Friday, November 24, 2017

Flexible seating in the Special education classroom




Ever been to a professional development and after sitting and listening for an hour you just need to move?  So you cross and uncross your legs, tap your pen, then get up and go use the bathroom because "Hey we are adults and we don't need to ask to use the bathroom".  Well, guess what?  Our students need that movement also.  Studies have shown that students focus more on instruction when they have opportunities to move and sit in a position that is comfortable for them.   As their teachers, we need to help these little people find the best learning position for them.  The best way to do this is to offer a variety of options.  

Set Boundaries/Guidelines:

Before I let me students try different seating options, I set the guidelines or boundaries for the option.  If you don't follow this, you don't get to use.  Period.  For example, if sitting on a wobble stool students are not to stand on the stool or spin around.  If using a wiggle seat, they are not to poke it with a pencil.  You have to set up what works for you.  All teachers have different expectations and personal limitations.

Types of Seating:

Wobble Stools:

These have been a hit with my 4-year-old students through adults. (Yes, I sit on them).  Students love to sit on them while working on puzzles, doing word work, in small groups etc.

Stools:

Really any type of stool is awesome.  One of the teachers I worked with last year wrote a grant to get 5 stools that were used at one of the small group tables.  The kids loved the option. 

Standing:

Yes, standing needs to be an option.  Some kids just need to be able to stand.  Sometimes I will give boundaries on the floor in the form of a tape box that they need to stay in when they stand.  You can also use a standing desk or take a regular desk and adjust the legs as high as they will go.

Sitting on the floor:

Sitting on the floor is for more than story time.  You can lower a table and students can sit on the floor and still work.  They could also use lap desks or clipboards. 

Wiggle Seats (AKA Stability/Exercise disk):

These awesome seats were originally designed for exercise, but the kids love them.  I let my students use them in chairs and on the floor.  You can find a variety of types with different types of textures.  Change how much air in each one to meet each child's needs.  If you do look to buy these lookup stability disk or exercise disk as those prices are often cheaper. 


There are so many more options and this is just scratching the surface.  I hope this gets you thinking about how you can offer other seating options to your students.  I would love to hear, in the comments, how you use flexible seating in your classroom. 




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