Sensory Swing for Modulation

Sensory swings are a wonderful tool for improving sensory modulation in kids. We’ve covered different swings in the past, including specific types like a platform swing. Here, we will discuss how and why a sensory swing is used for modulation of sensory needs. Sensory swings are powerful sensory strategy when it comes individuals with sensory processing needs. Let’s discuss how sensory swings can help with sensory processing and modulation.

This content is part of our week-long therapy giveaway event, where we are collaborating with brands to give you the opportunity to win various therapy items, toys, and games as a thank you for being here and a celebration of our profession and those we serve.

Related, check out our blog post on affect modulation.

Use a sensory swing to help kids with sensory needs including sensory modulation

Sensory Swings for Modulation…

You’ve seen the issues in classrooms and in homes. There are kiddos struggling with self-regulation and management of sensory processing. We notice the child that gets overwhelmed or stuck on a direction to complete a worksheet. We see a child who breaks down and resolves into a pattern of hitting, biting, kicking, or damaging property. We notice the child that can’t sit upright in their seat to listen to their teacher. We can identify the child who bites on their pencil to the point of nibbling on eraser bits and chunks of wood. We see the actions and we see the results of a real need. Sometimes, we can even predict the events or situations that lead to these behaviors.

What we don’t see is the internal struggle.

We miss out on the feeling of overwhelming sensory input. We can’t feel the emptiness or the detached sensation. We miss out on what’s happening inside those beautiful, intelligent, and awesomely created brains and bodies.

While we can connect the dots from event to behavior, our biggest struggle as advocates, educators, and loved ones is to know the true internal path that connects those dots.

An occupational therapist analyzes the occupational domains that a child or individual pursues. They determine any difficulties in modulation, discrimination, praxis, motor skills, and other components that impact those occupations. In providing sensory-based interventions, therapists use tools to move their clients to optimal levels of arousal for functioning.

The sensory swing is one of those ways to help with sensory modulation.

What is Sensory Modulation

Sensory modulation information including what is sensory modulation and how to help.

As discussed in the book, The Sensory Lifestyle Handbook, sensory modulation is the organization and regulation of sensory input through the central nervous system to enable skills and abilities such as attention, activity levels. This skill is an efficient, automatic, and effortless occurrence in those with typically developing individuals.

Sensory modulation is defined by Dr. A Jean Ayres as “the neurological process that organizes sensation from one’s own body and from the environment and makes it possible to use the body effectively within the environment. The spatial and temporal aspects of inputs from different sensory modalities are interpreted, associated, and unified” (Ayres, p. 11, 1989).

Problems with sensory modulation result in difficulty responding to and regulating sensory input. A child with sensory modulation disorder might withdrawal as a result of their responses. They may become upset by noises or sounds. They may become overly distracted or obsessed with specific stimuli.

Sensory Modulation in a Nutshell

Essentially, sensory modulation is the ability to take in sensory input, sort it, and respond to that input. Modulation results in function, alertness, awareness of self, and awareness of the world around oneself.

When sensory modulation is stalled, moving slowly, or running on hyper speed, we see disorganized, over-responsive, or under-responsive individuals.

As a result, children struggle to complete functional tasks, follow directions, learn, manage emotions, interact socially, etc.

How to Help with Sensory Modulation

Sensory modulation issues can be improved to impact a child’s arousal state so they can be effective and function in daily living tasks, in school, emotionally, and socially. Some sensory strategies to help with modulation are listed below.

Use the expertise of an occupational therapist to identify and analyze modulation levels. Identifying strengths and weaknesses can play a part in helping to understand other underlying areas that need addressing and play into sensory modulation concerns. Functioning individuals may require specific levels and intensities of specific sensory input, which can vary across different environments or on a day-to-day basis.

  1. Use sensory activities to add proprioception, vestibular input, or touch input to help with arousal states, and calm or alert levels in order to function in tasks.
  2. Create a sensory diet that allows for sensory use across environments and sensory tools or strategies to address changes in modulation or arousal.
  3. Set up a sensory station to successfully integrate sensory activities into daily lives. Sensory stations can occur in the home, classroom, or on-the-go.

A sensory swing can be used to impact sensory modulation in all of these strategies.

Harkla sensory swing for therapy and sensory modulation

Use a sensory swing for Modulation

A sensory swing can be a calming place to regroup and cope. It can be a safe space for a child to gain calming vestibular input through slow and predictable motions.

A sensory swing can be a source of intense vestibular input as a means to challenge arousal levels.

