Ball Pits for Sensory Integration

Ball Pits for Sensory Integration

Sometimes, it’s the most fun activity and can also be the most effective treatment. We all remember the ball pits at children’s play areas, and we all have no doubt grown to detest the unsanitariness of these places that are best left for the children. However, there’s no denying that the child in you also reminisces pleasantly about the comforting embrace that simultaneously hugged the body and supported a unique feeling of weightlessness.

Well, it turns out those ecstatic feelings of joy may not have been mindless hedonistic experiences but instead may have been subtly providing health benefits due to the barrage of sensory stimulation that occurs when simply navigating through these unpredictable pits.

Ball pits, also known as therapy ball pits, are a great therapeutic tool for special needs children, especially those with autism, sensory integration challenges, and/or developmental delays.  Ball pits are often carried out in tandem with other holistic therapies and can be the perfect addition to any multi-sensory environment; they are available in almost any dimension and can be crafted to fit any custom space. They keep kids active and engaged no matter their age. They’re also enjoyable no matter what the child’s mood; they can be as relaxing as a Jacuzzi or as energetic as swimming in a pool.

Sensory Integration Research

Sensory integration benefits individuals by promoting overall well-being, enhancing sensory processing skills, and improving their ability to participate effectively in daily activities and social interactions.
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Sensory Stimulation

In order to travel through the freely open maze of balls, the mind and body must constantly analyze the uneven, moving platforms to keep the body balanced and able to move. This sensory stimulation is important for the development of children, but even more so in children with Autism.

Clinically referred to as social integration, the term describes the processes used by the brain to decode and make sense of the stimulus to the five senses. It’s believed that performing this highly accurate, coordinated dance isn’t just fun, but also an experience that aids the development of hand and eye coordination, social skills, and behavior in response to the constant stimulus experienced in the ball pit.

Although these health benefits are great for any child at any stage of development, researchers have found that children with Autism may benefit greatly from such experiences. Autistic children approach the world differently to their piers, and this alternative way of processing the things around them can make life challenging.

When it comes to sensory integration, children with autism can often experience an overload of stimuli that, in many cases, has negative affect on the child’s behavior and social skills. It’s this overload of stimuli that ball pits can help to tame, in a similar way to how facing your fears can work but in a more fun environment.

Two common conditions that children with autism often experience, that may also gain benefits from ball pit therapy include:

Hypersensitivity: This is when children become overly sensitive to the stimulus around them. Bright lights, loud sounds, sudden movements, etc., can trigger uncomfortable episodes, which may cause the child to react negatively to these situations, and overtime may do so in anticipation of such experiences.

Careful sessions in the ball pit, with a focus on creating safe fun exercises can help children become more familiar with multiple stimuli that all occur simultaneously, and over time, help to lessen symptoms of Hypersensitivity.

Hyposensitivity: Many children with autism suffer from this, which causes a low sensitivity to pain. This often comes with clumsiness since the brain has low sensitivity to signals from the body.

Again, carefully curated sessions in the ball pit can help children become used to the exact feelings of the multiple types of stimulus they’ll experience, and overtime decrease their symptoms of Hyposensitivity.

Therapy Ball Pits Concurrent Therapies
In addition, ball pit therapy can be administered in conjunction with other therapies to bolster the effects and maximize the benefits of the treatment. Ball pit therapy is commonly employed to assist, Behavioral Therapy, Occupational Therapy and Social Skills Groups.

In Conclusion

Like most holistic therapies, ball pit therapy works great in tandem with one or more other treatments that are have been selected to complement each other.

Whilst so many of the worlds treatments requiring medicines, it’s always a bonus when alternative therapies that don’t utilize potentially harmful chemicals, and therapy ball pits are a fine example of sensory integration therapies that fit such a bill; safe, effective, and free from side effects.

Ball Pits for Sensory Integration
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