How We Use Our Rock Wall For Therapy
Hello! I’m going to start telling you about some of the wonderful items we have in our gyms. One item you’re sure to notice is our rock wall! We have rock walls in all our locations. We use these walls for so many different things! Our occupational, speech and physical therapists all use the rock wall, making it a great multi-disciplinary tool.
The most obvious use of the rock wall is for motor planning and climbing. We have different rocks because we want the kiddos to be able to plan out how they’re going to move themselves up. Sometimes they’ll be nervous about using a small rock. Sometimes they’ll worry about how to put their toes into the small rock, and might decide they feel more comfortable using a larger rock.
We don’t start by telling the kiddos, “OK, go climb the rock wall.” We usually start out by sequencing the activity for them. When they are on the wall and they’re stuck, saying “I don’t know what to do!” we will stand beside them and say “Okay, put this hand here and this foot there.”
Climbing is an alternating movement of hands and feet, and of both sides of the body. There’s a strong motor climbing component. There’s also a strong strength component. You have to have a pretty good amount of core strength in order to climb the wall. You have to be able to incorporate using your hands and feet together. The walls are 12 feet high and 8 feet across, so there’s plenty of room to climb and they can even maneuver across it as well as up and down. Sometimes we have our little guys climb just halfway up.
You might notice that up at the top we have placed some larger handles. We want them to have more security up at the top because once they’re up there, we often ask them to do things. Sometimes we hide objects up there and ask them to find them.
We might have them use sticky letters up there to spell their name. Or, we might ask them to spell a girl’s name that starts with an “S,” or an animal’s name that starts with a “C.” To do these things they have to carry the letters up with them, so they have to figure out how to do that, and how to prop themselves up on the wall and release a hand to be able to put the letters in place. They have to use their problem-solving skills to figure out how to climb and hold the letters at the same time. As you can see, this is a great activity to work on multiple skills!
We also use the wall for a proprioceptive component as many of our kids jump off the wall. We ask some kids to plan their way down, and some we ask them to jump.
Plan Designed By Our Therapists
I can give you lots of ideas and examples about how we use the things in our gym, but it’s the therapists who are the really creative ones. They come up with ideas for using this equipment that is specifically geared to your child’s needs, abilities and level of interest. What works for one kiddo will not work for another. If you have any questions about how we might use our rock wall to help your child, give us a call or come in! We’d love to talk to you!