Toolkit #2 – Wobble Cushion

2013-11-12 17.08.45A wobble cushion in my classroom

2013-11-13 12.28.44

Summary of the resource

The wobble cushion or wiggle cushion is an inflatable cushion that comes in a variety of different styles and colours to be used with students who have difficulties sitting still in their seats. The cushion “facilitates dynamic sitting by incorporating movement with conventional seating. They provide movement and a lot of tactile stimulation” (School District of Beloit, n.d., para. 1). For many students who have ADHD, autism or sensory issues the act of fidgeting is not a lack of focus but a way of focusing. Rotz and Wright (n.d.) cite a recent study that suggests “that the body affects the brain as much as the brain affects the body” (para. 4). Another study done states that “an activity that uses a sense other than that required for the primary task…can enhance performance in children with ADHD. Doing two things at once…focuses the brain on the primary task. These sensory-motor activities [are] ‘distractions.’ We call them fidgets — mindless activities you can do while working on a primary task” (Rotz & Wright, n.d., para. 7). Providing students with an object, i.e. a wobble cushion, allows them movement but in an intentional way and can help these students focus more. Students who are more focused become less of a distraction in class.

Wobble cushions can be purchased at a number of websites and cost anyway from $24.99 to $55. Shipping is usually an extra cost.

Websites where you can purchase wobble cushions:

http://www.toolsforkids.ca/

http://www.fdmt.ca

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Why I Selected this Resource

This cushion can be used with any chair or desk. It is an easy, relatively cheap tool to introduce to students that can have positive effects on their behaviour. This cushion can be used with all types of students and is not only limited to students who have a diagnosed disability. There are many students who find sitting in chairs uncomfortable, for a variety of different reasons. All students should be provided with the opportunity to be comfortable in their learning and using a wobble cushion can be an easy way to make students more comfortable. I gave all the students in my class the option to try the cushion and see if they liked sitting on it; about half my class liked the cushion and wanted one for their seat.

So far, a number of my students have been using the wobble cushion and I have seen an improvement in their ability to be less distracted when doing seat work. I have seen a great improvement in my student with ADHD. He regularly fell out of his chair during times when he was suppose to be listening but since using the cushion he has not fallen out of his chair once.

Critique of Resource

This tool should not be used as the only resources for students who have difficulties sitting in class. It is one resource and should be used with others supports. There are some students who do not like using a cushion and other tools and resources should be found for them.

Some sites have suggested that students only use the cushion for 20 minutes at a time so they do not develop muscle memory and reduce its effectiveness (School District of Beloit, n.d.). Although I have not notice this in my class, it might suggest that extended exposure to this tool may influence its effectiveness. It may come down to the individual student and how it works best for them.

With any new tool or resource, if it is not handled correctly it can be exclusive rather than inclusive. I know of other classes in my school where the cushion is limited to a small number of students and because of that some students do not want to use the cushion because it is making them look different. This is less a critique of the cushion and is more about how resources are introduced and used in the classroom.

Decisions and Supports What Do You Need?

As with any resource, cost is an issue, especially if you decide to provide this type of aid to students who are not coded. Administration, students and parents need to be onboard with using this tool in class. Administration has to purchase these cushions and make the decision to provide support regardless of coding. Students need to be taught how to properly care for a wobble cushion (pencils stabbed into the cushion will cause it to pop). Parent communication is also important. Parents should be informed of what supports their child is receiving in class.

References

Rotz, R., & Sarah D. Wright, S. D. (n.d.). When ADHD Kids Fidget: Better Focus Through Multitasking. Retrieved from http://www.additudemag.com/adhd/article/3967.html

School District of Beloit. (n.d.) Wiggle Cushion. Retrieved from http://wsx.sdb.k12.wi.us/sites/SpecialEducation/Closet/Lists/Inventory/Attachments/100/wiggle.pdf

This entry was posted in EDER 679.34 -Universal Designs for Learning, Inclusive Learning Toolkit and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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