Universal Exercise Unit
The universal exercise unit, or cage, is utilized in two main ways: the Monkey cage and the Spider cage.
The monkey cage is used for isolating and strengthening specific muscles necessary to produce functional movement. It uses a system of pulleys and weights to target specific muscles. It allows the therapist to facilitate strengthening of weak muscles while preventing compensatory use of other muscles. It is also used for vestibular activities such as "flying" and swinging. It can be used with a treadmill for unweighted gait training. The monkey cage is a very effective tool for teaching children how to activate and use their muscles for functional activities such as sitting, changing positions, and walking.
The spider cage uses a belt and bungee cords to provide dynamic assistance to maintain an upright position. The spider cage can allow a child to stand without a therapist's assistance while allowing freedom of movement and facilitating balance. It is useful for learning to transition between positions, to acquire the weight-shifts needed for functional movement, and to improve proprioception and arousal with jumping. The spider cage can also be used with the pulleys and weights of the monkey cage to perform strengthening exercises in more challenging positions. The goals of the exercises performed in the spider are to improve functional skills such as sitting, crawling, and walking. It also helps to improve balance, coordination, and sensory-motor integration. The ultimate goal of the spider cage is to promote independent movement.