Help me give my students a flexible seating classroom. Students with disabilities often wiggle, squirm, and can't sit still. Providing flexible seating where students can move, bounce, stand, wiggle, etc. would be a dream come true.
"I get that chair!" I have an extra office chair (comfy material and equipped with wheels!) in my classroom that students can use to sit in. It is the favorite chair and is routinely claimed by students. For example, one of my 5'0" freshman asks daily if she can sit in the chair, while another student, a 6'10" sophomore, always comes to his class early and puts his backpack on that chair to claim his territory. My students are energetic, enthusiastic, entertaining, and constantly in motion, but they struggle to stay seated and focused.
My special education students struggle with a myriad of disabilities, including attention, anxiety, and depression disorders.
Classroom environment, especially how and where students can sit makes all the difference in their attentiveness to instruction and alleviation of anxiety, depression, and attention disorders. I teach a special education math class, and have observed that my students struggle sitting for long periods of time. They prefer perching on top of the table, wandering around the classroom, and even laying on the ground at times! Their brains are going a mile a minute, so flexible seating would allow for appropriate stimulation, movement, and comfort in the classroom.
My students have an array of disabilities: Autism, Traumatic Brain Injury, Specific Learning Disability, Other Health Impairment (think anxiety or attention deficit), Emotional Disturbance, etc. Math is already a challenge due to their disability, but paying attention and sitting still for 86 minutes is a double challenge.
I remember one 9th grader who sat in the back, pulled his hood up, closed his eyes, and fell asleep at the beginning of every class.
I was at a loss for what to do. He asked to sit in my extra "teacher chair" and from that moment on, he was alert, attentive, and engaged. I was flabbergasted. How in the world did this simple change make such an impact in his engagement? I found the same thing happened with several other energetic, but attention-disordered, boys in that same class.
I resolved in that moment to change the seating choices in my classroom. My students can't work with typical classroom desks and chairs. I have students ranging from 5'0" to 6'10." Not only are their physical body sizes impacting their ability to remain seated and comfortable, but their mental deficits warrant a need for flexible seating. Flexible seating will add comfort and equity as students can "stem" and move/wiggle. Taking away the physical barriers of "sitting" will allow students to focus on content acquisition and engagement in class.
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