Family & Parenting

This Teacher Created A Special Chair That’s A Game-Changer For Kids With Sensory Issues

More proof that teachers are the greatest.

One special needs teacher at Raymond Ellis Elementary School in Illinois is going above and beyond for her students.

Amy Maplethorpe is a speech pathologist, and many of her students have difficulty processing information from their senses. So she created special chairs to help them, with the help of some tennis balls and hot glue.

“Tennis balls on the seat and backrest provide an alternative texture to improve sensory regulation. Students with autism spectrum disorder, Down syndrome, sensory processing disorder, etc. may benefit from this seating option,” the school wrote about the chairs in a Facebook post.

The post instantly went viral—it has since been shared more than 91,000 times and has more than 13,000 comments on it. Parents and educators have commended Maplethorpe on her ingenuity in creating these chairs out of such simple materials.

“My autistic daughter, who is also sensory seeking, will purposely stand in bowls of legos or wooden blocks,” wrote one commenter.

Sensory Tennis Ball Chairs -1
Daily Herald

“We have also had to find alternatives to her wrapping cords, leashes, and strings around her neck and pulling, (fortunately wearing a cape provides the necessary sensation she is seeking). Sometimes there is no telling what will calm a sensory seeking child.”

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Sensory-seeking children will often engage in actions to help arouse their nervous systems. Sometimes, these actions can be dangerous—like hitting themselves, or picking at skin. These chairs are an excellent alternative to violent behaviors, and the results have been great so far.