Walking Through the Tunnel & Sensory Processing Disorders

For kids with sensory processing disorders, the world can be and often is overwhelming. Finding activities that work for their needs while strengthening necessary skills is a challenge that must be individualized for every client, but in the end, the benefits make it all worth it. Using a Lycra tunnel is one of the many methods we use to incorporate imaginative play to help kids with autism and sensory processing disorders strengthen skills that make them feel more comfortable with the world around them.

Our Lycra tunnel is eight feet long and constructed with spandex and mesh material to offer different levels of resistance. The stretchiness and varying textures make it a great environment for strengthening muscles and calming kids down when they need it. Most children usually start by crawling through the tunnel, getting used to the space and figuring out how their body moves through it, and then the move on to walking through the tunnel or pushing a large exercise ball while crawling. Core muscles and muscles in the extremities are strengthened through this type of play, with the added bonus of encouraging motor planning as body awareness improves. The physical challenge is nicely matched with opportunity for social interaction as kids crawl through the tunnel together, and imaginative play as they construct their own ideas about the tunnel.

When using therapeutic play for sensory processing disorders and autism, it’s huge to be able to find an activity that helps a child feel comfortable and calm while learning to better navigate the world around them. Sensory processing issues make it harder for a person to work with the information they gain from their senses, including proprioception, or body awareness. Many kids with these issues may need help with coordinating their senses in a way that makes sense for them, whether they’re easily overstimulated or they don’t receive enough sensory information. Without therapy, these disorders can lead to a great deal of frustration, communication issues, and learning difficulties.

Using a Lycra tunnel for play helps focus many of these sensory issues so children can learn to recognize and organize them better. Additionally, being around other children during play helps with socialization, learning to communicate, and making friends. Hyper or hyposensitive kids often need healthy outlets for play and socialization that allows them to learn about the space they occupy in the world and how to interact with others. This is exactly the type of therapeutic play that allows for that in a safe and understanding environment.

Therapeutic Playground is run by a fantastic diverse team of therapists and special education professionals. We partner with parents, teachers, therapists, pediatricians, and other professionals to create a fun, creative environment that encourages a variety of helpful skills. Our custom sensory playground offers swings, a slide, a zipline, two climbing walls, and much more. Every client we meet is considered on an individual basis so we can come up with a curriculum that suits their unique needs. We also offer social skills groups, play dates & camps, and lots more. Reach out to us anytime to learn more!

Britta Foster