Students in occupational therapy assistant (OTA) degree programs learn ways to help clients who have sensory integration needs. When an occupational therapy plan calls for a therapy swing, the OTA works with the client to implement the therapy.
But what do OTAs do with the client and the swing that make it a valuable part of someone’s treatment plan? The OTAs strategically provide a multisensory experience using the swing that helps the brain and body to function. Read on for an introduction to this broad topic.
Who Uses Therapy Swings
OTAs use therapy swings with several different populations. In this blog post we focus on children, although adults also may also use therapy swings. It’s common for children with sensory integration challenges to have swings incorporated into their therapy plans.
Integrating sensory experiences has to do with the brain’s process of organizing and interpreting information such as sights, sounds, and touch. Sensory integration is crucial for more complex cognitive processes. Helping children can set the foundation for their optimal growth and development over a lifetime.
How OTAs Help Using Therapy Swings
You’re not alone if you’re wondering, “What do OTAs do when they’re working with a child on a therapy swing and how does it help?”
An OTA may use the therapy swing in ways designed to improve the client’s vestibular system. The vestibular system is thought to be the body’s main organizer of sensory information. It includes the parts of the brain and inner ear that help to regulate balance and eye movement.
The OTA pays close attention to the client on the therapy swing. The OTA looks for signs and cues that indicate if the client would like more or less movement and provides encouragement as well as challenges. You see, not everyone likes to swing. For a child with sensory integration and vestibular challenges, slight movements could make the child feel motion sick, dizzy, or as if they’re falling.
Using therapy swings can result in clients experiencing increased:
The OTA is not only paying attention to the client’s reactions during the therapy but also the amount and type of sensory input the client receives. This attentiveness and responsiveness helps the client to maximize the therapy session.
The OTA also provides a safe environment for the therapy by employing his or her:
Types of Therapy Swings
The amount and types of sensory input the client receives from using a therapy swing have a lot to do with the swing selected for the therapy session. Here are some factors that affect the swinging experience directly related to the swing’s composition:
Depending on the client’s needs, a large, soft cocoon swing with mild movement in all directions might be used during the therapy session. Other clients might need a flat swing that looks like a board and moves from front to back. There are too many types of therapy swings to explore in this blog, so check out this therapy swing resource.
While there are several types of therapy swings to explore, an OTA is trained to maximize the resources that are available to help clients reach their fullest potential.
Consider CUKC for Your OTA Degree
Ready to answer “what do OTAs do” by gaining first-hand knowledge and experience? If you’re interested in having a career that makes a meaningful difference know this- an occupational therapy career is professionally and financially rewarding and life-changing for you and your therapy clients.
Cleveland University-Kansas City (CUKC) is a nonprofit, private, health-care focused university located in Overland Park, Kansas. The two-year Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) in Occupational Therapy Assistant Degree Program at CUKC includes 16 core courses along with four-to-five months of fieldwork experience. Coursework is presented in eight-week segments to immerse students in their class subjects.
At Cleveland University-Kansas City, the OTA program classes start in spring, summer, and fall each year. Students who complete all of the required prerequisite coursework at CUKC are guaranteed admission into the degree program, provided that all criteria for the OTA program are met, and all other considerations are satisfactory.
Connect with an advisor today, or download this free ebook: Your Complete Guide to an Occupational Therapy Assistant Career.