Thursday, February 24, 2011

Bean Bag Chairs for Autism Sensory Integration Therapy

Beanbag chairs have been a casual alternative for comfortable, stylish seating since the 1960s. They come in different sizes and colors, and sometimes different shapes, too, so that they mold themselves to whatever shape you sit in for maximum comfort. For many years, furniture manufacturers made bean bag chairs with small polystyrene beads, but because they posed a choking hazard for young children, manufacturers now make bean bag chairs with shredded polyurethane, the same material that lines car cushions. As a result, bean bag chairs are more comfortable than ever, and with a growing array of fabrics and materials for colors, they've experienced something of a resurgence as a viable choice for informal interior d├ęcor. However, bag chairs aren't just stylish and comfortable. Many therapists use them in different ways to help people on the autism spectrum cope with sensory processing issues.
Many individuals affected by autism have neurological issues that affect their ability to process and organize sensory information. They may experience delays in acknowledging what they see, hear or feel, or they may feel sensory input more or less intensely than neurotypical people. This can be very unsettling, and may trigger upset, restlessness and even anxiety in an autistic person. Bean bags are a safe, gentle way to help a person with autism organize their sensory input and have a greater awareness of their bodies in their immediate surroundings. Many physical therapists use beanbag chairs as part of a comprehensive treatment plan for sensory integration issues in autistic kids.
As seating, beanbag chairs provide immediate sensory feedback to the child about every subtle shift in his movements. The child can feel the countless small pieces of shredded polyurethane adjusting beneath the chair's cover. This can also help a child learn more about his body's responses and how to better monitor what feels comfortable to him and what doesn't. Learning to pay attention to his body's sensory cues is an important part of helping a child cope with sensory processing issues. Children can easily take bean bag chairs with them in a therapy session, if a session of therapeutic services require the child to move from room to room.
Many kids on the autism spectrum who also struggle with sensory processing difficulties benefit from deep sensory pressure massage and feeling weighted objects around their torsos. Bean bag chairs are an inexpensive option for providing this purpose. Placing a child on a beanbag, and then placing a second bean bag over the child's torso is a safe method to provide some weighted pressure evenly distributed across the torso. Many autistic kids find this extremely relaxing and comforting.
Bean bag chairs are a safe, gentle option for physical therapy that must involve gentle weight-lifting to improve coordination and muscle tone, both common problems for young children on the spectrum. Children can lift the chairs easily with little coordination necessary, and a dropped bean bag chair, unlike a traditional weight set, won't cause any injury or damage.
With the many features and benefits of bean chairs, buying one which provides the comfort and affordability necessary to meet your needs is crucial. Comfy Sacks has bean bags in a wide variety of sizes and colors. Instead of being filled with beans, they are filled with a proprietary blend of shredded polyurethane foam. This guarantees that it will be soft, and durable for years to come.

1 comment:

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