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My students need flexible seating in order to meet their sensory needs and catch up with their peers. Students will have ownership of their learning environment when they have seating choices and improve their basic skills.
I run a resource program at a neighborhood school. All of my students are included in general education classes, and also have learning disabilities and/or other health impairments that make it difficult for them to access the general education curriculum without specialized support.
A student with a learning disability may look and act like a "typical" student, but has an identified deficit in cognitive processing that makes it hard to keep up with peers.
Learning disabled students are at a relative disadvantage to their same age peers in general education. Students who are not allowed the freedom of movement and choice may not be able to effectively communicate their needs, and will manifest disruptive behaviors.
Many of the students I work with have attention problems which look like movement around the space and fidgeting in place. While a traditional classroom attempts to extinguish these behaviors and encourage the child to "fit-in," a flexible seating environment allows the students to learn in the way that feels most comfortable and appropriate for their individual needs.
When most people think of traditional classroom environments, they picture neat rows of identical desks. Every student has a particular seat, maybe even with their name on the desk, and woe be to the child who leaves their space for any reason! Just because this is the way it's always been, doesn't mean it's the best way for modern learners.
Students with sensory needs and attention-deficit disorders need to study in a space that allows them movement while they work on completing their jobs.
Flexible sating arrangements allow for students to have and maintain ownership of their learning environment. When students are able to choose where and how they sit, and allowed to change their place throughout the day; this will in turn cause a reduction of disruptive behaviors due to sensory or attention issues.
Some students are more comfortable in a bean bag type chair, which might feel safe and comforting, like a big hug while they work on a difficult task. Other students prefer a wiggle seat, which may be a pad on a chair or a stool that wobbles on its own leg. The yoga balls provide a different kind of wiggle seat, or maybe the child needs to bounce while working. The bands attach to chair legs to give slight pressure to those who need to kick their legs while their brain is working. The addition of rugs allows students who prefer to sit on the floor to have a designated space. The lap trays may be used on the floor, in a chair, or even placed on a table to provide a standing desk space. The variety of different options allows students to move freely around the room, changing seating position or postures as needed throughout the study period.
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