Hi everyone, I am a teaching Assistant with children who have special educational needs, I mainly work with Autistic children. I am wondering how does your autism effect your balance and movement? And is there anything that helps you maintain your balance and movement? Just sometimes I feel helpless with some of the children, I help them as much as I can, as most of the time they would like my hand to walk places etc, but I am needing some help with how I could help them more, or how they could help themselves more. Any feedback on how balance and movement effects you and how you deal with it would be greatly appreciated.
Hello, I think children would gain benefit from following simple Tai Chi or qigong instructions. Following another person’s movement is also thought to help empathic responses, according to some therapists.
As these movements are built around a person’s centre of gravity, they should help balance issues.
Hi thanks so much for the tip, I will give it a go. Do you think it would be beneficial to do activities to get them to follow. For example if I got cones and got them to watch me walk in and out of them, then get them to copy me?
The theory is that watching what someone does and then trying to repeat it, helps build attention to others and their movements, which in turn aids feelings of inclusion and acceptance. So any copying of movement should be beneficial.
I am not a professional therapist, just an interested amateur who has read a lot of the research in this area.
Thanks for the help, I appreciate it :)
A lot of children with autism struggle with balance, coordination and motor skills. Sometimes this is because they have another condition like dyspraxia as well (sometimes undiagnosed). It can also be a sensory thing to do with proprioception (hope I spelt that right). Its to do with your awareness of where your body is. You may notice some autistic children walk very close to or touching the walls. This is so they have something solid to guide them. Sometimes having a line on the floor to walk down can be enough to help. Another thing that can help children with sensory issues like this is wearing something weighted like a jacket or a backpack.
There are other activities that can help balance. A popular thing to do with autistic children is called sensory circuits. This can benefit many children who aren't autistic too. There is a range of sensory activities you can include in this and you can focus on balance activities if this is a particular need. It can be very simple like walking across a bench. Then you can ask them to walk across the bench touching their nose (this is harder because its multitasking). As they improve you can get them to do loads of things like hop across the bench or out the bench upside down so they are walking on the narrow beam. You can also get lots of things to balance on. Theres ones that are an inflatable ball with a plastic ring round that they stand on.
Hope some of that was a little bit helpful.
Thanks so much that was very helpful