Blanket swings: vestibular input and opportunities for communication
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.