Time to Sit down!! How to Position Your Autistic Child

Time to Sit down!! How to Position Your Autistic Child

Many children within the autism spectrum have difficulty sitting and concentrating for long periods of time. They are often distracted by other sensory items such as sound and light, therefore making the learning of other tasks difficult. For instance, if a child is distracted by noise they may not be able to concentrate on the task of using a pegboard to help develop fine motor skills. Finding a way to position and see your autistic child can be very important to their future learning. This needs to be done in a way that makes the child feel safe and comfortable.

The Challenge of Getting Your Autistic Child to Concentrate

Finding the best way to have your autistic child sit and focus can be quite the task for parents, therapists, and teachers. Since autistic children are all different there is no one “best” way to achieve this. The key is to identify what sensory inputs can distract or over stimulate your child and eliminate them when trying to teach a skill or modify a behavior. In a great article written for the autism website autismconsultingandtraining.com, Jennifer Lingle asks a 2 very simple question. When a child with autism behaves in an undesirable manner, what is it they are trying to communicate? And what sensory issues are affecting the child and how can we make it easier for them? By figuring these two things out it may make it easier to help your child calmed down and refocus. Sometimes it’s as simple as just taking a break, using a padded seat, or a weighted lap tray. Sometimes even a little fidget toy can help them calm down, relax, and focus on the task at hand.

Time To Sit

Aids at Your Disposal

Sitting on the floor can be a daunting proposal at best. Often other external sensory stimuli can make autistic children fidgety. The introduction of seating aids can help your child focus. Children’s Factory Educube or Chair Cube can be used as a chair or a table. Each are made from recycled polyethylene and offered to seating heights, 6 or 9 inch height. Other options include the Patterson Medical Tumble Forms 2 Deluxe Floor Sitter which can be used for any short-term activity at home, clinics, or at school. It offers good basic positioning without complicated adjustments and is available in different sizes to accommodate a variety of children. The Maddak Corner Seat/Positioning Aid is designed to promote head and upper extremity control in order to encourage development of fine motor skills. It can even be used in the bathtub and is made of polyethylene and easy to clean. Another great seat for the floor is the Childrite Therapy Seat which is soft and comfortable while remaining sturdy and supportive which makes it comfortable and useful for long periods of time. For children who require additional postural support Special Tomato offers the Soft-Touch Sitter and the Tilt Wedge Base for Soft-Touch Sitter. The sitter is made of a latex free material that is impermeable to liquids, while the wooden base is durable and has been tested above stated weight capacity without any signs of stress.

 Time To Sit

For children in need to be seated either at a desk or a table the use of an adaptive chair might fit the bill. They are for children who have better gross motor skills and are available in a variety of sizes and styles to accommodate a wide range of users. For children in need of a chair in the classroom the Adjustable Classroom Chair can be a solution. It has adjustable foot and pelvis brackets plus a removable clear plastic tray. It also offers a removable knee abductor and has a 75 pound weight limit. The Kaye Kinder Chair is an adjustable seat to securely positioned children in the classroom. It offers multiple adjustments including seat depth, back angle, and foot rest and can be positioned under a 17”-25” preschool table. For children and adolescents that need help with proper hip abduction, the Roll Chair may be able to help. It’s for children and adolescents that have underdeveloped muscle tone and comes in two sizes to fit preschoolers up to adolescents. TherAdapt Products Inc. also offers to seating options for the classroom. The Adjustable Classroom Chair and the Bolster Chair with Tray both offer children seating options that are customizable to their needs. TherAdapt also offers the Posture Chair that positions the child in a semi-kneeling position. It inhibits lower extremity extension and helps improve some gross motor skills to achieve proper posture.

For some children with autism the use of a weighted lap pad is the solution. Skil-Care offers the Weighted Lap Pads for Children to provide deep pressure to help children feel grounded while sitting. They help students stay focused while seated in the classroom and can help reduce fidgeting while in the car or on the school bus. Another option to help children sit still is the Fun and Function Weighted Wipe Clean Lap Pad For High Traffic Kids. It provides soothing weight and reminds children to stay in place. It’s made out of easy to clean vinyl for children that are just a little bit messy. For children that respond positively to this type of sensory input the Weighted Kit is an assembled kit that has a vest, lap pad, animals, beanbags, and a blanket to provide gentle pressure to calm children and allow them to refocus, increasing attention and concentration.

 

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