My autistic son would often seek out sensory input.
He would want to rock & swing but would not want to go outside.
My son would not want to wear shoes, socks coats, sunscreen or sometimes any clothes but would want to stay out on the swings all day.
At the time when I first created this we lived in a Flat and didn’t have access to our own garden either.
Some indoor swings require drilling into ceilings and professional fitters, as someone who is in rented accommodation this simply isn’t a option, in flats its certainly not an option. I would also note nearly all of these other ” sensory swings” also get very pricey and unaffordable often going into the hundreds.
- Indoor sensory swing that has minimal impact your home, where your home can easily revert it to it prior state.
- To give said person an opportunity to regulate in a safe space - If child refuses to wear adequate clothes or sunscreen the safest place to safe guard said child would be indoors unless your have your own well shielded back garden. Also indoors would be more appropriate if the child refuses to go outside - this is mainly because outside can cause sensory overload for some people.
- Something that can be quickly moved out of harms way for when child is unsupervised in said area.This item should always be used with adult supervision when in use, and should always be removed/taken down when not in use. - The importance of making this stow away easily is vital.
How do I make it?
- The total cost of this item comes in under £30, The items you will need are
- a clear doorway (location for your indoor swing)
- 1 x Screwdriver
- 1 x Pull up bar with a minimum of a maximum weight of 100Kg -15.74 Stone that screws into your door frame.
Important notice: Please do not buy the non fixed over the door pull up bars, these have been tested - not with my child don't worry but they are not safe as they come free of the door. Please buy the pull up bars that have a 2 disk attachments either end of the bar , in between door frame. These are the safest and easiest to stow away.
I got mine off Ebay for £7.99 including all the fittings.
- 1 x hammock seat I have made these myself in the past, but i honestly find it cheaper and safer to buy them now.
(its easily modified with additional padding around the outsides of the seat if your child decides to rock horizontally .)
A basic hammock seat off Ebay cost me £16.99
- You will also need some Strong Cotton Rope suitable for load bearing and its important to learn how to do a variety of weight bearing knots - I would say this is the hardest part of the entire project especially for those who have no prior knowledge of boating/ rock climbing knots. Cotton is used for its anti slip qualities- holds knots longer. (the knots should always be checked that they are secure before use. I've never had my knots come undone when using strong cotton rope.
I would always recommend practicing and testing your knots with heavy weight or better yet your own (if possible) before allowing your child to play on it. Set it low to the ground if you test it. Again I've had no problems with mine at all but it is better to air on the safe side of caution. I've made these many time for many people with no problems.
Some of the best knots for making the load bearing attachment to the pull up bar is
This is how you will attach the rope to the pull up bar at both ends of the pull up bar.
They should not be attached to one another, but two completely separate knots.
Important notice: if you make this swing and have the load bearing rope knots in the center of the pull up bar ,whilst it might be fine it has much better structural integrity to spread the weight over the entire bar but placing the knots at either end.
You can create the length of the swing with the knot above (i will record a video showing you soon)
Getting the seat securely attached is very important, IF YOU CANT DO ROPE KNOTS you could use rock climbers carabiners and suitable chain- I'm aware you can get plastic coated chains , although it does bring up the price abit more.It is an option for you if you don't feel safe doing secure rope knots.
- This can be modified optionally with a UIAA Certified Micro Pulley to adjust the height of the seat (for getting in and out lowering the seat directly onto the floor, Then siting the user in it and then lifting them gently up to a suitable height - if your child has low mobility please be cautious how high you lift the seat given its a hammock seat and has no 5 point harness etc. these seats don't benefit from harnesses because of the nature of hammock seats they just turn inside out again this has been tested.)
A pulley can also be useful for adjusting the height for different users. I found one online for £12.95
It can also be modified with a foot hold to keep the seat steady handsfree. This is two rope loops either side of the seat that lower to the floor, the carer can place their feet inside the loops- which will pull the seat taught and stop the hammock seat moving about so much so you can lower the user into the swing. please be careful when stepping out of the foot holds use the door frame for support. the size of these loops- foot holds will depend on the height you set the swing. you should be able to step on them and make the seat taught but also having your feet comfortably flat on the floor.
- Its made from easily sourced items.
- Easily assembled by others.
- This fulfills his needs for sensory input and regulation.
- Gives the user independence to regulate themselves whenever but offers the carer peace of mind by choosing it availability to them.
(So it is accessed only when they're available to supervise. )