Ball Chairs For Classroom Use By Children With ASD

The Hughes Brothers have just read what seems to be, as far as the Journal of Occupational Therapy is concerned, an early scientific determination of ball chairs’ worth in an academic setting. The Hughes Brothers can right now tell you this much: “The research was indeed scientific.” And further, “It doesn’t tell us much.” Other than that this chair probably deserves your further investigation.

Ball Chairs Review

The following represents our best efforts at translating the graphs, charts, situational analyses, jargon, and over-our-heads sort of inquiry into some – we trust – useful information for you, open-hearted relatives and friends of kids with autism. We’ll do our best here at deciphering and then, in an article to follow immediately, we’ll share a hard look at the ball chairs waiting for your consideration and, perhaps, eventual purchase. The price points here, we hope, will not prove prohibitive to most families.

Ball Chairs Use Study

We cannot by any means call the study “definitive,” and so now here come some qualifications of the results. Per the study, “Given the complexity of behaviors among children along the ASD spectrum, the results of this study reinforce the importance of a thorough occupational analysis, including performance skills, client factors, contexts, and activity demands to increase meaningful participation in classroom activities.” Rather than rote reliance on a study, no matter how detailed, it seems that personal, individual observation of your children in the classroom should determine how the ball chair might bring out the best in them.

The study admitted that ball chairs often create a different set of problems even as they might improve a child’s reception to the lesson at hand. Of course, vigorous bouncing on the ball at inappropriate times constitutes the largest potential liability in the classroom, liability for both the child with autism and for classmates as well. The study emphasized that the child should be allowed to make choices: to sit on the ball chair, or in a conventional desk. And then darn it, equivocation on the point just made: “More research is needed to determine whether children are able to make informed decisions about seating devices.” The Hughes Brothers try to be research-prone, but our studies always involve someone else’s good work previous. Let’s continue.

Ball Chairs Research

Specifically, the study asked that future research “try to better understand the relationship between patterns of sensory processing and positive responses to the use of the therapy ball chair.” We take that to mean, “Put your child on a ball chair, and see what happens.” With full autistic students’ rapt attention to their teachers as the every-school-day goal, “It is clear that the children’s engagement depended not only on their ability to attend and process information but also on an array of environmental factors and the nature of the task. Factors that influenced engagement included teacher absence, behavior of other children, visitors in the classroom, and the nature of the activity.” Factors not able to be controlled in a positive way by a hundred ball chairs.

Now, at our article’s end, the Hughes Brothers can only suggest that you follow us into our second piece, that you take a hard look at how a ball chair might serve your child and your family in settings apart from school. Consider the chair’s possible use at home – during communal family time, during larger family events (parties and reunions and such), and during those hours set aside for your child’s academic homework. We apologize somewhat, having taking you into but one hard, scientific look – with an admittedly too small sampling – only to remind you that you parents, you siblings, you teachers, you selfless people looking to help a child know best. You know so very much the best. As the study concludes itself, “Instead, the results illuminate the complex nature of children with ASD, of behavior and learning, and of occupation and the importance of using sophisticated clinical reasoning skills when making recommendations for interventions in the classroom for children with ASD. Additional research that addresses the relationship of sensory processing patterns and improved classroom participation is indicated before therapy ball chairs should be used as an evidence-based intervention.”

Join us, please, as we shop around for a chair that might be right for your little loved one.

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