Could a therapy cushion help your fidgety, distracted child with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD)? Read this therapy cushion review and leave a comment to enter to win one for your family.
by Kay Marner
My daughter, Natalie, who has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD) with some comorbid conditions, starts fifth grade this week. Today, along with all of the kids who will attend Sawyer Elementary School, we will visit her new classroom for an hour to meet her teacher and drop off school supplies. But unlike many of those students, we’ll deliver a few additional things to help Natalie succeed in school. We’ll leave ADD/ADHD medication with the school nurse for Nat to take at 1 p.m. each day, and we’ll drop off a few other important tools in her special education classroom: a variety of fidget toys, some healthy snacks, and an assortment of gum and hard candy. Each of these items relates to the accommodations that are specified in Natalie’s individualized educational plan (IEP). They are all intended to help improve her focus. We’ll also drop off Natalie’s latest favorite therapy product, the Versatile Tactile Cushion, that she received compliments of Fun and Function.
You may have seen similar therapy cushions, or “wiggly seats,” at your child’s school or occupational therapist’s office -- inflatable cushions made of thick plastic that, when placed on a child’s chair, requires them to maintain balance and allows for wiggling. Children can also stand on them. The small muscle adjustments needed to balance help kids develop core strength and are a way of fidgeting to focus. The movement stimulates the ADD/ADHD child’s brain enough to create focus. Wiggling around on the seat does the same thing.
I was familiar with the type of wiggly seat that looks like the top of an exercise ball attached to a flat, circular base, but the Versatile Tactile Cushion is a little bit different. You might say it has added value. One side of the 12-inch cushion is covered with tactile spikes for added sensory stimulation. The other side is smooth. Children can sit or stand on either side or switch back and forth as desired. Rather than having one rounded side like a ball, both sitting surfaces are flat. The accordion-like midsection is inflated, so that sitting or standing on the cushion requires the child to balance. The degree of inflation can be adjusted to fit the child’s needs.
Natalie used her cushion throughout the summer. She sat on it while working with her tutor, Hannah. She stood on it next to her spot at the table as she ate lunch. Sometimes she chose to have the spiky side up; sometimes she preferred the smooth surface. Starting tomorrow, she’ll have the option of using it at school, too.
Would your child benefit from using a Versatile Tactile Cushion at home or at school? In the first of three back-to-school giveaways sponsored by Fun and Function, here is your chance to win one! Leave a comment by midnight on September 31, 2011. Then, check back on my blog on ADDitudeMag.com often to see what other back-to-school tools you could win from Fun and Function.
NOTE: THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED
Contest rules: For a chance to win a Versatile Tactile Cushion from Fun and Function ($24 retail value), you must have left a comment telling us what classroom accommodations your child with ADD/ADHD or other special needs (or an ADHDer you know of) benefits from by midnight on September 30, 2011. Note: To be considered, please log in to leave a comment using a valid e-mail address. Those who do not will not be included in the drawing.