By Kodey Toney
Jump, Jive, an' Wail
We went to my in-laws' house the other day to take the boys swimming. They had just gotten a trampoline, and the boys were ready to play on it. We had a trampoline ourselves a couple years ago, but a storm decided to twist it up and throw it across the road. I had forgotten how much he liked jumping on it.
So while the rest of the family was in the pool Konner was bouncing around. Then he would stop for a few minutes and lay on it before popping back up and jumping some more.
So why the infatuation? It probably stems from an issue common in children on the autism spectrum. Many kids have a hyposensitive vestibular system.
The vestibular system is in charge of coordinating movement and balance based on the position of our heads in space. This is something that can cause vertigo in people, and when it is hyposensitive then kids will lose a sense of where their hands and feet are in to relation to the rest of their body.
According to the website Snugvest.com: "A hyposensitive Vestibular person require(s) more movement sensory input than what is neurotypically average in order to feel comfortable. Also, they may constantly feel the need to spin or twirl around, run around in circles, jump up and down, and may have no fear of heights at all. An individual with a hyposensitive or hypo-reactive Vestibular System is under-stimulated and is constantly searching for certain movements to fill that absence. As a result, on the outside they may seem hyperactive, fidgety or simply overflowing with energy at all times."
When Konner is at recess at school he will spend much of his time on the swing set. He loves the feeling of pushing back and forth over and over again. This is probably because he can actually feel his extremities better.
This is why many occupational therapists will have swings or toys that spin children.
Snugvest also listed activities that I thought I would add. These include: bouncing (eyes are trained to refocus with the head, jumping, running, and hopscotch.
These are also things that the paraprofessional at school has used to help calm Konner when he is becoming overstimulated.