We are thinking of setting one up for Ds2 (8) who has ASD. At the moment its a playroom but Im finally coming to tne realisation that hes never going to be that interested in the carefully sorted and labelled boxes of toys that Ive spent what seems like my whole life the last few years organising.
What he really loves, and doesnt get enough of, is physical play - used to be rough and tumble and jumping games with adults, but he is just starting to enjoy climbing, balancing etc. So we thought we would change the room to try to meet these needs , especially for the winter when he cant get outside.
Do you think soft play equipment would be best, or hard stuff? Soft is much more expensive, but more flexible in terms of being able to change the layour around. Hard is probably a bit more challenging - what I dont want to do is pay out for something that he will grow out of in a year. (Having said that, his climbing and balancing is quite delayed - probably at about 3 or 4 year old level).
I have long wanted an OT room for dd1. Lots of soft play large blocks - can make stairs/slopes/bridges with them. Some hooks in the ceiling for platform and harness swings. I want the room she had when she did sensory integration OT, basically
I think then you can vary the challenges, just as they did at OT - make some coordinationchallenges using.g the swing - dd1 used to have to eg collect a bean bag animal on the back swing with her left hand, transfer it across (so swapping hold on the swing) to right hand while.naming the colour/shape/animal/where it lives etc, and then throw it into a target bucket on the forward swing. And then rinse amd repeat.
Dd2 likes those big (not sure what they are called) like punch bags that you can bash into, also a inflatable camp bed to jump/fall on, gym balls are also popular in this house with both dd's (dd1 is after a peanut ball). They both love the swing that they play on at OT (hanging from the ceiling), ikea do a swing (or they used too).
I was bought a punch bag for my christmas present about three years ago my dd now 11 loves using it. She does kick boxing with it, hangs off it for balance. It's one with a water base and moves from the bottom rather than hanging from the ceiling. She gets plenty of sensory feedback from it and loves to go in and give it a good kicking if her sister is annoying her.
Our dd has a sensory roomThe most important thing you can buy are blackout blinds.She then has lots of mobiles and wind chimes.Also shapes cut out of sparkly sticky paper put on the walls.She also has battery operated light up mobiles and other more expensive bubble tubes and projectors.But it does not have to cost a fortune.She also has large bean bag and aromatherapy oils for massgae and dolphin music.
My lovely sister has given us an Ikea hanging chair - its not like the one linked to but more like a soft pod shape. We are going to put an old single bed in there as DS loves playing under blankets etc. Also a big mirror along one wall. Really what I want in the way of equipment is something like a balance beam that we can raise off the floor as he gets more confident, steps, maybe stepping stones, something he can jump off, a padded floor.... I'd love some sort of wall bars as he cant climb ladders at all.
A punch bag is a great idea - hadnt thought of that. We are going to ask for money for Ds's birthday and Christmas to fund it, but I might also apply for a Cerebra grant. Have even had fantasies of opening it up to friends children! Getting a bit carried away actually...
Wish we had the room to have a sensory room, at the moment out sitting room and garden seem to act as our sensory room , at the moment they enjoy using the gym ball on the trampoline, dd2 loves crashing into things (which is why she loves the punch bag) and loves swinging and rough play. We dont have any sensory areas open to the public near by .
We have a peanut ball which he used to love but seems to have gone off it recently. Loves the trampoline in tbe garden but cant use it in the garden - thinking about a mini one but not sure whether he'd reject it as not being bouncy enough!
My DS has a trampoline in the garden and a trampette inside and he doesnt like the trampette because it is not bouncy enough, so when he uses it I have to help him jump high by lifting him up, which is a great work out for my upper arms.
DS has some large soft play shapes I got from http://www.specialneedstoys.com/uk/.
He is a thrill seeker, but cautious as well! Loves being thrown up in the air, swung round etc, but wont go on a swing or a slide on his own. And as I say, he is unsure of himself when climbing and balancing. So an odd mixture really.
DGS the same, although he is CP ! Throw him anywhere, pretend dropping, swinging round. OK on a little swing (you can get indoor ones but not sure size wise for your DS) would be very freaked on a slide on his own, but goes down with mum! Because of his CP no sense of balance whatsoever! Probably why they sound similar in what they will tolerate. kids are strange creatures