The calming effect of a swing

06/08/2020

After a two year quest one of Avenues London services has finally been able to have an adapted garden swing fitted for one of the people they support and it was well worth the wait.

The whole family turned out to see Margaret, who is supported by Avenues London, debut on her new swing:

"Margaret's first time using her swing was a great success and not only did she get to go on the swing for the first time but her uncle, auntie, brother and sister-in-law all came to see her using it. The day was even more special as they haven’t seen her since the lockdown." said Service Manager Anita Lawrence.

            Margaret enjoying the swing

Service Manager Anita searched across the UK for a company that could make a swing for Margaret eventually finding a manufacturer in Wales.

 "The company travel the whole of the UK fitting wheelchair accessible playground equipment in parks, schools and of course privately like we have. It took a lot of research to find them! But it's so clever and extremely safe once the wheelchair is in." said Anita.

The positive effects of the swing on Margaret’s wellbeing were clear for all to see:

 "Margaret usually rocks quite vigorously at all times in her wheelchair and often they break. Everyone that was watching her said they had never seen her so calm and her brother said ‘I have never seen you so still in all of my life.’" said Anita.

According to Avenues Practice Development Lead Matthew Gibb the swinging action can be very beneficial for people with learning disabilities from a sensory point of view:

"Some of the people we support have high level sensory needs, varying with each individual.  For example some people will seek certain stimulation, such as rocking,  that makes them feel good or they find helpful, others may avoid this.  By understanding people’s likes and needs we can find safe ways for them to meet these needs . For some, the sensory feedback gained from swinging is really important to them, often helping them to feel calm and grounded. It’s also fun!"

Those who know Margaret well at the service were touched by her reaction "Margaret is non-verbal and her facial expressions show pure content and satisfaction” said Anita

The swing was funded through family inheritance. According to Anita “Her family said it was the best way they could imagine to spend her inheritance from her mum and her mum would have loved seeing her using it!”

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