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kids with the wiggles

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My daughter has some sensory issues and I've been letting her use an indoor swing during school, but it's getting to be an issue because she's doing acrobatic feats on it instead of paying attention. There's a bar at the top that she's using to climb up the swing.


Has anyone used a stability ball or a hop ball for school? I need something to help her stay moving but still pay attention. I saw the smaller exercise balls, but I also saw these balls with a handle that they can use for jumping around as well. If I got her a jumping ball could she use this for a sitting ball for school as well, or should I stick with an exercise ball?


Does anyone else have tips for something they use for sensory kids that works well? :)


Thanks so much for any tips!!!



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With my last two boys - who move constantly even in their sleep:001_smile: - we've used a variety of things.

1) We have a sensory diet prescribed by an OT for lots of movement to do with them at home.

2) When it's necessary - at least for me - that they aren't hanging from the rafters - we use exercise balls or other techniques. I don't require more than 10-15 mins at a time until they are around 8 or 9 years old. So frequent breaks to go do a physical activity happens alot in our schooling.

3) We use exercise balls for sitting - they hang upside down over the couch or ball frequently when I'm reading aloud, bounce a little or roll around. We have what I've always called a Hopitty Hop that they can bounce around more with but I don't use it often for school because the urge is too great to hop across the room, etc.

4) They use our mini-tramp to bounce on or the elipitical to move and give me oral answers to questions - like math facts or narrate from a read aloud.

5) When nice we school outside so they can swing, slide or climb the rock wall.

6) They also have what I call nobby squishy seats for their desk chairs which allow them to move and feel sensation but still keeps them in a chair for awhile.


It does get better. My youngest who will be 8 in May is now able to stay at his desk to focus on both a math lesson and a phonics lesson all in one sitting. Then I send him off for 10 mins of activity and he returns to read aloud to me and do his LA. Then another break for about an hour while I work with another dc and then he returns for me to read history or science to him. Oh, we also use play-doh or silly putty for his hands or he draws on a whiteboard while I read.


My middle ds that is almost 13 now actually stays most days for 2 hours at a time in our classroom and he could sit through hours of read alouds if I would.

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During parts of school where I am reading out loud, our youngest (DS5)can have a small toy. This is usually a lego guy that he takes apart and rebuilds constantly. But he is listening -- he can do a narration very well when asked. I was also considering getting all the kids some "thinking putty" that Timberdoodle sells, they'd like that a lot.


Also, and this may or may not work for you because of diet or scheduling, we do nearly 95% of our work on the floor. I am in the middle with my books, the kids have their notebooks or whatever and I have the secret weapon: fruit. I found that if I have fruit in a bowl next to me (so I can have some too!), I never have to chase the kids back to me. They can snack on that fruit the entire time and it keeps them together, keeps them focused, and is healthy for all of us. Vegetables work also (baby carrots, etc.), but they are louder. At least with four kids crunching at the same time! :)


Especially for our youngest, I try to keep him sitting still completely only when it really matters. So for us that means math, history, etc. on the floor and likely the only seat work would be copywork. Even coloring is on the floor where he can move around somewhat. HTH. Good luck, I know it's challenging when the movement is constant.


ETA: I also second that it does get better!!

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Does anyone else have tips for something they use for sensory kids that works well? :)






Time and chilling out. ;)


I'm not being snarky, really! We did frequent, short lessons with my oldest (who had undiagnosed sensory issues because my xh would not allow me to pursue anything medically. I just researched and did what I could at home).


Increasing sensory activity during non school times helped a lot. We did a bean box, shaving cream, back rubs, indoor obstacle courses, I'd wrap him like a taco/burrito, play doh.


It helped to read things like Educating the Wholehearted Child and know that time, attention and relationship go a long, long way towards rich, quality education.


That child is now doing fine in a public high school, in spite of my worries about his (lack of) attention when he was 5, 6, 7, 8......

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Thanks guys, I think I will go with the exercise ball. She just needs something to let her wiggle during school. I agree that short lessons are good, and we do keep them short, but she's just a wiggly person-it's in her nature... She just needs something to do with her hands or her body at all times, and I'm afraid she's going to kill herself on that indoor swing bar one day if I let her keep climbing on it. It's nice as long as she's not going to try to throw her knees over the bar and hang upside down, but she's getting a little too creative with it for my comfort level.


So I think we'll try out the ball. I'm glad you let me know about the kids wanting to bounce in the room if it had a handle. I was thinking about that and trying to decide, LOL...

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My ds sits in a swivel chair. I have found that he needs to be sitting in the chair at the table or he doesn't pay attention. So we take a lot of breaks. He jumps on the mini tramp, catches a ball, rolls up in my yoga mat, and so forth for breaks.


Also, I have started making morning outside time a must. We get up, and I make hot tea or hot chocolate for everyone, pass it out in travel mugs, and out we go. The boys stay out for at least a half hour, and I come in a bit sooner to start breakfast. Usually they ride their bikes. Yesterday it was raining but we still went out. They came back in splattered in mud, red cheeks, and happy.


This morning we overslept and the two older boys were cranky cranky. When they came back in from outside, they were in much better moods and not arguing any more.


The morning air has made a difference in my "spirited" kid, and unless we are in the middle of a hurricane, we go outside first thing in the morning.

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a cheap alternative to a ball chair is this seat cushion-




we have a bumpy version but you can get a smooth one too.


adjust the bounce by inflating/deflating.


Our most wiggly spd/add kid loves it but our others spd kids hate it. Jump rope breaks help to. Swinging is great but can woop mine up, the more heavy impact activites calm them more.


The best routine is one they do at OT , first swing time , then heavy work, then table work. It helps to stay in that order - if I try to do table work first we have a terrible day.


I wish we had a swing- its another thing forbidden by our lease:glare:


good luck!

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