What is a Therapy Ball?
Therapy balls are designed to help work on balance reactions and postural control and provide vestibular input in a variety of directions to a child with autism, ADD/ADHD, and other types of sensory integration dysfunction.
Therapy ball is an essential tool for sensory integration therapy. Occupational therapists use it to improve core strength, balance and coordination training, postural stability, and a child's gross motor and proprioceptive activities. To ensure safety, an adult should always supervise the child while using the therapy ball.
The ball provides a variety of sensory and vestibular inputs to the child while playing with it. The ball is durable and has a rigid core to prevent bottoming out. The balls have a ribbed and non-slip surface for extra security. These balls are also used in a classroom for flexible seating to encourage attention and focus.
HPFY offers a huge selection of therapy balls of all shapes, sizes, textures, colors, and weights. Therapy balls are incredibly versatile and great to encourage fine and gross motor skills, balancing, and hand-eye coordination. Designed for rolling, pushing, throwing, and kicking, these balls provide great fun.
What are the Benefits of Ball Therapy?
Therapy balls are staples for sensory integration therapy and are used for developing vestibular responses, spatial orientation, balance, body awareness, and muscle strength.
Therapy Balls are used for:
- Exercises to build strong core strength by working on the back and abdomen control.
- To improve movement and gross motor coordination.
- To enhance the balance and postural control of the child by sitting or lying on top of the ball.
- Weight-bearing activities to improve muscle tone and strength.
- Sensory activities such as applying deep pressure with the ball for a calming effect on the child.
- Games and playful activities to enhance cognitive skills and encourage cooperation.
5 Best Therapy Ball Exercises
- Position your child on top of the therapy ball and, holding their hip or thighs, gently bounce them up and down on the ball.
- This activity offers increased vestibular input and raises the child's arousal level when feeling slow or sluggish.
- Slow bouncing on the ball makes the child calm, and fast bouncing brings about alertness. You can bounce the child rhythmically, counting or singing a song with a repeatable beat.
- The sequential bouncing brings about a calming effect on the child and enhances the child's response to the surroundings.
Prone position on the ball
- Lay the child on their tummy on the ball, giving the child support at the hips and roll them back and forth. This position can help provide them maximum vestibular input, good postural control, and proximal stability of the joints.
- Roll your child forwards and have them hold themselves upon their arms and let them play with a toy or do some puzzle. It helps increase strength and provides them with proprioceptive input to improve body awareness. It also increases the strength and stability at the shoulder girdle, which helps develop their fine motor skills like writing. You can increase the duration as your child becomes more comfortable and tolerant of the position.
- This position is also great for spastic children, and their muscle tone can be decreased by quietly rocking while they are pruned to the ball.
Supine position on the ball
- Lay the child on their backs on the therapy ball and hold your child's hips, thighs, or ankles for additional support.
- You can have them reach for an object above them.
- The vestibular input contributes to increased body awareness and strength and improving stability and postural strength.
- Have your child lay on their stomach face down on the floor.
- Roll the therapy ball starting at their toes up to their shoulders and provide some pressure on the ball as you move the ball.
- Roll it back down to their feet and repeat the process.
- The deep pressure applied in this way can help calm your child's body down and improve blood circulation.
- If your kid loves that deep proprioceptive input, then you can press the ball more firmly.
- While you roll the ball, watch their reactions closely.
- Use an appropriately sized ball and make sure that your child is comfortable with that weight.
Kick the ball
- In an open space, kick the therapy ball back and forth with your child and teach him how to kick it off the wall so they can do it on their own.
- Alternatively, you and your child can play soccer with the ball. It will help in improving the child's gross motor skills.
Note: It is advised, one should do these exercises as per the instructions of an Occupational Therapist. The OT will guide the duration and frequency of each exercise as inappropriate stimulation of the vestibular sense can have adverse effects on the child. Choosing the right-sized ball also plays an important role and should be done depending on the height and weight of the child.
Where can I buy Therapy Balls for Autism online?
We at HPFY offer therapy balls that can provide a variety of useful vestibular input and can help to improve the balance, coordination, and strength of your child. The products are from well-known manufacturer Patterson Medical/Performance Health.
Useful links on the Physical Therapy Balls