Yoga balls are great for our speech sessions because we can use them to provide mild, moderate, or even strong sensory input. And as we know, when we use sensory experiences to help regulate a child, we will see increased engagement.
Here are five ways you can use a yoga ball to increase regulation and engagement.
1. SPIDER SIT HUGS
How to: Sit on the yoga ball and have the child sit on your lap facing you.
Spider Sit Hugs are great for...kids who have high arousal and need calming down.
Why: Slow, tight hugs are a great source of deep pressure tactile input which helps to calm down the nervous system. And the spider sit position helps to facilitate engagement.
How to: Hold the yoga ball steady between your legs and have child sit on the yoga ball facing you.
Who bouncing is great for...kids who have low arousal and enjoy movement activities.
Why: Bouncing is a type of vestibular input that is generally alerting - a good way to increase arousal level.
How to: Have the child lay on the yoga ball on their tummy. Sit in front of the child facing them, and help them to roll back and forth.
Rolling is great for...kids who have high arousal and need calming down. This activity is not great for kids with gravitational insecurity - who are fearful of their feet leaving the floor. Click here to read the post on gravitational insecurity.
Why: Slow, steady rolls give the child deep pressure which helps to calm down the nervous system.
How to: Have the child lay on the floor and push the yoga ball on their body slowly.
Squishes are great for...kids who have high arousal and need calming down - or kids who enjoy deep pressure.
Why: Slow, deep squishes is a form of deep pressure tactile input, helping for calming the child.
5. UPSIDE DOWN ROCKING
How to: Have the child spider sit with you, and then hold their hands or back to rock them up and down. Add bouncing if you'd like!
Upside down rocking is great for...kids who have low arousal and need alerting input. Again, this activity would likely not be ideal for a child with gravitational insecurity.
Why: If you rock the child upside down at a quick or unpredictable rate, this will be alerting to the nervous system, causing the child to increase their level of arousal.
If you loved these tips, drop a comment below and let me know!
Jessie Ginsburg is a Sensory Integration trained speech-language pathologist, the CEO of Pediatric Therapy Playhouse, and the creator of ASD from the Inside Out.