The Raymond Ellis Elementary School in Round Lake, Illinois, recently made waves on Facebook when it posted a photo of one of its teachers with the “sensory chair” that she had created. Miss Maplethorpe teaches in the school’s Speech and Language Department, and she used tennis balls and cloth to create a chair for some of her students with sensory issues. As the school stated in its post:
Sensory seating is used for students who may have difficulty processing information from their senses and from the world around them. Tennis balls on the seat and backrest provide an alternative texture to improve sensory regulation. Students with autism spectrum disorder, Down syndrome, sensory processing disorder, etc. may benefit from this seating option.
Notice the school’s use of the word, “may.” As many people on Facebook were quick to point out, this chair looks uncomfortable. However, those experienced with sensory conditions disagree, explaining that some people find “typical” chairs extremely hard to sit in because they require more sensory input than just a flat surface. Sensory seekers often get comfort from objects that those without sensory conditions don’t understand at all — i.e., objects such as rocks and Legos.
As we all know, every person is different, and this chair may be too stimulating for some, while not stimulating enough for others. For more information, please see the post: