Sensory Integration therapy without a hippity hop ball? Impossible!
Well, ok, actually it would be possible I suppose. But, hopping balls have so many uses for helping kids with Sensory Processing Disorder that it has almost become a staple of any sensory room or home therapy program.
First, let's start with those high energy little gremlins. Doesn't it seem like they could bounce for hours on end and never get tired? I got news for you... they can! So, how do we help them get that energy out of their system? You guessed it... a hopping ball! Give them two... one for outside, one for inside. Set up obstacle courses for them, challenge them to bounce different directions, for as long as they possible can, as far as they can, as high as they can, etc. They crave it, they need it, they will truly benefit from it!
Now, for those "little chickadees" that are not so coordinated, have lower muscle tone, or very little muscle endurance... give them as many opportunities as you can to get them bouncin' and hoppin'. They may have difficulty, they may not enjoy it as much as the energizer bunnies do, or they may even fear it, but they should be exposed to and encouraged to use it so they develop the skills they lack!
Besides hoppin' around the house or yard, a hopping ball will make a great "steam roller". Most children, whether hypersensitive or hyposensitive to touch and proprioceptive input, love to be "squished". Whether they can't seem to sit still, they are fearful of being touched, can't seem to calm their body down for sleep or concentrated tasks, or they are extremely distractible and "neurologically unorganized", evenly distributed deep pressure applied to the body is quite calming and organizing.
This can easily be achieved in a fun game of "squishing" or "steamrolling" by applying your body weight to the hippity hop ball and roll it up and down the child's back while they lay on their bellies on the floor! It can be even more fun if you have several kids and line them all up like sardines!
Needless to say, the proprioceptive input a hopping ball or "hippity hop" ball can provide is wonderful, fun, and therapeutic for all children (including those without a sensory processing disorder). OK, truth be told, even I used to LOVE bouncing around my yard on my yellow hippity hop ball when I was a kid... I mean, who wouldn't?
Sensory Room - therapeutic for both children and adults with, or without, sensory processing/sensory integration disorders.
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