Kids Safe Swing for Autistic Children with Autism
Autism Can Be A Lonely Place
When a child lives in a bubble with little eye contact with others, as in the case of autism, then the world can seem very lonely. Listen to the music of Purple Ocean who creates this melodrama as a remembrance of watching a girl on a swing from his own childhood. These two elements paired together really make a statement and help us understand the feelings of the child. Unfortunately, the original YouTube video has been removed.
The video below is a replacement of feelings of someone who is alone in the dark, like a lonely child. In a way, the autistic child is living in the night. How can we bring them into the sunshine and the light?
The Lonely World of Autism
Well Coated Swing Chain
Swings Placate Children with Autism
Who Could Ever Imagine?
A recent article in the New York Times brought to our attention the potential hazards of a simple playground recreation for children. We think that children can possibly fall off a swing, or a little kid can walk in front of someone swinging and get hit, but did anyone imagine that the swinging motion itself could cause injury to the eye of a child?
Based upon recent observation of the frequency of autistic children visiting the eye doctor for metal splinters entering the eye, it was discovered that the repetitive motion of swinging can wear away metal fragments that can drop into the eyes of autistic children.
The difference between the behavior of a normal child who jumps on the swing, plays for a short while and then runs around the playground compared to an autistic child who does repetitive motions called 'sims' to self soothe creates this danger.
Like water wearing away stone, the rubbing of the gears causes friction enough to peel away slivers of metal. When I researched the swings, it became apparent that even the plastic coated chains only covered certain areas of the metal, which is safe in other ways that tiny fingers don't get squished or frozen from cold metal.
These metal fragments are probably microscopic or very tiny in size like dust particles or iron filings. This was why it was so difficult to realize how these foreign bodies entered the eye.
As a solution, perhaps the gears can be oiled frequently or the plastic coating can cover the areas that are rubbing together. I'm not sure whether the supervising parent can ask the child to move off the swing every so often to reduce the chance of this occurrence. Or perhaps the child can wear a hat. It says in the article that children should wear goggles as a solution. Dr Bonsall's other solution was to wrap the mechanism in material to catch the particles.
Just like kids wear helmets to ride a bicycle, now they will wear goggles in the playground. I don't know if these children will be cooperative, since many of them are sensitive to having fabrics and other coverings on their skin. I'm just glad that the cause of the injuries has been found.
It took some questioning and investigation to uncover what was happening in all cases. In one case described in the article, a 10-year-old boy came to an eye clinic at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital with something lodged in his right eye, and the doctor, who had treated him once before for a similar problem, realized this was the child’s fourth such incident in three years.
Dr. Dean J. Bonsall, an associate professor of clinical ophthalmology at the University of Cincinnati searched for a common cause. “So I asked the mother to recall the child’s activities from the time that he wakes up to the time that he goes to bed.” He discovered the child spent hours each day on a homemade swing.
All Children Love To Swing
The difference between normal childhood behavior and what is happening in these cases is the time spent in just one repetitive activity. On one scale of the spectrum is ADHD with hyperactivity disorder when the child cannot sit still for any length of time as compared with Autism when the child lives in his own world and has little to no contact. Rocking, movement, swaying and swinging are ways to feel safe in a scary world.
What caught my eye in the video below was the soundlessness of it all, depicting to me the quiet and separation of the child to his world. Actually, this is most likely not an autistic child, but an artistic expression of a day in the life of a child.
Twirling On A Swing
Observe the Action of the Swing
The original video posted here has been removed, In its place is a child 'twirling' on a swing made with a natural string material, rather than metal which could splinter and cause medical issues.
I do believe that spinning and twirling are both helpful to mental development, balancing, stability and eliminating potential vertigo as the inner ears are exercised as if at astronomy camp. In addition, it appears 'twirling' may encourage looking 'down' rather than looking 'up.'
I have lost the video that specifically illustrates the action of the swing of metal grinding upon metal. This can be seen when the plastic chain covering only goes up halfway. Kids have such a great time swinging. Do you remember looking up to the sky when you swung, as a kid?
As a side note: Silica is a homeopathic remedy used to help the body expel foreign materials such as splinters.
Notice the Coated Chain
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