The Centre for Autism and Special pedagogy is a centre and residence for mentally challenged people
The chair was tested on 2 wards, approx. 10 days at each one. Each ward has 4 residents. There were 3 residents in particular who really benefited from using the rocking chair. These three residents are very different. Here is a description of the positive effects.
One resident, a 53 –year-old man with an over-stimulated nervous system, regularly uses the chair. His concentration ability is severely compromised with an outward reaction that follows when overstimulation is brought on by the slightest thing. The man’s nervous system has broken down. It is therefore very hard day to day to find low arousal for this man as his nerve cells always tell him to react to everything. Any manual handling is very hard for this resident. The staff were therefore surprised that the resident was able to spend 20 minutes in the rocking chair.
This man usually listens to a lot of rhythmic music, especially Kim Larsen, probably because the beat is one that his nervous system can follow. However, in the rocking chair he wanted to listen to Niels Eje, which is very calming.
Another resident, a 66-year-old man, severely mentally challenged, was also a regular user of the rocking chair. The man is often moody, becomes sad and displays anger towards the other residents if they make loud noises and if attention isn't on him. He also has a tendency towards self-harming behaviour. This resident is also receiving psychomotor treatment and is aware of the feeling of low arousal in his body. Staff experienced that he would become very calm in the rocking chair, and would become almost indulgent of other residents.
When he sat in the chair and experienced the effects of the rocking, his nervous system independently found parasympathicus and remained in low arousal after 20 minutes. This resident independently asks to leave the chair when he is ready. And a few hours later he is easier to motivate to do activities and in a better mood. You cannot underestimate how a person in a better mood will get a more positive response from the world around them. And that’s a good way to start.
The third resident is a young 36 year-old man with autism. He is very restless with extremely low concentration levels, also related to anxiety. This young man was able to sit in the chair for 15-20 minutes.
This resident also works with a psychomotor therapist and recognises low arousal, but with the rocking chair can find calm and experience higher levels of concentration in subsequent tasks.
We have been delighted with the offer to try out the chair. It has also triggered many professional discussions.
Connie Hansen, Psychomotor therapist
and the staff at the Centre for Autism, Solisterne CAS 2.0 and 2.1.