Friday, September 16, 2011

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Finding Balance With Asperger's: A Balance Beam Builds Proprioception

For kids on the autism spectrum, knowing their own bodies and being aware of what they’re doing with them is a struggle. This is called proprioception and it’s something that my 4 year old son, Quinn, struggles with as well. Guidecraft was generous enough to send me their Balance Beam to help Quinn learn to build proprioceptive responses. Anything that works on balance is great for children like Quinn because it truly takes a lot of mind and body control to be able to stay on without falling off.

This balance beam is awesome for many reasons. For one, it’s made of solid wood so it’s very sturdy and sure to last. Second, it’s not too high off the ground, so little ones don’t fear trying it out. Third, it actually has an easy and difficult way to use it simply by turning the long beam onto its short side. This is great for older children or once younger ones have mastered it the traditional way. The harder way is still too difficult for Quinn, but he’ll get there someday.

Initially, Quinn could not keep his balance when walking heel-to-toe on the beam, he just side walked it. After much prompting and even holding his hands to help, he has finally figured out the heel-toe way and does very well. We usually keep it in our hallway, so sometimes he still steadies himself on the wall, but he can do most of it on his own. He’s had a great time playing with it and is very proud of himself for being able to do it. I love that he’s building so many skills but in a way that’s fun. Plus, as with all Guidecraft’s products, this will be around for a very long time.

You can buy the Balance Beam and all Guidecraft’s developmental products on their website, This item retails for $90.