Do you struggle with sitting still? Movement can help students learn better, making flexible classroom seating an essential. There’s an incredible range of alternative seating options, such aswiggle seats,wobble stools, seatcushions andball chairs. How do you choose the right option for your students?


The first step is to identify their learning needs. Does your child have ADHD or low muscle tone? Are they a sensory seeker or sensory avoider? If you’re not sure, consult with an occupational therapist or physical therapist for guidance.


Next, make sure that your classroom goals align with the students’ sensory needs. For example, if your goal is stable seating and the child is a sensory seeker, then you may be fighting a losing battle. Perhaps a standing solution or wobble seat would be a better fit. Alternatively, if you want a ball chair for active classroom work and your students are sensory over-responders, they may experience an increase in anxiety as the unstable surface will make them feel gravitationally insecure.


A good rule of thumb is to evaluate the child and see if they gravitate towards their seat, the rug or a cushion. This will help you decide what type of flexible seating can work best for each student. Keep in mind that an under-responsive child might prefer abeanbag and a highly active student may like a bouncy chair, but those are not necessarily the best options to encourage their learning.


Keep reading to see how we’ve broken down the various options of alternative seating available!

Comfort

Using foam or soft pellets is a great way to create a comfortable seating choice. Foam tends to hug the bottom to the ground and can be a great tool for anxious learners. The soft pellets conform to the shape of your body so that it feels as though you are sinking into a soft cocoon.Beanbag chairs andpillow-like cushions are perfect for kids who like this feeling.

Move in Place

Seats that encourage fidgeting in place are wonderful ways to encourage alertness. Under-responsive learners and those with low muscle tone often benefit from the way the gentle movement encourages muscle contraction and a higher state of muscle awareness. Opt for aFloor Chair, which has a seat cushion and the ability to rock yourself.

Compression

Students with ADHD or sensory integration disorders may benefit from a seat that holds their body. ASqueezie Seat orCozy Canoe offers a tight hug feeling for kids that sends soothing signals throughout their body. Alternatively, you can combine a cozy cushion with alap pad for a makeshift compression seat.

Stability

Sometimes a plastic children’s chair can provide stability and muscle awareness. A firm surface, like acube chair, can also be used for a more grounded effect. Even a hard seat can be flexible and provides security that some kids with developmental disabilities benefit from. For a softer, yet still supportive, option try theSensaSoft™ Cozy Chair.

Energize with Swings

Swings provides just the right amount of vestibular input to increase alertness. They allow for a change from sitting at a desk or in front of a computer and are a secure place for kids to calm and re-energize. Make sure that there is enough space in your classroom to hang a swing. If you can’t hang it from the ceiling, then aswing frame might work.

Just Remember…

Whichever seat you choose, remember to stand up periodically! Movement breaks help promote learning and increase blood flow throughout the body. For more help with flexible classroom seating emailcustomercare@funandfunction.com. Download our popularActivity Guide with 10 Minute Strategies for more attention boosting ideas! 

This post was originally posted on 03/05/2018 by . It was updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness on 11/2021