Swinging…sounds like a simple recreational activity from your childhood, right? But did you know swinging has incredible benefits for unique learners?
Swinging is a complicated, coordinated movement that involves almost all of the senses. The constantly moving swing is always changing the sensory stimulation, which leads to more development. Sensory development is particularly important, because it helps people regulate their bodies when faced with new stimuli.
Other benefits include:
- The repetitive, back-and-forth motion of swinging helps people strengthen their sense of balance, which is rooted in their ears. This vestibular sense tells children where their body is in space, and how they are moving.
- When people are able to sense how their body is moving and balanced, it leads to better hand-eye coordination and stronger muscles.
- Swinging is especially beneficial for those with sensory processing disorder (SPD), which typically occurs when the vestibular system doesn’t communicate correctly with the rest of the body. Many of our unique learners deal with a form of SPD.
- Swinging can help calm nerves and anxiety, and it is regularly used as part of treatment for depression and anxiety in children.
- Swinging increases blood flow to the brain, which helps people focus and pay attention. In fact, just 15 minutes of swinging can help the brain perform better for up to eight hours.
- Swinging is a great way to work on social skills. It requires taking turns, and helping others by giving them a push, and it can lead to conversation.
Miriam’s K-8 campus not only has a wide variety of swings in the occupational therapy room, but also has outdoor swings. Both are in use all day, every school day. Swinging works the brain and body in a way that can’t be replicated with other activities.
Miriam students in grades 9-12 do not currently have the benefit of swings for sensory development. Our unique learners at the high school are missing this important opportunity for sensory processing throughout the day.
“I would love to have swings here at the high school. The kids are very excited about the prospect of it,” says Tammy Bunger, COTA at the high school. “When people think of swinging, they think of small children, but older children also receive the same benefits. It lifts your spirits, helps you concentrate, and makes you feel like a better person.”
Your contribution on Giving Tuesday will be used to provide outdoor swings at the high school campus. A generous donor who understands the importance of sensory swings for unique learners have committed to a matching gift of $5,000. Do not miss this opportunity to make your Giving Tuesday gift go twice as far! Click here to donate.