Flexible Seating

By Carol Krigger

This issue of NASET’s Classroom Management series was written by Carol Krigger and addresses the issue of flexible seating in the classroom. Over the years, children can be observed sitting at a desk for long periods of time. This is especially difficult for special needs students. The school day is about eight hours on average, much of that time is spent in a chair with the child expected to maintain focus with little to no movement. When addressing special education students, teachers are encouraged to find more ways to keep the attention of the student. Activities involving movement are sometimes incorporated. However, special needs and general education students alike are still tapping pencils, flipping bottles, and getting up from their seats. Behavior management systems provide support for students and teachers in hopes of diminishing the behavior. Would providing the special needs child the choice of preferred seating assist in minimizing the distracting behaviors observed? Does flexible or alternative seating benefit the attention span and academic performance in learners, especially learners with exceptionalities?

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