Cushions for ADHD Students?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by teach'ntx, Aug 25, 2011.

  1. teach'ntx

    teach'ntx Comrade

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    Aug 25, 2011

    I am posting this in the General Education thread because I am a General Ed teacher with a student diagnosed as ADHD and mom will not give him his medication. He can not sit still for any length of time and is always walking around the class, moving, or talking. One of the other teachers said she saw cushions being used at a previous school, but I do not know of anyone who has used them.

    Do the cushions work? I found some for $13 on an excercise site and I found wedge ones for $50. If a cushion has any chance of helping him focus, I will gladly shell out the $13 (not sure about the $50 yet).

    TIA!!
     
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  3. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    Is it just like a regular seat cushion? For my kids, I give out special OT cushions for them to use in the regular class. They usually have bumps on top or some sort of rolling things inside of them so the student can move around on them. The whole point is that they can move on the cushion, which hopefully replaces the need to get up out of their seat or do more distracting movements. Does your special ed teacher have any of these? I didn't purchase them (they came with my room) but I bet they're really expensive. I'm not sure a regular cushion would do the same thing...it'd just feel softer, not necessarily let them move more.

    If your school doesn't have any of those, I've had awesome sucess with using an excercise ball for my kids that are really fidgety. There were two 3rd graders last year that had EXTREME adhd issues. I gave the teacher an excercise ball for each of them and she swears it "changed their whole school life." I had so many teachers in my room asking for them after that! They simply sit on it instead of a chair, and to balance themselves they are constantly moving. Its also great because it doesn't make any noise (like constantly scraping a chair around would). You can get one at walmart for less than 15 dollars, and you might even be able to find cheaper ones.
     
  4. WaterfallLady

    WaterfallLady Enthusiast

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    Check with your school's Occupational Therapist. She might have one he can borrow on an "evaluation" basis.
     
  5. teach'ntx

    teach'ntx Comrade

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    The ones I was looking at Isokinetics and they have bumps on the top and filled with air so I think they can roll a little. For some reason I can not get the site to work on my home computer to add a link. I do not trust my him on an excercise ball yet. I do have one I can bring from home, I am just sure if it will work and how the rest of the class would respond.

    I do not believe my school has anything as the Sped Ed director looked at me like she had never heard of a thing. He only has speech pull-outs so the SPED director suggested I talk to the speech therapist to see if we could get an Occupational Therapist to meet with him. (The speech therapist had never heard of this either). I just know how long it takes for paperwork to go through, so I thought it might be cheaper for me to buy one :)
     
  6. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    Do you have a plan for when the well-behaved children ask for one so they can be more comfortable too?
     
  7. bros

    bros Phenom

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    If the student has an IEP, they can see an OT if necessary. Also, if you were to purchase something for the student, I believe the school would be obligated to reimburse you, as it is a special education related expense. (I know my teachers in MS and HS were reimbursed for the cost of their printer ink up to $1000 a year. They printed a LOT the years I had them :p)
     
  8. teach'ntx

    teach'ntx Comrade

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    @NCScience - I gave him a ball today to hold to help him concetrate and I had other students ask for one at first. I explained he was trying it to see if it would help him concentrate and they all nodded and did not say anything else. Usually when I go to get him back on task, the students respond with "He did that all last year too". I think most of them would be happy if he was able to focus more. I have also thought about buying a full set if there is any difference.
    @Bros - not sure about the reimbursement. This is only my second year and my first student with an IEP. Also, with all the cuts if it is not listed on his IEP and not a mandatory modification, I am not sure what the requirements would be. I will look into it though!
     
  9. teach'ntx

    teach'ntx Comrade

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  10. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    It's just that as a mother and a volunteer I've seen the other side of it all. "Why does Johnny get all the fun stuff when he acts bad all the time?" And then the kids conspiring to misbehave so they too can get extra priviledges. The "good" kids do get resentful and do lose respect for the teachers that reward those that cannot behave in class. Even if they nod as though they understand. It is a tough line to tread. I don't think I'd feel right about giving a kid a ball in class if I couldn't give one to all of them.
     
  11. silverspoon65

    silverspoon65 Enthusiast

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    Do you have a podium? Some of my fidgety students like to stand up and do their work at the podium.
     
  12. silverspoon65

    silverspoon65 Enthusiast

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    The answer to this is "Fair isn't always equal. Fair means everyone gets what they need."
     
  13. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    So, you would buy your child glasses with clear lenses and put braces on your child's straight teeth because other kids have them and you child thinks it is great and wants them too?

    What would you say to your child that feigned vision problems in order to get glasses? Where would the problem lie, with the child that has glasses for legitimate reasons or your child for faking it?

    Yes, if handled incorrectly, accommodations can cause problems, but handled correctly, it can be a non-issue. If the accommodation works and keeps the student more focused the kids are smart enough to see it isn't a play toy.
     
  14. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    You seriously do not see a difference between a young child being allowed to play with a ball and one wearing fake eyeglasses?

    I've seen it backfire too many times in elementary classrooms. I've seen it backfire in my own classroom. One of the reasons why teens do not want accommodations is because of the way they are treated by other students who do not get them. I've had students refuse the accommodations their mothers insisted upon because the other kids in the class didn't think it was fair. And it wasn't. And yeah, I'm all about the "fair is a weather condition" and other bad cliche's.

    Don't know why anyone is getting snippy, lol. I said it is a tough line to tread.
     
  15. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    Aug 26, 2011

  16. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    :thumb:
     
  17. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Virtuoso

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    A partially inflated beach ball will work as a seat, too. I'd heard that before, but it was mentioned again as an option today.
     
