Line Dances

Guest Authored By Monal P, MS, OTR/L

Blue Bird Day and kid swinging

We live in a world of straight movement: your car rolling down the highway, your daily train commute to work, the “line dances” you grew up with! An interweaving net of roads that connect your house to Blue Bird Day and the blur of images that zoom past you on a weekly basis.  This blog talks about the importance of linear movement and how to support your child at home or in the community with this movement.

Movement starts in utero and continues throughout the lifespan. While most people have a concept of the “five senses”, your body also has a sense to help understand movement: your vestibular system!  

The vestibular system, housed in the inner ear, allows for your body to detect movement and understand spatial orientation of your body.  And like magic, your vestibular system helps to keep you balanced; your head on top of your hips and your hips on top of your feet. 

Imagine if you couldn’t easily figure out where you were moving, how you were moving, how fast you were going – your world, with its cars and trains and dances, would be hard to live in! 

Blue Bird Day therapists use linear movement as a modality to help a child calm or orient to their environment. Since linear movement is the precursor to more complex, dynamic, and sequential movement, great emphasis is placed on ensuring that children meet the milestones of processing linear movement efficiently.  Tolerating linear movement, changing body positions and weight-shifting during linear movement to maintain balance, and initiating linear movement out of joy are milestones that are encouraged at BBD! 

Since we move in straight lines everywhere, here are ideas to do at home or within your community: 

  • Visit the local park: swings and slides are great equipment for moving through space.
  • Pull/push your child through your home while seated in a basket, in a box, or on a blanket – play with different speeds too! 
  • Carts at your local grocery store are a great way to incorporate linear movement into a busy environment.
  • Wrap your child in a blanket and have another adult help you to swing them back and forth like a hammock.