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scooter boards gymNo matter what the ism may be, exercise is almost always beneficial. Children with various isms can have a myriad of challenges such as sensory integration, cognitive processing and self-regulation. Believe it or not, helping your child to improve their posture, coordination and balance can positively influence these isms.

Proprioceptive & Vestibular Input

Often, when a child does not have good internal organization, they are clumsy, uncoordinated or have poor awareness of their body position in space (proprioception). Sometimes their reflexes are slow. Therapeutic exercise can really help with these isms.

When muscles are strong and the body has good alignment, external cues are registered better and faster. This leads to improved and more appropriate reactions. For this reason, programs which incorporate movement and coordination are getting popular.

You can help your child improve their skills with something as simple as a [easyazon_link asin=”B00FJDATHC” locale=”US” new_window=”yes” nofollow=”yes” tag=”speciism0f-20″ add_to_cart=”yes” cloaking=”yes” localization=”yes” popups=”yes”]16″ Blue Gym Class Scooter Board with Safety Handles by K-Roo Sports[/easyazon_link]. Scooter boards can be used to improve strength, coordination, and reflexes. The scooter board also offers sensory stimulation via movement. The sensory stimulation can help the vestibular system and improve balance and equilibrium reactions.

Handwriting Skills

It may not be obvious, but there is a relationship between good physical strength, postural stability and handwriting skills. Children with low tone may have difficulty sustaining a good sitting position is school. They will fidget, re-position and attempt to stabilize. Think of how often you see a child wrap their legs around the chair legs. That is an attempt to feel posturally secure by stabilizing. A child who cannot sit properly fatigues easily and does not have good distal control of the hand. Ultimately, handwriting can suffer.

Scooter Board Solutions

The scooter board is a terrific therapeutic tool for home use in so many ways!

It is small and can be used in apartments. The wheels of the scooter allow easy and fast maneuverability.

Here are some fun techniques which you can do at home:

Tummy Down

“Have your child lie on her tummy on the board and propel herself forward by using her hands on the floor and pushing. Not only will this help to strengthen the arms and shoulders, it helps develop the hand arches. I have spoken often about the importance of hand arches and their relationship to good handwriting skills.

Once she has mastered this activity and can move forward easily and for a distance such as a long hallway, have her push backward. This uses other muscles of the arms and shoulder girdle and really contributes to a stable shoulder. The difficulty can be increased by having your child lie face down with the scooter positioned at the hip bone. When your child attempts to propel forward, the additional body weight positioned off the scooter acts as increased resistance. Also, your child needs to use abdominal muscles and back muscles in order to keep her tummy from hitting the floor.

Ultimately, you can have your child position herself so that only her knees/thighs are on the scooter. The further the scooter base is from your child’s tummy, the harder it is to propel and more muscle strength is required.” (1)

Add a bungee cord to the room to expand upon the benefits above.  See what Sensory Digest suggests:

Sit on the Scooter

You can also have your child sit on the scooter with legs crossed. She can place palms down on the floor in propel in any direction – forward, backward, and spin around in circles. This movement helps promote balance and equilibrium.

She can also move with her hands placed on the floor toward the front of the scooter or hands placed toward the back. The latter position engages the triceps muscles of the arms and the muscles of the upper back and shoulder.

Sensory Digest suggests adding a bungee cord to build upper body and core strength.  Take a peek:

Kneel on the Scooter

Another exercise is to have your child kneel on the scooter and place her hands on the floor in front of her shoulder width apart. Then, without moving the hand position, have her pull her knees in toward the hands and then push away from the hands. This action requires a lot of stabilization from the shoulder girdle gives input to the hand and strengthens the tummy muscles.

Again, add a bungee cord to enhance the therapeutic benefit:

These are just a few of the activities which can be done on the scooter.  There are a few more good ideas in Scooter Boards: Vestibular & Proprioceptive Sensory Input.  If you use your imagination and ingenuity, as our friends do over at Sensory Digest, you will discover other positions which have therapeutic benefit.  Take a peek at some of the fun ideas Sensory Digest has for scooter boards.

Scooter boards are small, easy to store and inexpensive. Best of all, they are a really fun way for kids to improve their posture, coordination and balance and positively influence many isms.

References

Konigsberg, Nancy, MA, OTR/L. “How to Help Your Child Develop Better Posture.” Milestone Mom. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 June 2015.