Who doesn’t remember spending endless hours on the monkey bars at school? Honestly, I don’t remember a day in my primary years when I didn’t swing from them; ’round the world’ flips off the monkey bars were a competitive sport when I was 8!
But where have they gone? Australian playgrounds are now populated with brightly colored, twisted versions of the iconic monkey bar, these new ones having rungs too fat for a child’s hand to swing from. I don’t remember seeing more than one or two of the traditional straight-framed ones in years.
It turns out that swinging from the monkey bars is actually a valid form of therapy! While swinging from one rung to the next, the brain works left then right in a perfect alternating pattern, which – from what I have learned – is an important part of growing up – neurologically.
The Institutes For The Achievement Of Human Potential describes swinging from the monkey bars as ‘brachiation’.
“Brachiation is the ability to swing from rung to rung on an overhead ladder. This activity is extremely easy for a very young child and extremely difficult for an adult. It is a very valuable ability because it helps the child to create a bigger, better chest and as a result, he breathes more deeply, regularly and maturely.” – Glenn Doman & Janet Doman, from the book ‘How Smart Is Your Baby’.
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For any child, brachiation is beneficial but for a child with ‘special needs it can have extraordinary benefits as discussed in the books What To Do About Your Brain-Injured Child’ by Glenn Doman and ‘How to Teach Your Baby To Be Physically Superb‘ by Glenn Doman, Douglas Doman & Bruce Hagy.
(‘Don’t be put off by the reference to ‘babies’ in these book titles, these methods are absolutely relevant for a child up to 6 years old – even older if the child has a neurological challenge.)
We are proud to have been authorized by The Institutes For The Achievement Of Human Potential® to build Brachiation Ladders for families in Australia, and we now receive inquiries from all over the world. Look out for a flat-pack version designed specifically with international shipping in mind, on its way in early 2014.
The goal of our company is to help other families access resources for their children affordably because we know how expensive it can be to do the kinds of things we have done for our son. Our price for these ladders is therefore very reasonable – and hasn’t gone up since June 2011!
Pictured here is our little man swinging on the first Brachiation ladder my clever husband made for a family here in Melbourne. The ladders are designed to be adjustable, so you can begin with your little child swinging while you hold him, and then once he or she has grown, you can lower the ladder to the ground so he can access it himself.
Joseph builds them exactly to the Institutes’ specifications and they are quite attractive in fact!
On the Grow Foundation website, we’ve published a success story about a girl who has been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder & Developmental Delay. Her family purchased a Brachiation Ladder and over the following 8 months, Allyssa achieved profound results. Her parents believe the Ladder helped her enormously.
You can also see Gryffin swinging on his in our video of G at 6 years of age.
Several families have successfully had their Brachiation Ladders funded through better Start and other disability funding schemes. One Mum shared her experiences with us for the benefit of others.
A family in Canberra recently purchased a Ladder for their child and had it sent by a transport company that charged a very reasonable rate. In fact, the quote from this company was less than half what we were quoted elsewhere…