Massage ideas for disabled children who are mobile and have learning difficulties.

This page has been created for our Leopards: children and young people with learning, behavioural and sensory difficulties.

Massage for children with disabilities who are mobile with learning difficulties
  • Child/Caregiver Bonding

Massage offers a lovely opportunity for bonding. Gentle, relaxing touch is a great non-verbal way to communicate tenderness and care, and build the connection between child and caregiver. It promotes secure attachment, releases feel-good hormones and helps our child feel loved and cherished.

  • Wakes up bodies

For children who are not very sensitive (hyposensitive) to touch, massage can help wake up their bodies and muscles – improving coordination and movement skills as their body awareness grows.

  • Reduces Sensitivities

For children who are tactile defensive, massage (if tolerated) can help to desensitise the skin. Firm touch can be preferable to gentle, while oil can make massage more comfortable. If your child doesn’t like hands, you can try using other implements: brushes, rollers or vibration devices, for example.  It is important to respect your child’s boundaries, so if they resist or are unhappy, stop the massage and try again another day.

  • Calming and Regulating

Massage helps regulate the nervous system. For children who are always on the go with lots of energy, massage can be calming, encourage stillness and help with concentration. An active child might not be able to remain still for an entire body massage, but even working on a single limb can be helpful.

  • Heightening Physical Awareness

Communication is really important. If your child can understand language, talk to them throughout the massage, telling them what you are doing. This is a great way to teach them about their bodies and help heighten their awareness of what they are feeling. Better body knowledge helps with movement and coordination, while the loving touch of massage can be helpful for self-esteem.

Here are some great massage activities and ideas to try with your child. 

The idea of learning to massage can be daunting, but there is lots of great information out there to help us get started. 

  • While this introductory video talks about children up to 6 months of age, the principles apply across the board – particularly if your child is not moving very much or struggles to reach gross motor milestones.

  • This video takes you through the whole-body massage with explanations of different techniques. As the masseuse explains, as your child gets older you may only get and arm or a leg in at a time but persevere as they will still get the benefits.

  • If your child is older do feel free to pause the video to make sure you have time to cover the whole body in your massage-going slowly is more beneficial than rushing to keep up.

  • You can also use more age appropriate songs as they get older.

  • This is a simple video showing some calming massage techniques for children who are over-stimulated/ over-excited. This can be lovely before bed or when they need to concentrate. 

  • This video demonstrates hand and lower arm massage techniques. This can be lovely with children with tight hands or with floppy hands.

  • If hands are tight, be careful to stretch slowly as you massage and keep looking in your child’s face to make sure you aren’t causing any discomfort.

Here are a selection of suitable Our Home videos for Leopards

Obstacle Course

This obstacle course is suitable for those children who can crawl along the floor, this includes younger children with Down Syndrome. 

Laser Quest

This video is suitable for mobile children. You can create the laser string quest anywhere in your home and make it as big or small or as easy as you like!

Scavenger Hunt

The scavenger hunt is really simple and easy to set up. It can be adapted to suit any disability and household.

More fun resources for disabled children who are mobile and have learning difficulties

Thank you for visiting Gympanzees’ website. All information provided by Gympanzees is of general nature and for educational / entertainment purposes. It is up to you as the parent or family member to judge what is appropriate and safe for your child. No information provided by Gympanzees should replace any professional information and advice that you have been given and speak to your therapist or doctor if you are unsure of anything. Should you use any of the information provided by Gympanzees, you do so at your own risk and hold Gympanzees harmless from any and all losses, liabilities, injuries or damages resulting from any and all claims.