Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Does Gymnastics Help Kids with Sensory Issues?

Our local homeschool group has been trying to find some good indoor activities that aren't too expensive, so that winter and rainy days don't keep us from meeting up.  After all, we mamas need fellowship and kids need to build friendships, even when its not nice enough to go to the park.

We have started meeting monthly at a local church for parties and crafts, but really needed an active option, so I contacted the local gymnastics business that has a great new facility, and the coach was totally on board with a daytime class!  So now, we  have a small class of homeschoolers meeting monthly or more to learn gymnastics.  In addition, we pay a bit more some days to have open gym, so the kids can just go crazy in there. :)

So what does this have to do with sensory systems?  Lots!  In OT, they work on mid-line crossing activities, hand-eye coordination, balance, core strength, and following directions, in addition to the feeding therapy that I've talked about before.  Gymnastics supplies most of this, especially in a small class setting.  The balanced, they followed directions, they jumped and practiced good landings.  They did warm-ups, learning to stretch their muscles.  They used the uneven bars, strengthening arms and core.  There is so much good in gymnastics for those with SPD.  I wanted to start years ago but could not get The Boy to agree, but he loves it with his homeschooling buddies around.

At home, we have an indoor trampoline, a large outdoor trampoline, and a playset with a climbing wall that see good use.  Plus, plenty of space to run.  Most kids pay attention better, control themselves better and have fewer meltdowns when they are well exercised because it ups the feel-good hormones and burns off excess energy.  It also activates vestibular systems, which is a particular focus for this child - if we can't get outside or he doesn't want to jump, he spins.  Lots of extra spinning in the winter!

What opportunities do you provide for your child to get the proprioceptive and vestibular inputs he needs?



7 comments:

  1. Tae Kwon Do has been WONDERFUL for my G - it helps with proprioceptive stuff and motor skills but MOST of all - confidence!

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    1. That's another activity we have considered more than once! But locally it meets the same time as soccer, so its a no-go for us. Gladdest working for you!

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  2. I have lost focus on the physical and need to start some activities again...thanks for the reminder of how helpful it can be with SPD.

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  3. What a great opportunity...for us gymnastics in combo with OT was so great but once they go to more advanced levels they had to compete or quit so we are now swimming which is going well...two of the kiddos have commented that it is "more peaceful" and "quieter" ...our gym was very very loud which could be overwhelming...I think a small home school gym day sound like a great solution. The closest one to us is an hour a way unfortunately.

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    1. Yes, the first OT we has wasn't truly OT, but Minds in Motion in Louisville and they had a fantastic gym! So naturally, my son thinks he's an expert in all things gym. :) Regardless, he is enjoying it! He does love swimming as well.

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  4. We have an indoor (doorway suspended) swing and net swing. When the kids were littler, we'd have them swing and crash on a crash-pad (giant pillows) and wow, did that make all the difference! Also, hippity-hop's are amazing, as are trampolines. Our house turned into a giant OT space for a few years! Now, they seem to be a bit calmer--phew! (9 and 12)

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