossing them at a target. In addition, activities can be graded for an increased challenge in sitting or high kneel by having a child hold on to two ends of a rope that an adult is holding and use her arms to pull and extend to make the swing go.
The Platform Swing
can be used in so many ways, and can be part of bigger activities that address other skills such as communication, cause and effect, hand-eye coordination, or direction following based on your own creativity. Although it considered an 'old friend' in the therapeutic community, there are always new ways to integrate it into treatment... the possibilities are endless.