What does a swing have to do with speech?
Why is there a ginormous swing frame at the center of Spark Speech's studio? What is this place, a playground? Well, yes, as a matter of fact! But more importantly, swinging can change things up for kids in a good way.
The multi-sensory inputs can help with speech output, improving memory for what we're working on, calming or up-regulating as needed, and providing motivation and engagement. We can call this one a win-win-win-win.
So here’s a personal swing story for ya! When my son Max was starting speech therapy as a toddler in snowy, mid-winter New Hampshire, we had a most magical experience. His SLP (shout out to Deborah Armstrong in Manchester, NH!) worked with a partner OT. They put Max on their platform swing with this hilarious Tickle Me Elmo. Once he started swinging, and with Elmo’s funny chit chat jazzing him up, words just started to flow out of his mouth. Literally, I'm not kidding you. This was the first time he combined multiple words together. It was one of those moments I’ll never forget in my life. It was 100% astounding and enchanting.
Now, I'm not saying this will happen for every child. But I became convinced that this can be helpful for some if not many.
Thus began my reverence for the swing! Since then, through many co-treats with Occupational Therapists along with geeked out reading on my own, I’ve picked up some background on using the swing to stimulate language production. Of course it doesn’t always work for every child, but it’s one method to try, for sure. And it's based in research, people!
Here is a tiny synopsis. Please do recall that I'm not an OT, so this is the layman's run-down for sure. The vestibular system is the body's sense of balance and orientation in space. This is integral to all other physical sensory systems within the body. Thus, vestibular regulation is critical to other sensory functions...and to all physical-activating parts of the brain. This is why, when the vestibular system is properly stimulated, it can facilitate some skills in the moment, such as speech.
At Spark Speech, we have several different swings, all meant for fun and imagination! And of course with therapeutic and motivational benefits. The swings are here to help get the speech work done.
The Moto Swing, everybody’s favorite! We do it up big with your child’s own bandana that they keep here, and they can also try on the spiky helmet if they want.
The Magic Carpet Swing. This is, well, magical! This swing is so great for imaginitive storytelling. Of course, we have Aladdin and Jasmine appropriate headwear to don during flight. So flippin’ fun!
Skateboard Swing: Self-explanatory, right? Let's carve some sick air! (Skateboard lingo courtesy of skatex.com)
Coming Soon: I’m working on our Spaceship Swing, shining silver goodness. We have a spacesuit costume ready for this action.
Swings can be calming, thought-provoking, organizing, and focusing for adults too. Hence I am sitting on the Magic Carpet Swing right now typing this article! Feeling focused and calm...