HomeDisabilityThe Compass Chair: A Classroom Seating Possibility for the Baby with Autism

The Compass Chair: A Classroom Seating Possibility for the Baby with Autism

A caregiver talks to a boy sitting in a Rifton Compass Chair in a classroom.It’s an ongoing dialogue, and one which anybody concerned not directly with college students with autism are acquainted with. How do I get my college students to pay attention in order that they’ll be taught? Can they ever sit nonetheless sufficient at a desk to be taught the fundamentals of studying, writing and math? Can I anticipate my pupil with autism to take a seat and attend at school in the identical approach I anticipate it of my common training college students? If there are lodging for my pupil, how do I do know which one is greatest? And lastly: If I do make seating (or different environmental) lodging for my college students, will it really assist them with consideration in the long term, or am I simply offering a crutch that will likely be even tougher to take away at a later time?

What Does the Analysis Say?

Kind in “seating AND autism” on any search engine and also you’ll get a barrage of choices: tactile cushions, wiggle seats, dynamic seating chairs, ball chairs, bean bag chairs and comfortable rockers, to call only a few. A lot analysis has gone into the sector of seating for individuals with autism, and lots of the outcomes level to the effectiveness of some type of intervention for these people.1,2,3 For a bunch of kids with autism presenting with disruptive classroom behaviors however good postural management, remedy balls considerably elevated in-seat and on-task behaviors in comparison with air cushions and common classroom chairs.1 Equally, Disc O Sit cushions elevated consideration to process in a bunch of 61 second grade college students with consideration difficulties.2 And yet one more research famous that youngsters with autism in search of vestibular-proprioceptive enter responded higher to ball chairs, whereas these youngsters demonstrating poor postural management required a extra steady chair.3 Then, there may be the consideration of incorporating seating interventions right into a classroom with inclusion in thoughts. Given the inherently various nature of the autism spectrum itself, nevertheless, there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all intervention for any talent space. Methods have to be based mostly on the person and on explicit patterns of sensory processing or motor impairment, amongst different issues.1,3,4 As Dr. Steven Shore, writer, speaker and professor of particular training at Adelphi College notes from expertise, “If you happen to’ve met one particular person with autism, you’ve met one particular person with autism.”5 I discovered this utilized to so many facets of the work I did with one such pupil, from curriculum planning to seating.


Classroom Progress with the Compass Chair

I first met Luke when he arrived at our college’s Preschool program at age 4. He was a child of common construct, and initially wouldn’t have stood out in that rambunctious crowd … apart from his ceaseless motion (not essentially perseverative, however undoubtedly fixed.) I used to be tasked with determining a program for Luke that may deal with his wants in addition to embody him within the classroom along with his friends as a lot as doable. At first it was overwhelming. Luke was solely minimally verbal, and his lack of deal with any process gave me little time to evaluate his abilities in numerous areas. Moreover, each time his class met at their desk, Luke would rapidly develop into stressed, handing over his chair, grabbing at supplies and different college students, making noises, and making an attempt to get out of his seat. One factor was for positive, I wanted to do one thing about Luke’s incapability to take a seat (no less than considerably) nonetheless. With out that talent established, few tutorial, social, or verbal abilities would simply comply with.

I shopped round for some concepts: gel cushions, remedy balls, fidgets to connect to chairs, and so on. Whereas I perceive the worth in all these things, I used to be eager to start out with a much less noticeable lodging. That’s when the thought of a compass chair got here in. I knew that Luke wanted greater than visible boundaries. He wanted to really feel the sting of his area. With a spot to relaxation his fingers or arms, and a particular edge to the chair, Luke would have the ability to bodily sense his boundaries on the desk. Though our first one was a cobbled collectively wood chair with sides and armrests screwed on, it labored—surprisingly properly. I quickly added a chunk of no-slip rubber, after which the educational started. Luke was in a position to sit for more and more longer durations with fewer disturbances to the category. At his personal desk, I may sit throughout the desk to have interaction him in studying duties. Whereas beforehand that had not been doable as a result of he was continually turning and getting out of his seat, now I may preserve the mandatory eye contact to advertise each studying and social abilities.

In the end, our college was in a position to purchase a Rifton Compass Chair for Luke, sized exactly for his body. And the progress continued. Not surprisingly, the talents Luke was buying in his intensive educating periods started to translate to different settings and circumstances. His vocabulary was exploding, which helped his communication abilities, which in flip bolstered his social repertoire. Luke started to have interaction in significant peer interactions, and whereas he nonetheless wanted help in a bunch setting, I may again off and let his friends (and the chair) present him with boundaries.

Now aged 10, Luke continues to develop in all areas. Whereas his progress actually can’t be credited to at least one single method, lodging, or remedy, we will surmise that every intervention performed (and continues to play) into Luke’s social and academic successes. As he grows, his wants could change, too. The intervention that labored successfully for him in 2nd grade could not fly in 5th grade, and we’ll have to return to the drafting board. Whatever the composite of interventions that Luke’s training could require, I really feel positive that he’ll at all times depend on boundaries to information him on his path.

Again to Prime


1. Matin SN, Haghgoo H, Samadi SA, Rassafiani M, Bakhshi E, Hassanabadi H. The affect of dynamic seating on classroom habits of scholars with autism spectrum dysfunction. Iran J Baby Neurol. 2017; 11(1):29-36.

2. Pfeiffer B, Henry A, Miller S, Witherell S. Effectiveness of disc ‘o’ sit cushions on consideration to process in second-grade college students with consideration difficulties. Am J Occup Ther. 2008; 62:274-81.

3. Bagatell N, Mirigliani G, Patterson G, Reyes Y, Check L. Effectiveness of remedy ball chairs on classroom participation in youngsters with autism spectrum issues. Am J Occup Ther. 2010; 64:895-903.

4. Bhat AN, Landa RJ, Galloway JC. Present views on motor functioning in infants, youngsters, and adults with autism spectrum issues. Phys Ther. 2011; 91(7):1116-29.

5. Magro Ok. Ten Inspiring Quotes from Individuals with Autism. Autism Speaks web site. https://www.autismspeaks.org/life-spectrum/10-inspiring-quotes-people-autism. September 4, 2018. Accessed April 25, 2019.



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