Teachers don’t always get the recognition they deserve, despite having one of the toughest jobs there is.
But a teacher in Round Lake, Illinois is getting praise from parents and teachers around the world these days. Tey can’t say enough good things about a DIY project she recently did that has helped her students pay attention much better in class.
Tennis ball chairs.
The teacher, Amy Maplethorpe, created the special chairs to help some of her students cope with sensory input in their bodies and environment.
Amy Maplethorpe is a speech language pathologist at Raymond Ellis Elementary School.
When she saw a chair with tennis balls glued to it on the internet, Amy realized that the special chair could transform her classroom.
Amy’s students include children diagnosed with autism, Down Syndrome, and sensory processing disorder.
“Sensory seating is used for students who may have difficulty processing information from their senses and from the world around them,” Amy’s school wrote on Facebook.
“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.”
Since the chairs were introduced, Amy has noticed several improvements.
“First-grade students that have used the chair, they have become more patient and have followed directions,” Amy told the Huffington Post.
Amy has also noted that the chairs are popular among older students.
After Amy’s school posted pictures of tennis ball chairs on Facebook, it has received a flood of positive comments. Many people loved the idea and wrote that they plan to make chairs for their own children.
“I’m really excited that this has taken off and I’m really excited to see the benefits for students across the country, and educators and parents,” says Amy.
Want to know how to make one of these clever chairs? The school wrote simple instructions so you can create your own.
Here are the directions for making tennis ball chairs, courtesy of the Raymond Ellis Elementary School:
“Thank you for the high interest in the tennis ball chairs. It is exciting to hear that they could benefit students across the world! The materials used to make the chairs included: a chair, ½ tennis balls, fabric, modge podge, paintbrush/paint sponge, and hot glue.
1. First, take a chair and modge podge the seat and backrest and then place fabric over it.
2. Next, modge podge over the fabric and wait for it to dry, which takes approximately 20-30 minutes.
3. Then, hot glue tennis balls cut in half to the seat and backrest.
4. When that dries, hot glue the excess fabric underneath the seat and behind the backrest to give it an “upholstered” look.
5. It may also be helpful to hot glue around the tennis balls one more time for an extra hold. And with that, the chairs are done.
6. Happy creating!”
Although I haven’t tested this myself, it looks like a winner if it can help children who have a tough time concentrating at school or at home.
Please share this awesome idea on Facebook if you know someone who might want to try this!
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