Stability Balls in the Classroom.

Updated on November 14, 2009
K.C. asks from Bloomfield Hills, MI
11 answers

Hi Ladies,

I've been reading various news articles on the net about schools using stability balls as seats in classrooms. I've also seen that there have been studies done that shows it helps children with ADHD.

Has anyone ever tried it with thier child? Did it help?

I don't mean to be rude, but I'm looking for specific information and would appreciate if people would refrain from sending me information about supplements.



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answers from Grand Rapids on

My daughters school has tried them and they worked real well however when I made the suggestion for my daughter with Down syndrome who is also very wiggley(possible ADHD) they suggested it may be a big distraction for her. That she may tend to bounce up and down on it. Good luck with the answers sounds like they work for others...The suggestion about Brain Gym is great and has helped with my child to some extent. K.

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answers from Grand Rapids on

One of the elementary schools in Grandville did this with an entire class a couple of years ago. It was called "Wiggle While You Work." I can't find any definitive studies on how well it worked or what the results were on homework and test scores, etc, but I've talked with a few parents from that district and they loved it.



answers from Detroit on

I homeschool my ADHD dd and I let her use one when doing work. It had definitely helped her concentration.



answers from Detroit on

In my first grade classroom, I have not used stability balls but I have used bumpy cushions. They are an inflated plastic cushion that are textured with large bumps. It allows for a child to bounce on their chair to help focus their energy. I would assume the stability ball would create the same effect. The bumpy cushion worked wonderfully and I would assume that a stability ball would do the same.
Good luck



answers from Detroit on

My son's preschool is using them...a very good thing. Spread the word to your school. There was an article written about a Lake Orion school purchasing them for their class. Good Luck!



answers from Saginaw on

Hello K., I don't have any advice for you, but am interested in this topic. It makes sense that by using the leg muscles all day it would help burn off some energy! Lack of sleep could be as contribute to ADHD getting worst, just so you are aware. When my daughter was tired, I could always tell, she bounced off the walls. LOL Good luck. I will checking to see what the responses are to this question.



answers from Detroit on

Both my sister and my friend are teachers and have heard about it. My sister tried it with the kids in her middle school english and german classes. Here's how she did it though. She offered it as a prize to the kids that have turned in their homework (grade didn't matter). Also, it was taken away if they were still distracting the class. She was very pleased with the results. The kids were turning work in to get the ball AND when they had the ball the were very attentive. Figitiy of course.. they're on a ball.. but not talking out, not chatting with their neighbor... just listening. It completely helped in her class.

My friend tried this with her son the year she was homeschooling and found it to be a great aid for him as well. So much the next year when she was teaching private school she wanted to, but the administration wasn't too keen on the idea. Now she's teaching college level so it's not necessary.

Hope that helps.



answers from Detroit on

I am not sure what you mean about a stability ball?? But I recently wen tout and bought an excersise ball. I have been meaning to get one and finally on our 5th and last child I got one for this pregnancy. I can tell you my kids love it and they play with it roll on it my 9 year old likes to do excersise on it and all of them like to sit on it. I don't know if this helps good luck



answers from Detroit on

You might google "disc-o-sit" for the bumpy cushion. sells them as some kind of cushion. The owner of Heads UP! homeschools two children w/ ADHD and she has a blog, a book (I recommend the book, even if you're not homeschooling), and she speaks at conferences.

The stability ball or the cushion offer proprioceptive and vestibular (and often tactile) sensory input to the child's nervous system, putting them in a position where they are able to attend and learn more easily. If you can't feel where your body is in space, your attention may be more concerned with where you are than on listening to the teacher. The stability ball or a bumpy cushion put the child and the child's body in a ACTIVE position, where balance (vestibular) and body position (proprioception)are working more like that of a typical kid. For some children who are wired a bit differently, the bouncy seat gives them what they need to attend.

The other product you could try is a T-stool. (google it.)

Sometimes, you don't know if they work or help a particular child until you try them.

Other things that have been helpful at my house:

Carol Barnier's book, "The Big What Now Book of Learning Styles" is AWESOME.

Judith Bluestone's book, "The Fabric of Autism," is about all the sensory stuff in kids w/ ADD, ADHD, PDD-NOS and autism. AWESOME. More inside info than any of Carol Stock Kranowitz's books, and Carol's really good (do you have her books, too?!)

Brain Gym may have some specific, in-the-moment exercises that help with attention -- does the teacher know about Brain Gym?

If you change your mind and want supplement info, ever, just ask. ;) E-mail me if you want the stuff I've gathered about epsom salts baths.

I have a 10 year old with autism.



answers from New York on

I taught first grade before stating home with my son and every year I had a child use one. It helps with the seat fidgeting and attention but I also had a regular chair available if the child wanted a change. Some children had an opposite reaction as it became even more of a distraction but with guidance (mine, parents having one at home, and ot/pt help it eventually was ok). We got ours from our OT/PT teacher and she would intro it with child in her class before bringing it into mine. One draw back is that other children do comment on it so it makes some kids uncomfortable. There are chair cushions that do the same thing but are less conspicuous in the class. I also had a couple (chair cushions and balls) in a center all kids could use while there so it helped it not be such a big deal. I loved them and did see a difference in focus/attention but I think the teacher needs to help facilitate it. I've seen some more resistant to change and it wasn't effective! Hope it helps!



answers from Detroit on

My sons, who are on the autism spectrum, have used the balls as part of OT (private OT for sensory issues). During school their OT has used those bumpy discs to sit on and a trampoline to jump on. I am a huge fan of using these types of intervention in school. Contact your school OT or request an official meeting if necessary to try them out. Hopefully you won't meet resistance, I think I have heard of lots of people using them. In fact, I remember reading about an ENTIRE classroom that started using them for certain classes, and it improved everyone's behavior!

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