Whether or not misophonia is related to SPD requires more research for definitive answers. However, OTs speculate that a sensory diet, and therefore vestibular input, could be helpful for misophonia sufferers.
SPD, or Sensory Processing Disorder, is a neurophysiological condition in which sensory input from one’s environment or one’s own body is received or interpreted poorly and thus results in inappropriate responses. This condition can affect anyone. It is estimated that 5-16% of children show signs of SPD. Toddlers, adolescents, teens, and adults with SPD struggle with vestibular input. They often seek activities and movement that exercise the vestibular system so as to “feed” their sensory diet and stimulate their inner ear.
An exercise that a lot of children find very stimulating is jumping on the trampoline. This kind of exercise not only benefits those with SPD physically by strengthening muscles and joints, but it has shown to improve social skills in group jumping exercises as well. Because jumping is more than just a one motion, children and adults are given the opportunity to exercise moving patterns and work on praxis challenges. This, in turn, will improve their balance, gross motor coordination, and trunk endurance.
Trampolines help children to understand and fully feel where their bodies are in space. Smaller trampolines especially give a sense of personal space and freedom to use that space how they choose without external disruption, much like their own personal island. This awareness of personal space can boost self-confidence and improve their overall social health. Jumping can also have calming affects for a child who is overly upset or angry. Repetitive motions are often very soothing and by honing their attention towards jumping, an opportunity arises for them to step away from negative emotions and relax.
Organized sports such as kickball or tag, for example, can sometimes be an overload or even not stimulating enough for children with Sensory Processing Disorder. It is typical for persons with SPD to be unmotivated to play those sorts of games. This is where trampoline’s shine. Children can express themselves freely in the comfort and safety of their aforementioned personal islands. They do as they please, move how they want, on their oases.
Trampolines are an excellent outdoor and in-home activity. Small, personal trampolines can be purchased to easily fit in any home or apartment. Owning an indoor trampoline negates the issue of bad weather so that children can jump all year long. Some trampolines are even made with bungee cords instead of metal springs. Bungee trampolines are relatively silent and much less disruptive. In this case, noise becomes less of a factor and early morning or late night jumping is no longer a problem. Morning jumping, especially, has been found to provoke so much mental stimulation and arousal that children and adults with SPD are able to maintain more focus later in the day because of it.
Any safe activity that a child finds fun and engaging is going to benefit them in some way, whether it’s physically, socially, or mentally. Trampolines have so many great benefits. They strengthen muscles and joints, improve balance and coordination, and provide an outlet for emotions. Most importantly, trampolines can provide a sense of comfort and a source of fun and stimulation for children of all ages with SPD.