This cocoon-shaped swing has been designed with specially made Spandex to give that lightweight sensation of walking on an airy floor or flying through the sky. The swing is fitted with a rotation device to allow for smooth linear movement and also rotation. This wonderfully versatile Air Walker swing offers almost endless uses and possibilities to capture a range of sensory experiences for all ages.
Self-Propel with the Resistance Rope: The Air Walker swing has the ability to stretch a long distance and can cover the length of a tall adult. When laying on on your front in the swing in prone extension you can achieve a very fluid and smooth linear movement with a fast or slow pace. The entire body feels supported in the thick, stretchy fabric, you can release the arms in order to self-propel by pushing against the floor to feel like you’re truly flying. Try adding some resistance rope, such as the Elastablast attached to a secure surface to pull and stretch when self-propelling backwards and forwards. This creates an even bigger challenge, increases the level of heavy work and adds resistance. In the videos Cameron demonstrates how it’s possible to use the resistance rope to self-propel independently and achieve a fast and high linear movement. This offers a real heavy work challenge and subsequently provides deep proprioceptive (body awareness) feedback as well as the vestibular (movement) stimulation which is being received through the swinging motion.
Prone Extension and Reaching Out: When laying on your front in the swing in prone extension you can be supported to achieve a high and wide angled swing with support. Here we demonstrate how it is possible to swing and extend the upper body to stretch out and reach up high. This is a fantastic way to engage the core and upper body which can strengthen and improve postural stability. In terms of sensory processing this activity and position again provides fantastic proprioceptive, tactile and vestibular feedback.
Rotation: Try laying on your front in the swing and release the arms in order to self-propel. The attached rotation devise allows for a smooth and fluid rotation to create a fast or gentle spinning movement depending on the speed in which you push. Cameron is able to demonstrate how he can use his arms against the floor surface to push himself round in a wide circle rotation. It's very important to monitor alertness levels during and following spinning stimulation as too much can often be very dysregulating to the central nervous system. Obvious signs of dysregulation may be seen as a very over-excited and elated behaviour or motion sickness. Be aware that these reactions could also be delayed, so its recommended that spinning is done is small amounts and keep the rotation gentle and steady and repeat the rotation in the opposite direction. In order to ensure the child remains grounded during movement include some heavy work such as self-propelling with upper body, or weighted items on the body.
Running Man: Try gathering the Spandex material and place it across the stomach area. This then frees both the arms and legs in order to self-propel. Cameron demonstrates how it's possible to engage his core to maintain his position on the swing and use his legs to run and provide momentum before he releases and flies in both a linear and rotation movement. This creates a very fast and intense stimulation which targets both the vestibular and proprioceptive systems. A verity of planes of movement are achieved with this example as the head movement in a rotation, up and down and also side to side. The sensory feedback can again be very intense as this is a fast paced action, so its key to be mindful of over-alerting and keep this activity short and add heavy work and weight items where possible. For example Cameron could wear ankle and wrist weights to provide additional proprioceptive feedback to ensure he feels grounded and enable a sense of organisation to his sensory systems.
Relaxation with the Gym Ball: For some calm relaxation lay on your back and submerge yourself in the thick cosy material of the swing. It fully supports the body making it feel secure yet effortless. The material moulds around the body creating an enclosed dark den which really helps to eliminate other sensory stimuli and allow the body to relax. Add a large Southpaw Gym Ball and gently rock over the top of the ball. Then deep pressure from the Gym Ball provides a firm massage sensation that covers a big surface area of the body. The gentle linear swimming also adds to the calm feel and enables deep relaxation.
Weighted Blanket: Whilst laying on your back in the swing try curling into a ball or stretching out and making the most of the long material, the key is to find ultimate comfort as you relax into the swing and let it hold your body weight. Add a Southpaw weighted blanket to achieve the ultimate ‘aghhhh’ feel and allow the body to fully relax. The thick Spandex material hugs the body making it feel secure and cosy. This deep pressure feedback targets both the proprioceptive and tactile senses to deepen the awareness of the body allowing it to feel grounded and settled.
Walking in the Air: The title says it all it really feels like you’re walking in the air or even on the moon. Challenge your core strength and balance and attempt to stand in the swing. The strong yet stretchy fabric will support you to stand whilst you grasp and hug the upper part of the swing. Cameron demonstrates how it's possible to wrap on hand around the top of the fabric when standing to support him to maintain an upright position whilst he engages in a true test of his balance and challenges his core strength. Also try lifting the feet one at a time as if you’re walking on the spot. This provides some real heavy work and also adds a bouncing sensation with the stretch of the fabric. The bounce provides a brilliant vestibular element whilst also targeting the proprioceptive and tactile senses. You’re able to move the head in a different plane of movement as the body travels up and down with the bounce when walking. Overall the Air Walker swing offers a wide range of uses and has been extremely popular here at Jigsaw OT. Its able to target many of the senses in both a relaxing and alerting way. It can help to improve body awareness, sensory regulation, core and upper body strength. The comfort and sizes means its suitable for all ages.