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Sensory Swing: Then he flung outward, feet first, with a swish…

Our son, Edward, who is six, has benefited greatly from the concept of a Sensory Swing as suggested by his occupational therapist.  Similar swings are available in online catalogs; however they are quite expensive so we decided to craft our own and attach it to a tree in our own back yard.

Our occupational therapist recommended we conduct a series of swinging events each day:  Once in the morning with 10 revolutions clockwise followed by a still waiting period of 20 seconds, followed by another set of 10 revolutions in a counterclockwise manner.  We then repeat this sequence once more.

Toward the end of the day (but not too close to dinner time) we repeat this cycle.  The goal of this therapy is to assist Edward’s vestibular development.

This swing is quite easy and affordable to construct as these “step-by-step” photos reveal.  We estimate we spent approximately $35.00 on our sensory swing.

We simply bought two plastic toy buckets and slipped them inside each other.

Next, we drilled holes through both buckets at even intervals.  H was an Eagle Scout so he is an expert knot-tyer:

Here you see the bottom knot:

Clearly scout-quality.

Here is a close-up of the carabiner (purchased at a local home improvement store) linked to the rope; these are all marine-grade items, which won’t rust, and are easily available:

Here you see another stellar example of knots that keep this swing swinging smoothly and safely:

Edward can easily hop in his spinny swing:

He can even hunker down and use the swing as a hiding place:

One could do worse than be a swinger of birches…

Please email us with any questions about construction of this swell swing.  We have enjoyed it for several months!

Posted on 22 October '08 by , under Autism Spectrum/Sensory Processing.

16 Comments to “Sensory Swing: Then he flung outward, feet first, with a swish…”

#1 Posted by Helene (22.10.08 at 23:52 )

Wow, that swing looks amazing!! It’s so wonderful for you to share your ideas with other parents…I’ll bet that will save others lots of $$ too!

Helenes last blog post..Caramel Apples 101

#2 Posted by Annette Piper (23.10.08 at 05:36 )

It’s amazing what you can make if you try! Well done. And nice knots 😉

#3 Posted by andreacook (23.10.08 at 07:05 )

I don’t know about you, but I am so disenchanted with all the things our OTs have strongly recommended that we buy. Big exercise balls, small deep pressure balls, bands, chew sticks, weighted vests, then better weighted vests, back packs with weights, then better back packs, weighted blankets, brushes, then the better OVAL brushes, therapeutic headphones, CDs, a big trampoline for our back yard, then a BETTER small trampoline for inside, a swing from IKEA, a $1500 playground for our back yard… the list seems to never end. My wallet won’t keep up with these suggestions and not one OT contraption du jour will hold my daughters’ attention spans longer than one day.

One OT suggested a chewy snack for therapy to help with our transitions times. Then, I noticed that my tot was addicted and insisting on something chewy before she’d leave the house. It took 7 months of serious withdrawal from all the sugar and dyes of Nemo fruit snacks before we can finally get in the vanpan without a snack in her mouth. You would have thought she was withdrawing from heroine!

Will the craziness never cease?

But seriously, that is a kick ace swing. Wish we had one. Maybe I will put it on as #539 onto my hubby’s honeydew list.

I am jealous of how resourceful you and your hubby are. You make for a dynamic duo. Kudos EC! I’m your biggest fan. (Hope I don’t sound too sarcastic. I really do adore you sweetie!) AC

andreacooks last blog post..Why the Disdain?

#4 Posted by Patty O. (23.10.08 at 10:33 )

That is awesome. I am going to have to show it to my husband and see about making one for our backyard. We have swings in the house and a swingset outside, but I like your sensory swing. It can spin in all directions, which is good. I love being able to come up with cheaper alternatives to the pricey therapy equipment in catalogs. We have been wanting one of those play barrels, but they cost between $400-1000. my husband found a plastic feed barrel at the local farm store here for $12 and is going to saw off the top and bottom. Then, I will line it with carpet remnants. I was so excited.