A sensory swing can use a firm pillow base to provide proprioceptive feedback and heavy input while addressing tactile defensiveness.

A sensory swing can be a means for combining calming or alerting motions with coordinated movement strategies to impact praxis, postural control, and perception.

A sensory swing can be used with others as a tool for building social skills and emotional regulation.

A sensory swing can be used as an outlet for meltdowns before they turn into biting, kicking, hitting, or yelling.

A sensory swing can be a transition tool to provide calming vestibular input before physical actions and executive functioning concepts needed for tasks such as completing homework, or getting ready for bed.

Use a therapy swing to help kids with sensory processing

INDOOR Sensory Swing

Want to address modulation and impact sensory processing needs in the home, classroom, or therapy room? we’ve talked about how sensory swings impact sensory processing and the ability to regulate sensory input. Let’s take things up a notch by getting a therapy swing into your hands.

One sensory swing that I’ve got in my house is the Harkla sensory swing. We’ve used this exact swing as an outdoor sensory swing, but it’s a powerful tool when used as an indoor swing. Today, you have the chance to win one of your own. Using a Harkla swing as an indoor swing provides opportunities for modulation in various environments and as a tool to regulate emotions, behaviors.

Over or under inflate to provide more or less base of support and a challenge in postural control. Additionally, this swing holds up to 150 pounds, making it an option to address sensory modulation for adults.

Use the cocoon swing to create a relaxation space or sensory station right in the home or classroom. With the easy-to-install swing, a sensory diet space can come alive using the Harkla Therapy Swing!

Occupational therapists use pod swings to address sensory modulation, attention needs, regulation, or sensory processing disorder. The cocoon swing we’re giving away below provides a hug-like effect to address sensory needs or as a fun space to hang out in in the classroom or home. A few more details about this indoor swing option:

  • Comes with all the hardware for an easy setup, including a pump, adjustable strap, 4 bolts, carabiner, and a ceiling hook
  • Holds up to 150lbs for a safe place for your child
  • Includes an adjustable strap to make it easy to safely hang your sensory swings indoors from any height
  • Comes with easy-to-follow directions so anyone can hang it up
  • Free shipping & a lifetime guarantee

Harkla Sensory Swing Giveaway

This giveaway, sponsored by Harkla, has now ended.

TOns of Sensory Modulation Ideas

Some of the smartest and most creative folks I know are the readers of The OT Toolbox. I asked readers to tell me sensory strategies they personally love and use to address sensory modulation. Scroll through the comments…you might just find some new sensory strategies that will work for you! Hopefully we can learn from one another!

Also, check out these other soy suggestions based on therapeutic development through play.

  1. Fine Motor Toys 
  2. Gross Motor Toys 
  3. Pencil Grasp Toys 
  4. Toys for Reluctant Writers
  5. Toys for Spatial Awareness 
  6. Toys for Visual Tracking 
  7. Toys for Sensory Play 
  8. Bilateral Coordination Toys 
  9. Games for Executive Functioning Skills 
  10. Toys and Tools to Improve Visual Perception 
  11. Toys to Help with Scissors Skills
  12. Toys for Attention and Focus 

Ayres, A.J. (1 989). Sensory Integration and Praxis Tests. Los Angeles, Western Psychological Services.

Therapy Tools Giveaway

Hi there friends! For a while now, I’ve wanted to organize a massive therapy giveaway of some kind to just say thank you for your support over the years. This week, (plus a few extra days…) I’ve got some really awesome therapy tools to give away as part of a Holiday Therapy celebration! This giveaway celebrates you and all you do for others. The items are therapy tools and resources that you can use in your clinic, classroom, or home. NOTE: This giveaway has now ended. Stay tuned for next year’s Annual Therapy Tools Giveaway occuring in November 2020.

Therapy Tools Giveaway

These therapy giveaway items are perfect for occupational therapists and anyone working in pediatrics.

Stop back each day to enter the daily giveaway and catch up on the ones you may have missed. Each giveaway opens on the day specified and will remain open for the duration of the giveaway period. Share this page with others you think may benefit from the item or items.

Thankful for You

I am so grateful and incredibly proud of the readers of The OT Toolbox. You are professionals, advocates, and servants, defenders, and counselors. You are leaders, educators, and supporters of those looking for their ability to do and be. You are the manager of function and the chief of ability. By using your sincere empathy, insight, judgement, and expertise, you are the means for guiding those you serve towards capability. The profession is proud to have you. You are an instrument to build up others and the system to establish function.

