An ADHD Chair? What is that?

by Andrea Wackerle

It’s no surprise to you that basic classroom etiquette i.e. sitting still, remaining in your chair, raising your hand, aren’t always easy for your adhd child. Research suggests that adapting a student’s environment to include more sensory stimulation may help increase classroom performance. Say hello to the adhd chair.

What is it?
Adhd chair designs vary, but most are designed to allow kids to slightly move by either rocking, swaying, or bouncing. Some also create a “hug” feeling. Below are a few common designs, that have many parents have tried.

As its name implies, HowdaHUG chairs embrace kids when they sit in them, imitating the feeling of being hugged. Its contoured bottom, also lets kids smoothly rock back and forth without Unlike some chairs, this one can be used in any regular chair or for sitting on the floor.

We actually have one of these in our office and some people would say that it increases productivity, adhd or not! The idea is that kids are able to balance the in legged seat on its circular bottom, allowing them to tilt and rotate the chair while sitting.

StayN Place Ball
This is essentially an exercise ball that is weighted on the bottom to keep from rolling away when you get up. Kids can bounce up and down and roll side to side while still remaining in their seat.

Does it Really Work?
YES! When tested in the classroom, kids were less likely to get out of their seat, had better in-seat behavior, and also completed more written work than before. Kids also felt that these alternatives chairs (particularly the ball) were more comfortable and helped them listen better in class.

Sounds Distracting, Right?
We knew what you were thinking. Yes, an adhd chair does have the potential to be distracting, but the idea is that by allowing kids the opportunity to move around slightly while sitting in class, will help the focus on their work and less on all of the other things they could be doing, such as bouncing up and down on their new chair! Despite the additional movement in the classroom, teachers said they felt students paid more attention to what they were saying and were much quieter.

Get Creative!
Some of these alternatives can be pretty pricey, but we encourage you to get creative at home and in the classroom! Try using an exercise ball at home while doing homework. If you see results, consider talking to your child’s teacher about implementing it in the classroom. We also encourage you to check out some of the options that are available, and see if you already have something at home that might have a similar effect as an adhd chair!

Learn more about the research behind adhd chairs here! Or head on over to ADDitude to see what other parents are saying!

Schilling, D. L., K. Washington, F. F. Billingsley, and J. Deitz. “Classroom Seating for Children With Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: Therapy Balls Versus Chairs.” American Journal of Occupational Therapy (2003): 534-41. Print.