Patty O.s last blog post..Reminders

#5 Posted by jaden (23.10.08 at 10:52 )

What a great idea! Kudos to you in being resourceful and finding cheaper ways to provide your son with the therapy to help him develop 😀

jadens last blog post..**Pep’s Birthday**

#6 Posted by hellokittiemama/MT (23.10.08 at 11:14 )

That is so cool. I have swing envy.

You wanna know what is sad. We don’t have a tree that we could hang anything from. In fact, the only tree in our yard aside from shrubs we had to have removed because after a storm it was about to fall on my driveway and car and house.

Very sad.

hellokittiemama/MTs last blog post..Got Shots?

#7 Posted by Kia (Good Enough Mama) (23.10.08 at 11:45 )

Elizabeth, this is awesome!!! I love your creativity with this. I think I might get Hubby to copy it and hang it from the beams in the basement or something. We don’t have mature enough trees around here yet. 🙂

Kia (Good Enough Mama)s last blog post..Scattergories Meme

#8 Posted by Jennibeanv (23.10.08 at 21:12 )

How cool is that???

Jennibeanvs last blog post..If I Had A Brain, I’d Be Dangerous

#9 Posted by Kia (Good Enough Mama) (23.10.08 at 21:58 )

Hey, I’m having a giveaway you might be interested in. 🙂 Come see!

Kia (Good Enough Mama)s last blog post..I Have Books To Give Away!!!!

#10 Posted by Tonggu Momma (24.10.08 at 01:05 )

LOVE this!!!! And I must admit that we bypassed many of the OT specialty shops and instead headed to (ahem) Pet Smart. There’s a lot of comparable stuff in the pet aisles, y’all. Check it out!

Tonggu Mommas last blog post..Where’s the Helmet?

#11 Posted by April ~ EnchantedDandelions (24.10.08 at 18:50 )

That is SO cool! I’ll definitely have to ask DH about making one here and scout out a good place for a bucket swing. (Although, I think most of our trees are super-close to other trees, so cross your fingers!)

Question, though. Do you ONLY use the swing for “sensory time” (the 20 rotations, 2x/day), or do you allow free-play with it other times?

#12 Posted by autismfamily (25.10.08 at 00:11 )

Years ago when Matt received OT at the clinic through the school district he would swing. But the OT was not really in tune with him because he was over sensitized twice and got sick. I always get confused between hypo and hyper sensitivity. I have notes somewhere on it and did an article with the explanation, time to google my article so I can print it out.

That clinic also had rock climbing, no interest in that but Nick did that in a field trip two years ago at summer camp. I should find a way to scan that pic. The clinic had the squeeze machine and I snapped a pic while Matt was going through it, this is the contraption that Temple Grandin developed/created. We do not have a tree, I have tried punching bags and those that go on the hands for the boys.

autismfamilys last blog post..Articles and Reviews pertaining to Sensory Processing Disorder

#13 Posted by Jaimie (26.10.08 at 04:08 )

Hullo 🙂 I just wanted to throw it out into the ‘sphere that I’ve finally put up an actual post for SPD awareness month (y’know, now that October’s almost over) thank you for all of your great posts!!

by the way…do you have any ideas of where I might be able to get some sort of indoor swing for myself??? (i know they have them for kids…but *I* want one) I was thinking some sort of indoor air chair? Got any ideas?


Jaimies last blog post..For all of you interested in SPD

#14 Posted by laurenkq (28.10.08 at 20:58 )

Hi–I found you via a comment on the blog of a fellow leukemia mom. Her son is off treatment for leukemia, and has been diagnosed with SPD. We are beginning to wonder about our son (also a leukemia survivor) and such issues as well. But my reason for commenting is…you used my favorite Robert Frost quote from one of my favorite poems! Nicely done. And the swing is impressive too.


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