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Sensory Integration Tools for School Aged Children


If your sensory seeking child is having difficulty sitting still at school, you may want to try some of these tools. For children in kindergarten and above, their typical school day is structured with lots of time sitting still at their table or desk. This can be difficult for the sensory seeking child, as they may need a lot of movement throughout their day to stay regulated.

First of all, encourage your school aged sensory seeker to take advantage of playing on the playground during recess time. You may even want to speak with their teacher about how this is an important part of their day. When your child gets home from school, movement breaks may be needed before starting homework or sitting down at a table to eat a snack or dinner.

Here are some tools that may be helpful for your child to use at their desk or table. Many schools already have these items. Speak with your child’s teacher to see what’s available for use. If you are considering personally buying these items, be sure to talk with your child’s teacher before bringing any of these items into school. It may also be helpful to explain your child’s sensory needs to their teacher or bring in a note from your child’s occupational therapist explaining what has worked well in therapy to increase attention for tasks.

– Therapy ball: A large therapy ball can be a great alternative to a chair. In order to sit on a ball, your child must constantly engage their muscles, especially ones in their core that are involved in posture. This allows your child to keep their body moving even while seated at their table or desk.

Young physiotherapist explaining exercises to smiling school girls sitting on exercise balls

-Inflatable sensory cushion: Instead of getting rid of the chair altogether, your child may be able to benefit from this inflatable cushion. The cushion goes directly on the seat of the chair, and allows your child to wiggle while they are sitting. Many of these cushions are also textured, which adds alerting tactile input. Tip: This can also be used at the table during dinnertime or even on the couch!

-Theraband foot rest: A piece of theraband can be tied to the front legs of your child’s chair, allowing them to bounce their feet on it during seated activities. Look for “heavy (Sometimes blue colored)” or “Special heavy” (sometimes black colored) theraband from therapy stores or online.

Woman exercises with resistance bands around her feet. Horizontal shot.

-Stress ball/fidget: If your child likes to keep their hands busy, a stress ball or other fidget that offers some resistance can be a great tool to play with quietly at their desk.

Hands of a woman squeezing a stress ball

Be sure to speak with you child about how these items are tools to help them learn. They are not to be used incorrectly or in a way that distracts other children.

I hope these tips help your child wiggle and learn at school!

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