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A new way to look at Classroom Seating - Special Needs Australia

A new way to look at Classroom Seating

Positive Benefits to using Ball Chairs in Learning Environments include:

  • Increased levels of Attention 
  • Decreased levels of Hyperactivity 
  • Increased Time on Task 

How do ball chairs work?

Taken from Bright Hub Education, By Dr. Anne Zachry / Special Ed Information for Teachers & Parents

When a child with ADD consistently sits on an exercise ball, this provides an outlet to release excess energy, as the child is able to fidget and move around much more freely than when seated in a traditional plastic or wooden chair. Because children with ADD have difficulty concentrating on more than one task at a time, exercise balls allow these students to focus their attention on assignments without also needing to worry about remaining still.

Exercise balls promote upright posture and provide a comfortable yet secure seating area. Traditional exercise balls and balls with a weighted bottom can also be used for exercises that encourage motor coordination, balance, eye contact, and attention building skills.

Are there really any positive benefits?

Yes, studies show that there are positive benefits to using Ball Chairs in a learning environment.

Taken from The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI)

Results of the stability ball intervention revealed increased levels of attention, decreased levels of hyperactivity, and increased time on task and in seat or on ball. Findings from the social validity questionnaire demonstrated that teachers preferred the stability balls over chairs. This study provides additional evidence for the effectiveness of stability balls in the general education classroom for children who exhibit difficulties with attention and hyperactivity.

The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) is part of the United States National Library of Medicine (NLM), a branch of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Therapy balls are valuable tools for the learning process

Taken from Redfame

The existing literature on this topic suggests that therapy balls are valuable tools for the learning process. Studies demonstrate that after substituting therapy balls for standard chairs, there is general improvement in on-task behaviors.

Studies indicate that there is a growing trend toward the use of therapy balls in the classroom to improve learning for students. A study investigating the efficiency of sensory integration therapy on children with Autism found that the use of heightened sensory tools improved sensory integration as well as participation in home, school, and family activities (Schaaf, Hunt, & Benevides, 2012). Studies examining the use of therapy balls in the classroom support that therapy ball seating may facilitate engagement and in-seat behaviour to create opportunities for effective instruction (Schilling & Schwartz, 2004; Schilling et al., 2003). This study also demonstrated that the use of therapy balls resulted in increased on task behaviour, which has the potential to improve classroom performance and facilitate learning.

Incorporating therapy balls into the classroom environment is a simple strategy that can have a large impact on the learning experience of students. 

What do teacher’s think about the use of flexible seating in the classroom?

The below has been taken from an article written by a teacher in the US called Meghan Snable. Meghan introduced flexible seating into her classroom with great success and she is now keen to share her journey and resources with other teachers.

I am truly amazed at how flexible seating has transformed my classroom. This group of energetic and enthusiastic 6-and 7-year-olds is more focused, and their energy now can be channelled in a productive way. This movement is allowing them to truly focus on the content and tasks necessary in our classroom. I don’t know many adults who would want to work at a desk for six hours each day, so why should our students have to learn in this rigid way?

After six weeks of implementation, I will confidently say that flexible seating has been a success for my class. I can’t imagine ever going back to traditional seating. I even bought myself a yoga ball for small group instruction! Do you have flexible seating in your classroom? How is it working for you?

You can read the full article here:

Meghan Snable is a 1st grade teacher, TpT Teacher-Author, and Teacher Blogger from California. 

You can find some of Meghan’s resources at

Click here to view Meghan’s resources

If you are a teacher and you’re considering flexible seating for your classroom, there are are many great resources out there that you can use to help you along the way, such as


Publishing URL:
Journal of Education and Training Studies Vol. 3, No. 4; July 2015
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