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Blanket swings: vestibular input and opportunities for communication

Blanket swing for vestibular input

During music therapy we love finding ways to increase vestibular and proprioceptive input. One simple way to increase vestibular input during a session is by using a blanket as a swing. I typically use a sheet folded over in half. The child lays on the sheet and two adults lift it between them creating a cocoon-like hammock with the child inside (blanket open at the top). This also provides the child with a break from visual stimuli and can dampen auditory stimuli.

Our vestibular system is our sense of movement and balance. Blanket swinging is a simple and effective way of providing this input and helping a child with autism to regulate. Swing the blanket side to side and forward and backward. This is also a great time to work on communication such as requesting "more," "go," and "up".

A song provides structure to the activity, prompts language and helps children to know when the blanket swing will start and stop.

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