Let’s Get Scooting

Any environment that works with children with sensory processing concerns will most likely have a few staple pieces of equipment that seem to be tried and true to the trade.  One of those items is a scooter board.  Whether it is square or rectangle, homemade or bought, scooter boards have been found to be effective for so many reasons when treating children with vestibular, proprioceptive, core stability, and coordination issues.  It is definitely a favourite for children, therapists, and teachers alike.

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The scooter board is a fun, versatile piece of equipment that can be used in practically any environment and can be a great addition to many different activities.  There are a wide range of scooter boards available, including square handled ones, rectangular ones that in some cases are adjustable and/or have a back rest added on to support children with less motor control, and Southpaw now introduces the new Bolster Scooters which add a whole new dimension to scootering! So, this month we are going to take some time to look at different ways to incorporate scooters into your treatments.  Hopefully, we are able to provide some new ideas or spark some of your own creativity.

Scooter boards are an ideal way to work on proprioceptive input while in prone position with focus on strengthening the head and neck extensors. To provide assistance for children with decreased head and neck control, you can have them hold onto a hula hoop while you pull them around for a ride, working on keeping their bodies on the scooter. They are a great addition to any obstacle course and also make a fun way to maneuver through a scavenger hunt.  Place different colored targets (such as spot markers) throughout a room, and at each stop have your child perform a different task to get a clue on where to go next.  With the addition of a ramp, children can work on strengthening by pulling themselves up, and then enjoy the rush of vestibular input with a ride down either prone or sitting.

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In upright sitting, you can address core balance and bilateral coordination by attaching a rope to something stable and then having your child pull himself by performing a bilateral hand cross-over on the rope.

If your space is set up with a smooth floor underneath your mats where you have a swing hook up, using a rope or even a net swing attached to the swing hook up, children can sit upright on the board and use both arms to pull themselves around to knock over objects (such as bowling pins) set up in a circle around them. This is great to work on core stability of the trunk and shoulders, bilateral coordination, balance and motor planning.

Even if your space is small, scooter boards can be used easily through hallways and are a great way to transition from activity to activity.  To increase proprioceptive input and work on balance, you can have your child push you or a peer around placing by their hands on the rider’s shoulder blades.

The  Bolster Scooters offer increased stability for upright sitting on a scooter while working on postural control.  They are a great way to work on negotiating around cones, performing figure eights, and working leg manoeuvrability.  They also provide children with decreased motor control a safe way to enjoy a ride on toy.

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Deanna Macioce, MS, OTR/L

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