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Flex Seating in the Classroom Benefits Kids with Disabilities

Remember the days of classrooms that had one seating plan? Usually, the desks were all facing the front and set in rigid rows. But, those days are long gone. Instead, classroom teachers are choosing collaborative setups, such as clustered desks. What’s more, is that some teachers are choosing flex seating in the classroom. Consequently, this shift in classroom management may help kids with disabilities to learn.

In this article, we will:

  • Explain flex seating in the classroom
  • Explore the theory behind flex seating and how it helps kids with disabilities
  • List the pros and cons of flex seating
  • List flex seating options

What is Flex Seating?

Flex seating in the classroom involves the use of creative seating options. In fact, flexible seating in the classroom turns the idea of rows and rows of desks on its head.

How does flex seating in the classroom help kids with disabilities?

The theory behind flexible seating is simple. Namely, the idea is that when kids are comfortable in their environment, they will learn better. So, kids with learning disabilities may benefit from the increased focus that results from having seating that suits them. As well, allowing kids with disabilities to choose their own seating option is empowering. Lastly, flex seating is a great option for kids with autism, sensory issues, or ADHD. For example, some flex seating is designed to stimulate students’ sense of touch. This is important since sensory stimulation can help kids focus and process info.

Flex Seating in the Classroom: Pros

  • Freedom of choice empowers kids by letting them choose where they work
  • There is a wide variety of choice to encourage decision making in young kids
  • Kids learn responsibility and to choose seats that work for them
  • Increased comfort allows kids to focus on the task at hand – learning!
  • Flex seating in the classroom encourages movement and physical activity
  • Kids learn to share and reason when there is no assigned seating

Flex Seating in Classrooms: Cons

  • It can be hard to sell to parents
  • Flex seating is sometimes more distracting than helpful for students with disabilities
  • Often the budget for fun seating options is non-existent, so teachers end up personally funding the efforts
  • Fighting over seats is bound to happen
  • Some seating options may not be accessible for all students

Flex Seating Options

The only limit to flex seating options in the classroom is imagination. But, to help get you started, we’ve included a list of popular flex seating options!

  • Bean bag chairs and cushions
  • Sofas or futons
  • Barstools and risers that raise desks for use with barstools
  • Exercise balls
  • Rocking chairs and gliders
  • Basket chairs
  • Patio swings and outdoor furniture
  • Milk crates with cushions on top
  • Indoor tents or teepees
  • Benches
  • And of course, desks and chairs!

Flex Seating in Classrooms: Solutions

Flex seating is a unique classroom option with many benefits. However, some parents or teachers see the list of cons and feel unsure. However, while there are cons, there are also a number of simple solutions for each issue. For example:

  • Use information to help parents understand the benefits of flex seating. Better yet, invite them to the classroom to see it in action!
  • Guide students with disabilities to make good choices when selecting a seat. This will ensure that distractions are kept to a minimum. They’ll eventually learn what works for them and start making better choices independently.
  • Funding for flex seating may be available. Ensure that your school board can cover the expense before committing to a flex seating classroom.
  • Create a schedule for popular seats! This reduces fights, and it may also help reduce anxiety for kids who get stressed over making choices.
  • If a seating option isn’t accessible for a kid, ensure that there are many options that are.

Flex seating represents a shift in classroom management. Importantly, flex seating may help kids with disabilities learn better by providing freedom of choice and seating options that may be more appropriate. Furthermore, a small change in the classroom seating style has a big impact for learners with disabilities. Flex seating in the classroom also gives all kids more choice in their education. So, don’t be wary of flex seating. Flex seating may have the power to transform seating arrangements and learning experiences alike!