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Stability Ball Exercises for Developmentally Delayed Teens

By Kristen Berry ; Updated September 26, 2017
The use of stability ball exercises originated in the 1960s for use with physical therapy patients.

Stability ball exercises are structured to increase your teen's core strength and proprioception (balance and agility). Developmentally delayed teens can benefit from stability ball exercises not only physically, but also mentally, as focused exercises encourage concentration. According to the better living guide, Gaiam Life, the use of a stability ball can even improve your teen's ability to focus in school. A variety of stability ball exercise tailored for use with your developmentally delayed teen can be the start to a fun and easy fitness plan with multiple health benefits.

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Teens with special learning needs such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder can sit on a stability ball during focused activities such as studying or writing. According to the American Journal of Occupational Therapy, students with ADHD using a stability ball can promote mental concentration and improved ability to focus on producing legible words during writing activities. Teens can try this exercise at home by sitting on a stability ball while watching television or completing homework assignments. The stability ball requires your teen's attention to stay balanced on the ball, which, in turn, may reduce his compulsion to fidget or become distracted.

Push and Pull

A push and pull exercise with a stability ball can develop an improved sense of equilibrium for your teen. For example, sitting on the floor, pushing a stability ball away and pulling it back before it travels out of reach, produces a heightened sense of awareness in your teen's equilibrium. According to Mine Uyanik at Hacettepe University in Turkey, the push-pull exercise develops improved equilibrium on steeper surfaces such as stairs and ramps.

Overhead Throw

Have your teen use an overhead throw to launch a stability ball at specific objects. For example, set up some plastic bottles of various sizes in a horizontal row and have your teen perform two or three overhead throws to increase core strength, visual focus and balance. According to Recreation Therapy, you can make this exercise more challenging by placing the plastic bottles farther away with each conquered exercise interval.


Occupational therapists at the Therapy Fun Zone say children with poor oral motor skills including eating and chewing can improve their abilities with repetitive bouncing exercises on a stability ball. The exercise stimulates muscle co-contractions, which increase trunk strength, shoulder stability, and head and neck control. People often stabilize with their jaw, which increases jaw and oral strength and feeding/eating ability. The bouncing exercise involves sitting on a stability ball and bouncing up and down repeatedly in a safe environment, such as an open, soft lawn or carpeted play room.

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About the Author

Based in Atlanta, Kristen Noelle has been writing since 2007. Her work has appeared in AOL News, "Mothering Magazine," "Maui News," "Christian Science Monitor," "Forsyth County News" and the "Forsyth Herald." Noelle studies comparative literature at the University of Georgia.

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