Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Indoor Swing & Vestibular Input

Little Brother has an insatiable desire to swing.

Unfortunately, it's not always reasonable to go out in the backyard and swing. Especially during the summer, when the heat is scorching and the mosquitoes are relentless.

So, we decided to get this nifty indoor swing from IKEA. Now both my boys can swing whenever they like as long as they like.

It's a good thing. Except when it's too much of a good thing.

The first day we had the swing, Little Brother couldn't get enough. He swung back and forth and twisted all around non-stop for about half an hour.

Much to my delight, he was finally getting it all out of his system.

Then, much to my dismay, he literally got it all of out his system....right onto the kitchen floor!

My children have never vomited after swinging before, so this shocked me a little. I called our occupational therapist, who graciously explained to me that Little Brother's body is under-responsive to vestibular input. His body is not perceiving the swinging motion in a normal way, so it never feels like enough. He craves more even when his body cannot tolerate it any longer. This is why he vomited.

Ironically, my two children are on opposite ends of the spectrum in this regard. Little Brother is under-responsive, while Big Brother is over-responsive. Big Brother was never a big fan of the swing as an infant. While he's gotten more interested over the years, he's always been very quick to say "enough".

The good news is that swinging will help both boys regulate their vestibular systems, as long as it is done in a controlled manner (ideally under the guidance of an occupational therapist). For example, when twisting it's important to always go an equal number of times in each direction. Also, it may be helpful to switch positions on the swing if the child can't seem to get enough. Most importantly, watch the child carefully for signs that they've had "too much" even if they don't say so.

As I write this, I'm laughing at how silly all this sounds. Yes, my child swung too much and threw up. End of story. I know, I know. It just helps me to understand why, and how I can help him in the future.

1 comment:

  1. This is fascinating! It is so fulfilling to be able to understand the whys of the ways our children act. Thanks so much for sharing!