You are the reason that so many flourish with their daily occupations. You are the roadmap to ability in the day to day skills that make up our classrooms, clinics, and communities. You deserve so much more than these items. These giveaways are just a simple way to express gratitude for you and all you do on a daily basis.

Therapy Tools Giveaway

So, to kick off the holiday season with gratitude and thanks, I’m excited to announce the first (hopefully annual) Therapy Giveaway!

Scroll down to find and enter the therapy tools being given away this week. You will find items for the classroom, sensory tools, fine motor tools, and therapy resources designed to promote function and ability in a variety of occupations. Enter each giveaway once per day! Each giveaway may have additional rules or stipulations, depending on the brand or company offering the therapy item. This giveaway is hosted on The OT Toolbox but may offer additional giveaway


This is the place you will need to come back to each day over the course of the next 10 days. Each day, you will find a new therapy giveaway item “turned on”. If you missed entering any of the past giveaways, don’t worry! Just go back and enter those giveaways. All giveaways end on December 4th at 11:59 pm PST. Winners will be notified by email. Prizes will be fulfilled by the brand or company offering the giveaway. For some prizes, a full name and physical mailing address will need to be obtained via email so the prize can be mailed out.

Scroll through the images below and enter each one beginning on the day indicated. I’m excited to share each of the items below. In total, giveaway prizes add up to over $1,000! You’ll find therapy items that you can use in your practice, in the clinic, classroom, or home. There are sensory tools, handwriting products, massive therapy resource bundles, amazing therapeutic toys, and so much more. You are going to love each item!

Here we go!

Therapy Giveaway Item #1

Therapy giveaway Harkla sensory swing
Win a Harkla sensory swing for sensory input in the home or classroom! Valued at $80.00! Includes swing, all installation hardware, and cushion.

CLICK HERE to enter to win the Harkla Sensory Swing.

Therapy Giveaway Item #2

Lovevery blocks giveaway to win a set of blocks for kids
This 70 piece wooden block set from LOVEVERY is valued at $90 and includes over 20 block activities designed to promote skills, learning, and development.

Click HERE for a chance to win a LOVEVERY block set!

Therapy Giveaway Item #3

Free AOTA membership therapy giveaway
One occupational therapy professional will win a year-long membership to AOTA. Open to current and new (not currently a member) OTs, OTAs, OT students, and retired OT/OTAs.

Click HERE to enter to win a year-long membership to AOTA!

Therapy Giveaway Item #4

play and learn set giveaway for therapy giveaway
One PunkinFutz PlaySet, valued at $95.00. This multi-purpose therapeutic toy that offers endless learning and play activity opportunities and has a play-based curriculum available.

Click HERE to enter to win a PunkinFutz PlaySet!

Therapy Giveaway ITem #5

sensory friendly pajama set therapy giveaway
Win one pair of Lovey & Grink sensory friendly pajamas, valued at $42.00.

Click HERE to enter to win a pair of sensory friendly pajamas!

Therapy Giveaway Item #6

letter builder kit giveaway for therapy giveaway prize
Win one Lowercase Letter Builder Kit from Fundanoodle, valued at $74.99.

Click HERE to enter to win a Lowercase Letter Builder Fun Kit!

THerapy Giveaway #7

fine motor toy giveaway for week of therapy giveaways
Fine motor toy designed to promote fine motor strength, bilateral coordination, eye-hand coordination and more. Valued at $21.00

Click HERE to enter to win this fine motor toy!

Therapy Giveaway #8

therapy resources available online
Win a massive digital resource containing e-books, occupational therapy worksheets, activities, and therapy resources, valued at over $220!

Click HERE to enter to win a massive therapy resource bundle!

Therapy Giveaway #9

Win a Mightier Professional Kit, valued at $395 and includes a Mighty band & dedicated Mightier tablet, 1-on-1 onboarding and customized setup for your practice, Access to Professional Development Trainings and Mightier Certification Program, Unlimited player profiles, Monthly clinical consultation with a dedicated Mightier Certified OT

Click HERE to enter to win the Mightier Annual Professional Kit!

Therapy Giveaway Item #10

Pitchkit giveaway for therapy giveaway prize
Win a PunkinFutz Pitch Kit Set, to work on bilateral coordination, core strength, motor planning, eye-hand coordination, and more. Valued at $80.00

Click HERE to enter to win a PunkinFutz Pitch Kit Set!

Be sure to stop back each day to find out the details of each giveaway item!

Therapy tools giveaway items