In early childhood special education, promoting independence is a key goal, and one important milestone is independent sitting. Independent sitting not only enhances student’s physical development but also supports their cognitive and social skills. For students with special needs, achieving this milestone may require tailored strategies and support. In this blog post, we’ll explore five effective ways to promote independent sitting in early childhood special education. Happy Reading!
Structured Seating Activities
Start with structured seating activities that encourage students to sit for short periods. Engaging activities include crafts, manipulative, put in toys, toys that light up or toys that have music. Gradually increase the duration of these activities over time. This helps students build tolerance for sitting and strengthens their core muscles.
Adaptive Seating and Positioning
Use engaging materials like cushions, carpet dots, bean bags, or adaptive seating devices that provide support and comfort for the student. Collaborate with occupational therapists to identify appropriate adaptive seating and positioning equipment specific for that students if they require it.
These may include special chairs, wedges, or orthopedic supports. Ensure that the seating arrangement is customized to the child’s specific needs and comfort, providing the right balance between support and space.
Sensory Integration Activities
Incorporate sensory integration activities into the daily routine. Activities such as swinging, rocking, or using sensory cushions can improve body awareness and balance, making sitting more manageable Consult with an occupational therapist or sensory specialist to design activities that cater to the child’s sensory preferences and needs. Check out this blog here for ideas on creating sensory bins.
In addition, I use tape to create borders/boundaries for students who may need that visual. In addition, picture supports help reinforce the expectation that they should be sitting.
Functional Play and Games
Introduce play and games that require sitting as part of their function. This can include activities like building with blocks, puzzles, light up toys or engaging in pretend play. By making sitting an integral part of enjoyable activities, students are more likely to develop the motivation and skills necessary to sit independently.
During our afternoon meeting, my goals is to have my students’ so engaged that they stay seated in their cube chairs. I engage them by singing fun songs, using puppets and playing games.
Progressive Goal Setting
This one is very important! Set achievable goals for each child’s independent sitting development. These goals should be personalized and broken down into manageable steps. Remember their age and where they are developmentally should be taken into consideration. More information on assesment that hel you gather more information here.
Moreover, while a -three year old may be able to sit for 5 minutes with 0 problem behavior another may only be able to sit for 2 minutes and that is the best he/she can do. This step is crucial as a special education teacher. Each student expectations should be set for them as an individual.
Finally, celebrate every milestone achieved, no matter how small, to boost the student’s confidence and motivation to continue working on independent sitting.
Promoting independent sitting in early childhood special education requires patience, tailored strategies, and a collaborative approach involving educators, therapists, and caregivers. By providing structured activities, adaptive seating, sensory integration, functional play, and setting progressive goals, student with special needs can make significant strides towards achieving this essential milestone.
Remember that each child is unique, and progress may vary, but with dedicated support and individualized strategies, the journey towards independent sitting are rewarding for both student and teacher.