A few tennis balls, some hot glue, and neon paint are making a big difference for students with sensory seeking disorders in one primary school in Illinois.
Amy Maplethorpe is a speech pathologist at Raymond Ellis Elementary School. She works with students who have disabilities, some of whom have a hard time processing information from their senses. She created sensory seats to help these students, by cutting tennis balls in half and gluing them to school chairs that she had painted neon green.
"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," the school wrote in a Facebook post about the chairs.
People think it's a brilliant idea. As of writing, the school's post has been shared more than 90,000 times and thousands of people have commented, sharing their experiences with kids who are sensory seeking.
"My autistic daughter, who is also sensory seeking, will purposely stand in bowls of legos or wooden blocks," one commenter wrote. "Sometimes there is no telling what will calm a sensory seeking child."
Like standing in Legos did for that girl, sitting on the tennis ball chair has calmed Maplethorpe's students.
“First-grade students that have used the chair, they have become more patient and have followed directions,” Maplethorpe told The Huffington Post. She told HuffPo that one student with autism runs his hand over the tennis balls to get the sensory information he needs.
We're glad that Maplethorpe's students have a teacher who is so innovative and cares so much. It's a simple solution that makes a big difference in these kids' experience at school.