As we prepare for back to school and setting our young people up for a successful school year, I thought it was an excellent time to highlight sensory chairs and active seating.
Getting neurotypical kids ready to learn can be challenging enough sometimes. But throw in neurodiverse kids with sensory needs – ADHD, Autism, sensory processing disorder, ADD, ODD and many more, then learning can be an extra big challenge.
What is a sensory chair or active seating?
It’s a specially designed chair, stool, cushion, chair band etc designed to support neurodiverse children and adults to focus while at school, studying at home or working.
Sitting still can be tricky, as it is, and kids spend so much time sitting on the mat or in chairs that a sensory chair or cushion can be an excellent way for them to still be able to move or fidget constructively, and that doesn’t disturb the rest of the class. And above all else, your child will be comfortable. And if you’re comfortable, that’s the first step towards staying focused, isn’t it?
How does active seating in the classrooms help?
Having to sit for long periods of time, or even short periods, for that matter, can be challenging for neurodiverse kids but being able to sit in the comfort of a sensory seat or on a sensory cushion or use a foot roller or movement chair band helps their mind as well as their body. And is a fabulous way to help your child’s joints stay limber and continual movement is a great physical activity.
What types of active seating options are there?
There are many sensory and active seating options available. A few of the top ones are:
- wriggle cushion
- wriggle stool
- gym ball
- chair bands
- peanut ball
- tactile cushion
- foot roller
- tactile foot and support wedge
- Hart wobble cushion
And what works for you or your child will all depend on you or their individual needs. Some kids are hypersensitive to particular movements, whereas others may need that specific movement to thrive.
When looking at purchasing the right sensory chair, it’s best to think about what your goals are for it. And speak to your child’s OT for their input too. But a couple of points to consider are:
- do you want to increase your child’s focus
- provide an outlet for fidgeting
- calm and soothe your child to prevent or defuse a behavioural situation
- or a combination of all of those
Think about what support you want from your sensory seat or cushion.
Other benefits of active seating
Do you realise that a sensory chair or cushion allows your child to move and helps them to focus or feel safe depending on their sensory needs?
A sensory chair also has the wonderful benefits of:
- improving posture
- working those core muscles
- improving balance
Need help choosing the best sensory chair or active seat?