  18. teach'ntx

    teach'ntx Comrade

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    @NCScience - I understand where you are coming from. When I first handed him the ball, some of my boys asked for one. I said he needed to focus. He puts it next to his head for awhile and it does quiet him down and keep him in his seat. Today during a Read Aloud he started rocking and talking (I think there are other undiagnosed issues, but I know nothing about SPED) and one of the students quietly got up, got the ball and gave it to him. He quieted down and was able to focus for a few minutes.
    This is why I am looking at the cushion. I think it would be small enough that it won't be too noticable.
    - I like the idea of a podium, but I do not have one. I try to keep him busy with "jobs" while I am teaching (again special treatment, but if he is not engaged and in the library and my evaluator walks in, then I am dinged) but I can not always do that.
    - Our speech therapist has tried the ball with him, but he is more interested in the ball so it does not help.
    Thanks for all the opinions - I really needed to brainstorm this idea out!!!!
     
  19. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    It's not 'playing' with a ball...it's a tool to help kids stay focused. The teacher needs to instruct the student in the use of the ball or other device....(our self contained teacher has a box of these...she calls them 'fidgets'...all different things). It can work well if implemented properly and monitored. The minute it becomes a toy, it's taken away.
     
  20. teacher36

    teacher36 Comrade

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    I have to say something about the kids who don't need the accomodations. My first gut feeling was similar to NCScienceTeach. However, children today need to learn that they do not NEED to get everything they want when they want it. I think teach'ntx did a great job explaining it and they actually understand that this child NEEDS the ball. This is different than "rewarding" a child who "does bad things". This child is NOT doing "bad" things. He is impulsive which means that he cannot control it. This teacher is just giving him the tools he needs to be successful. Isn't that our job?? To ensure the success of ALL of our children. The ball that may control the outbursts or impulsivity or disruptions of one child WILL be a play toy for another. You give the ball to the one that needs it. End of story. This may be a bad analogy but I get so incencsed when I have a child with severe peanut allergies and deem my classroom a peanut free zone and have to deal with the idiocy of some parents saying their child has a right to a pb&j. Seriously?? Have pb&j to your hearts content at home. We are talking about a life-threatening situation! I just don't get it.
     
  21. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Actually I think they are both the same - problems.

    Kids shouldn't play with balls in class when they are to be paying attention nor should children fake vision problems to get eye glasses.
     
  22. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    For a child with attention difficulties, having a stress ball (or another sensory object) may be the only way they can pay attention.
     
  23. Zelda~*

    Zelda~* Devotee

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    Exactly. :yeahthat: It is not that we are randomly rewarding off-task behavior, these tools these children need in order to do their work.
     
  24. traveler

    traveler Comrade

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    I had a student last year in the same situation. We tried everything. Most things worked for only a little while. Be prepared to continuously rotate different "tools". The best thing for my student was to carry heavy things to the office. It grounded him. But you can't always have a kid running around with heavy things. We also tried the seat cushion, the band around the legs of the chair, balls to squeeze and more. He needed his tool to change regularly. Unfortunately there is no easy fix. Hang in there and keep trying to find ways to help him.
     
  25. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    As a mom of 3, one with ADHD and 2 with no IEP's I can say that the balance ball has totally worked at home for getting work done. After a day of school it was all I could do to get the homework done! I would love to see a full room outfitted with the ball because as fitness instructors will tell you event the regular children would gain valuable minute of core strengthening work by busing the balls. In many cases I have seen my son misbehave MORE when he knows he can get a fidget...even if it is in controlled circumstances by experienced teachers with SpEd work behind them. I have also seen my other two treated badly when the children outside assume they too will get special treatment that their "Mooooommmmy" says will help. I have lived both sides, at the same time.

    I am personally most in favor of the post that suggested that a whole room be outfitted with the balls.....childhood obesity is important as well, is it not.
     
  26. cindy lou

    cindy lou Rookie

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    accomodations

    Couldn't the students complain that any accomodation we make for the success of a needy student is unfair?

    Why does Johnny get to have his tests read to him?
    Why does Suzie only have to do 10 math problems?
    Why does Frankie get to work on his project in the resource room?

    As long as you have prepared a way to explain these issues when they come up (and believe in the explanation) the kids will get it.

    My responses are:
    Fair means everyone gets what they need to succeed, and not everybody needs the same thing.
    We all have different talents and challenges. I am here to help everyone improve their talents and overcome their challenges.

    BTW-I have a balance ball in my classroom that is usually used as a reward, but I imagine it would be really helpful for this kind of situation. It cost about $10 at Walmart. I make one rule-No "air time." Your tush must stay planted on the ball at all times!:lol:
     
  27. clarnet73

    clarnet73 Moderator

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    "I want to sit there" is something I hear at circle time quite a bit.

    I have a few cube chairs that I allow particular children to sit in because it helps them to sit on the carpet. Without that defined space, these particular kids would be rolling around and/or laying on the carpet. That's far more distracting for the other students (and more difficult for them to pay attention) than allowing certain students to sit in cube chairs.

    My other kids want to sit in chairs, too. Right now, I have enough cube chairs to accomodate, but won't soon. Today, when the child was out of the room, I explained to them that he's still learning how to sit the right way on the carpet. I know that they already know how, and do a GREAT job. SO I played it up as a priviledge to get to sit on the carpet.

    We'll see if it helps tomorrow.
     
  28. teach'ntx

    teach'ntx Comrade

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    Thanks everyone!!
    I wish I could get everyone balance balls, but that is not possible right now. Plus, I am not sure how he would respond. The Speech Therapist says he is more interested in that than his work. I will need to alternate the tools to keep him focused as the ball is already losing some of the ability.
     

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