Grant from Guelph Wish Fund for Children brings therapy swing to St. Joe’s

New sensory swing helps children engage in and enjoy speech therapy

News Feb 27, 2020 Guelph Mercury

The big smile on our young patient’s face tells of the joy and fun that the swing can bring to a speech therapy session.

Wee Talk, the Speech Language Pathology program for pre-school aged children at St. Joseph’s Health Centre Guelph, has a new sensory therapy swing thanks to a recent $5,000 grant from the Guelph Wish Fund for Children to the St. Joseph’s Health Centre Foundation Guelph.

Many of the children who come to St. Joseph’s for speech therapy have social communication difficulties that can come with unique sensory needs like the need for movement. Sensory swings provide numerous benefits, including movement, which can help children to focus on their speech therapy activities and maximize the benefit they receive from the program.

“We’ve dreamed of having a therapy swing for a long time because we knew what an enormous difference it would make for the children we serve. We’re so grateful to Guelph Wish Fund for Children for their $5,000 grant to make that dream a reality,” says Barb VanderSluis, clinical lead, Speech Language Pathology, Wee Talk program at St. Joseph’s Health Centre Guelph.

“The swing meets our young clients’ need for movement, and enables our therapists to engage the children in more effective communication strategies. It’s a great therapy tool.”

Before the generous donation enabled St. Joseph’s to purchase the much-needed swing, its speech therapists often enlisted the help of the child’s caregiver or parent to physically swing the child back and forth in a blanket.

The physical demands of swinging a child for a prolonged period of time can be tremendous, which limited the duration of time when a child could benefit from the motion. But with the new swing, children are able to rock, swing or spin as much as they want throughout their appointment.

The swing is already making a difference.

“Using the swing added a lot of fun to Selim’s therapy session. But it’s not just about having fun — the swing also made it one of most successful sessions he’s ever had,” said his mother, Maha, with a smile.