How to Make a Spinning Board for Sensory Integration

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Spinning boards may help improve sensory inputs in individuals with sensory processing disorder.
Spinning boards may help improve sensory inputs in individuals with sensory processing disorder. (Image: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Sensory integration is a neurological process that organizes multiple sensations or sensory inputs in the body and helps the brain convert them into functional outputs. Sensory integration, or processing, dysfunction occurs when the brain and body do not respond appropriately to sensory stimulus. The exact cause of sensory integration dysfunction is unknown although genetics and traumatic birth experiences may play a role. Treatment generally involves occupational therapy with tools, such as a platform swing, climbing ladder or a spinning board, which helps stimulate the vestibular or inner ear sense that links the individual’s movements to space and gravity.

Things You'll Need

  • 3/4-inch-thick wood board
  • 5/8-inch screws
  • Lazy Susan hardware
  • Saw
  • Measuring tape
  • Hot glue gun
  • 1 lb. of fiberfill
  • 1 yd. of cloth
  • Finishing nails
  • Sandpaper
  • Hammer

Decide on the type of wood you want to use for your spinning board. Avoid particleboard or plywood that lacks the strength of natural wood. You may also want to choose a wood board that has not been treated with chemicals as some individuals with sensory processing disorders may be sensitive to them. The wood should be about 3/4-inch in thickness.

Cut a rectangular section of board that is 4 feet long by 3 feet wide with a manual or electric saw. You can also purchase a custom-cut piece of wood from your local home improvement store.

Use the remaining piece of wood to cut an octagonal base about 15 inches in diameter. The octagon should have 8 sides at an angle of 22.5 degrees. Mark the dimensions with a measuring tape and protractor before cutting the wood. You can also purchase a custom-cut octagonal piece of wood from your local home improvement store.

Buff both pieces of wood with sandpaper to round off the sharp edges.

Mark the center of the rectangular board by drawing lines from each corner. Place the base hardware for a lazy Susan in the center of the rectangular board and use 5/8-inch screws to mount it in place.

Fix the octagonal board to the other side of the lazy Susan hardware with the 5/8-inch screws and screwdriver. Flip the board over and make sure it spins well.

Add fiberfill in an even layer over the surface of the board and adhere it in place with a hot glue gun.

Cut a piece of cloth with about 4 inches to spare on each side. Place the cloth on top of the fiberfill and flip the board over. Pull the spare cloth on each side to the back of the board and tack it down with finishing nails. Make sure that the cloth doesn’t fray along the sides. Turn the board over and it's ready to use.

Tips & Warnings

  • Always consult a doctor or a therapist for accurate diagnosis and advice before starting any sensory integration disorder treatment.
  • Stop the spinning board at the first sign of nausea or motion sickness.
  • If this therapy is for young children, do not leave them unattended.
  • Use protective gear, such as goggles, while working with the saw and other hand tools.

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