If your child has been diagnosed with autism or an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), you may be investigating various treatment and therapy options. However, one of the least expensive and most surprisingly effective therapies may be no further than your local supercenter or home supply store. By installing a trampoline in your basement or back yard, you can help your child tap into his or her inner communicative abilities and learn to control body movements. Read on to learn more about how a trampoline may be able to effectively complement your child's autism management plan.
How can trampolines assist children who have autism?
One of the hallmarks of autism and most ASDs is difficulty controlling bodily movements during times of stress or boredom. You may find your child banging his head against the nearest surface, tapping her feet uncontrollably, or jumping up and down whenever faced with a stressful situation. By regularly jumping and running on a trampoline, autistic children can release excess energy and stress and gain greater control over bodily movements -- helping them rein in these active tendencies in social situations.
Another benefit to regular trampoline exercise involves communication. For many on the autism spectrum, learning new skills or facts while sitting still behind a desk can be difficult. However, by associating these new skills with movement, the autistic brain can help forge connections between letters, words, and numbers. For example, a child may practice doing a jump or somersault while counting from one to ten. Concentrating on this exercise can also help increase a child's attention span, expanding the amount of time he or she is able to spend focused on a game or story.
As children continue to hone certain skills through trampoline play, their self-confidence and self-esteem grows. These benefits don't even take into account the physical benefits of this exercise. Children of all sizes and weights can benefit from regular cardiovascular exercise.
Are there any drawbacks to purchasing a trampoline for your autistic child?
Although trampolines can provide a number of benefits to the autistic child (and the family in general), this is an activity that requires careful adult supervision at all times. If you're not able to secure or enclose your trampoline so that it won't be used unless you or another adult is able to stand watch, this purchase may not be a good idea.
If your child has a physical disability and his or her physician has recommended against trampoline activity, you'll want to abide by the doctor's recommendation -- even if you think trampoline therapy could be beneficial, there may be other exercises your child can do that will have a similar therapeutic effect.
Will a trampoline cause your homeowners insurance rate to go up?
One common misconception about trampolines is that they can render your home "uninsurable" or cause your current homeowners insurance rates to rise. Fortunately, there are a few simple steps you can take to minimize any increases in insurance costs.
First, ensure that your trampoline is firmly anchored to the ground. This can help prevent injuries from a misstep while climbing on or stepping off the trampoline, as well as keep your trampoline from blowing over and causing damage to someone else's property.
Next, install a net with a locking mechanism around the top of your trampoline. This will help you secure the trampoline while you're away at work or on vacation (preventing a lawsuit after a wayward child decides to play on your trampoline and breaks his or her arm) as well as help ensure that neither your child nor any of his or her friends will use the trampoline unsupervised.
Once your insurance provider is certain (by your fulfillment of these safety precautions) that you'll be responsible in the use of your trampoline, it's unlikely your current rates will change.
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