Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Trampolines - Great Way to Address Sensory Seeking Behaviors

By Eric Sherman

As a follow-up to my story about the lycra swing being a great way to address spinning behaviors, I wanted to share how the trampoline is another great way to address other sensory seeking behaviors.  In addition to our child spinning in circles, he also liked jumping.  When our son was a toddler he would jump off anything he could climb on, such as a bed, other furniture and climbing apparatuses at the park.   One day, he used his dresser drawers to climb on top of the dresser.  When preparing to jump off, the weight of my son along with the open drawers tilted the dresser forward, partially yanking the anchors out of the wall.  Thankfully the dresser was anchored or our son might have been seriously injured.  Our son’s jumping behavior was not only dangerous, but it was damaging our home.

Jumping is a fun activity for children and it helps them learn about coordination and movement.  Our son’s jumping
issue was a sensory seeking behavior that needed to be satisfied.  

We addressed this behavior in occupational therapy (OT) and it helped. Our son learned how to control himself when he was on high objects and how to climb off them, instead of jumping.  The OT also introduced our son to the trampoline.  Our son loved jumping on the trampoline.  It was a great motivating tool during therapy sessions, but once he got home the beds in the house took a beating.

Clearly we needed a trampoline of our own.  We purchased an 8’ trampoline with safety netting and put it up in the backyard.  It worked great!  We found that after jumping on the trampoline, for at least 10 minutes, our son became calmer and more focused.  Also, he stopped using our beds as a jumping apparatus.

Since the purchase of our first trampoline 7 years ago, both of our sons jump on it daily.  Trampolines are not only good for children with sensory seeking behaviors, but a great form of aerobic exercise.  If you are looking for a gift the entire family will enjoy consider a trampoline.  

If you have a solution for a sensory seeking behavior, please share with us.

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