Wednesday, September 7, 2011

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Finding Balance With Asperger's: Building Proprioception with Marble Maze Balance Bases


In my most recent review of Guidecraft’s Balance Base, I described the benefits of using balance-building activities with children on the Autism spectrum. In addition to the Balance Base, Guidecraft generously sent us their Marble Maze Balance Bases, which are a fun twist on a regular balance base. This set of three bases features a marble maze in the center of each one, to make the balance-building into an activity.

Quinn has to really be aware of his body and concentrate on controlling it to get the marbles from one side of the maze to the other. This is so fantastic for building his gross motor muscles, but really helps build his lacking proprioceptive (one’s own perception of themselves) feedback. Many children with Autism struggle with their proprioception, so this activity is perfect for them. These bases are different from the other Guidecraft Balance Base I reviewed, not only because of the marble maze, but these bases pivot all directions, not just side-to-side, for an added measure of difficulty and fun.




With these bases, we tend to do “races”. Three children line up with the bases and see who can finish their maze first. Everyone gets encouragement for finishing and we never have “losers”.  It’s all in good fun and they know that, but competing really kicks their minds into overdrive and helps them to accomplish the tasks much quicker. I’ve noticed that Quinn does much better when he’s being pushed to finish quickly rather than taking his time and getting frustrated with it and eventually quitting. This activity is so good for him, I’ll do anything to make sure he practices frequently.


As will all Guidecraft’s products, these are extremely well made and sturdy. The bases are solid wood with the maze etched out of the wood and covered by clear plastic. Ours did crack a little on the sides when a teenager over 100 lbs. was on them, but they are by no means broken. To be safe, I wouldn’t let anyone bigger than that on them to increase their life. This Set of 3 Marble Maze Balance Bases come in a set of three and retail for $150 on www.Guidecraft.com.


Thank you to Guidecraft for providing a complimentary product sample for us to base this review upon.