Maintaining a calm and organised state of arousal is often at the forefront of our minds when treating children on the spectrum.
Why?…. because we know that this leads to more successful interaction and learning opportunities. There is so much about life that does not make sense for these kids and as a result anxiety can certainly be a constant challenge.
There are heaps of different strategies we can incorporate to achieve a greater calm. One of the things that I often try and implement into my therapy to achieve this is ‘blowing’. Since these kids are often spending significant periods of their day in ‘survival mode’ it means that their breath can be really quite shallow. Therefore the types of blowing activities you might want to incorporate are those that encourage deeper diaphragmatic breathing. My favourite pieces of equipment to achieve this are:
1. Blowing through different sized plastic tubing, from the hardware store, into bubbly water
2. Blowing up balloons using a one way valve so that the air is trapped after each breath. Keeping an extra set in the car or your handbag can be awesome for helping a child get into a more calm state of arousal before entering into an environment that can tend to have them be more anxious!
You can find this one way valve as well as the fun animal balloons on websites that sell a range of sensory equipment such as www.sensesbilities.com.au
Of course getting these kids moving and engaging in activities that really work their muscles (eg climbing, running, jumping on a trampoline, swimming etc) and encourage deeper breathing is also great for achieving the same outcome.
Do you have any other suggestions for great blowing equipment that kids find enjoyable? Let us know below.