Anyone can have fun with Sibow, but the playtoy is designed primarily for children ages 3 to 6 with diagnoses including cerebral palsy, autism, ADHD, learning disabilities, and global developmental delay.

Many of these special needs children must train and strengthen their vestibular systems. The vestibular system refers to structures within the inner ear (the semi-circular canals) that detect movement and changes in the position of the head. For example, the vestibular system tells you when your head is upright or tilted (even with your eyes closed). Dysfunction within this system may manifest itself in two different ways. Some children may be hypersensitive to vestibular stimulation and have fearful reactions to ordinary movement activities (e.g., swings, slides, ramps, inclines). They may also have trouble learning to climb or descend stairs or hills; and they may be apprehensive walking or crawling on uneven or unstable surfaces.

As a result, these children seem fearful in space. In general, these children appear clumsy. On the other extreme, the child may actively seek very intense sensory experiences such as excessive body whirling, jumping, and/or spinning. This type of child demonstrates signs of a hypo-reactive vestibular system; that is, they are trying continuously to stimulate their vestibular systems.

Platform swings are a common tool to stimulate the vestibular systems of special needs kids. The swinging motion helps children to become more aware of their equilibrium and to affirm their place in space. The idea for Sibow was inspired by the use of swings in occupational therapy. Since these special needs children feel safe and entertained on platform swings, it seems like the perfect place to target some of their other needs. These needs include:
  • Balance
  • Memory, recognition, attention span, sequencing, and learning
  • Gross coordination, crossing the midline, motor control, and visual motor integration
  • Strength and endurance

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