OTFC’s Top Resources – Part 8

This week we are revisiting our favourite resources within the OTFC clinic. Just about every OT clinic would have at least one of these as they are such a useful and versatile piece of equipment. We are talking about the Scooter Board!

In one of our earlier posts Tummy Time = Totally Terrific we discussed the benefits of laying prone and how undertaking activities on your tummy can support postural control and core strength for children and adults. Below we will discuss how the scooter board can support children’s core and postural control.

There are a number of ways to undertake activities on the scooter board:

  1. Sitting on the board
  2. Laying on tummy (prone)
  3. Laying on back (supine)
  4. Kneeling

*Note – DO NOT stand on a scooter board, stationary or moving, it is not designed for this.

Activities using a Scooter Board can work on gross motor skills such as:

  • Upper Limb Strength and Endurance – upper limb strength and shoulder stability are key areas of focus when on the scooter board. Especially when laying on the tummy, pulling along with arms requires a good deal of strength and if for sustained period, endurance.
  • Postural and Core strength – the muscles that are required for sitting in class (mat or table) are predominantly the tummy, back and neck muscles. These postural muscles can often be compromised in children with low muscle tone. Low postural control and low core strength can be worked on by engaging in activities that require a child to lay prone on the scooter board. More over, ensuring the legs are straight, but slightly raised from the board surface ensures core strength is targeted.
  • Sensory Regulation (Vestibular and Proprioception) – These are often overlooked, but make up an important part of skills that can be addressed when on the scooter board. Movement on the board, linear or circular, targets the sensations of the vestibular system and requires appropriate processing of vestibular information. The further activation of the vestibular system in turn stimulates muscles that support posture and balance (important in supporting equilibrium, as determined by the vestibular system). This can be best observed when laying prone and supine. The Proprioceptive System (pressure through the muscles and joints), is heavily worked when undertaking scooter board tasks, as many upper limb muscles and joints are continuously activated to move the board. This pressure, when provided for a period of time, can provide the nervous system with a ‘calming’ sensory input, supporting attention and arousal.
  • Motor Planning – The fluency of the movement on the board is important when using a scooter board. Being able to know the movement pattern of pulling the arms our in front, then sliding them to the side, propelling you forward, is a more complex motor plan than it appears. Fluent movement can allow a child to navigate an obstacle course easier, move faster on the board and be able to tackle multiple steps in an activity (e.g. pick up a beanbag and throw, then keep moving on the scooter board).
  • Bilateral Coordination – As moving on the scooter board requires both sides of the body to propel forwards, the scooter board is an excellent tool for working on strengthening both ides of the body and supporting foundation skills of bilateral coordination. It encourages both sides to be used together, at the same time, which also requires a deal of strength, motor planing and movement fluency.
  • Body Awareness – Knowing where someone is in space, in relation to things around them, is an important skill for development. Many children find this tricky, and can appear ‘clumsy’. This body awareness can be developed further through activities on the scooter board, particularly when laying prone and having to navigate around obstacles.

 Some activities to try:

  • Scooter Bowling: Always a favourite. Set ups some skittles down one end of a room, then have the child ride the scooter board into the skittles to knock them over. .
  • Obstacle course: set up obstacles for the child to scoot around, if they hit the obstacles they must return to the start!. This activity really works on body awareness, as knowing where the body is without looking, is fundamental in navigating through the obstacles.
  • Tow the car: Get the child to sit cross legged on the scooter, then ask them to hold a rope or hula hoop. Children have to sit up, without falling off, while they are pulled around. Excellent for postural control, endurance and body awareness.
  • Puzzle or Game Fetch: Have puzzle pieces or construction game placed at one end of the room, and the puzzle board, design to copy, at the other end.
  • Limbo Board: Ride underneath a rope held taut, 60 cm above the ground, then progressively lower it.
  • Race Track: set up a figure 0 around a simple object or figure 8 around two objects.  You can draw letters, numbers, or patterns on the floor and encourage the children to follow the sequence around the course. Do a few times and add in a timer to work on endurance and strength.

* If you have a small ramp (make sure it is a safe decline and can weight bear at least 80 kg) then you can place skittles at the end, or cones to navigate around, and encourage the child to ride down, stop and move around the course.

As you can see, the scooter board is such a versatile and effective resource to have in you home, school or clinic! Scooter boards can be found in many places. Check your local sports store , children’s store and of course there are many online suppliers.

Happy Scooting!


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