Which children benefit the most from sensory seating?
Sensory seating is designed for children who fidget in the classroom. If they seem to be a “sensory seeker” and move about in their seats, they may be seeking vestibular input. They are using the movement or help them attend and stay focused. Some students need more movement than others. Some students need information from proprioceptive sense – they struggle to know where their body is. They may rock back and forth, constant move or fidget, slump in chair or get up often to talk with the teacher. Students move to stay alert, get organized, regulated and focused.
Sensory cushions or chairs can help in the classroom or while doing homework. It allows them to move in subtle ways but not be distracting or inappropriate during classroom time, mealtime or homework time.
Some options are wobble cusions, Southpaw Zuma Rocker, a one-legged stool or a ball chair.
Wobble cushion is airfilled and can be placed on the student’s chair. Make sure it is having an affect on their regulation and focus. If not, the cushion may not be the answer.
The movement cushion should have enough air in it so that it is unstable when the child sits on it. If it is too deflated, the child will touch the bottom of the cushion when they sit down. If it is over inflated, the cushion will rock side to side like a sea-saw even when no student is sitting on it.
The base of the cushion should be stable, but when seated on the wobble cushion in the classroom the student should be able to move gently as they are seated. The amount of air will also change depending on the student’s size as heavier students will need slightly more air than lighter students.
Make sure the child’s feet touch the ground and they sit back on the chair. Cushion should fit the student and chair as well. Don’t have child use a weighted lap piece or weighted vest – they may fall off chair or struggle with all of the input at one time.
ALWAYS MONITOR THE AFFECTS OF THE SEATING SOLUTION!
- Does the seating improve child’s focus?
- Can the child answer more questions and follow directions better?
- Are they less disruptive when on seating system.
- Do they stay in the seat longer?
DISCONTINUE SEATING IF:
- The student is not listening or completely distracted while on the seat.
- Student fidgets even more?
- Child moves round classroom more?
- Student is not as engaged in classroom activities.