Adaptive play can give better childhood development results for children who struggle with conditions like ADHD, or sensory processing disorder and sometimes need help to get back on track. It's the perfect way to play and self-regulate when a child starts to experience sensory overload, which is also why parents are encouraged to use adaptive toys and playground pieces at home as much as possible. Here are three of the more common pieces of adaptive play equipment that are a worthy addition to any play space:
The act of swinging helps overwhelmed children deal with anxiety during play time. Most children can use a playground swing or swing chair for this purpose. Adaptive swings come with more support for the trunk if that becomes necessary. It's the extra security that helps defeat a child's attention or comfort struggles.
The swinging motion itself will boost vestibular balance and help with sensory integration. This results in better body awareness. It's also the perfect quick-fix when your child feels dizzy or experiences disequilibrium.
Jumping is a great way for a child to develop better balance and strong gross motor skills. It can be especially beneficial for children with autism who need the energy release, sensory input, and physical confidence. However, all children can benefit from jumping around endlessly.
If supervised and done safely, this activity will build balance and release energy better than anything else. The key is to teach your child a "controlled movement" so that they are working the right muscles to build a stronger core. Try drawing a smaller circle on the trampoline mat to serve as a target for your child to stay inside. This will inspire your child to start controlling his or her movements more - a big, big win!
3. Balance Beams and Stones
While balance is very important, it cannot be taught using a single technique - otherwise children begin to expect the same solution every time. Switch it up by using a combination of balance beams and balance stones. Balance stones are simple little pods your child steps or jumps onto. They are made of a squishy, responsive material. Your child ends up learning foot maneuvers and pivoting as well as balance.
With beam walking, your child learns to become brave and to trust his or her feeling of balance. It's the perfect way to build confidence behind the greater balancing skills your child has learned.
Creating the perfect play space doesn't have to be expensive. A simple log for balance work, combined with a few paver stones for controlling movement and a tree swing will provide the perfect outdoor playground for your child to have fun and self-regulate.