Wiggles in Desk

Wiggles, squirms and falls out of desk

Possible reasons behind what you’re observing

  • he may have trouble knowing/remembering where his body is
  • he may have low muscle tone that makes it hard for him maintain himself in an upright position for extended periods of time
  • distracted/attentional – he may become so preoccupied with what he’s doing that he doesn’t notice how close to the edge of the seat he’s come
  • lack of coordination – most kids are able to recover   their balance when they’re near the edge but he may  have trouble righting himself quickly

Some things to try

  • body breaks may help – give him a legitimate reason to get out of his seat and walk around – this could be to sharpen a pencil, get a drink, retrieve his book from a different location, hand out papers for the teacher, assist another child, work at a table, read in a different chair, take a note to the office
  • allowing him to deliberately change his position and move will help keep him more alert and his body less fatigued
  • when possible, invite him to sit in the beanbag chair to read (or even write if you can give him a clipboard or lap board)
  • writing on a horizontal plain is tiring for the hand and forearm – he might do better if he writes on a slant board
  • a 4” binder placed on it’s side will create a surface similar to that of a slant board
  • allow him to write on the white board/chalk board, chart paper stand or an easel
  • let him lie on his stomach on the floor to do his written work
  • try having him sit on a therapy ball at a table rather than at his desk to do some written work – the ball requires kids to balance and use different muscles to keep upright – this could strengthen his trunk muscles or just using the different muscles could help
  • therapy balls can have a calming but also alerting effect on some students
  • another cheap thing to try is either a child’s beach ball or floatation ring that you’d buy at a Dollar Store – blow either of them up slightly, perhaps an inch or two of air and put this on his desk chair – sitting on this give extra proprioceptive information to the body and uses muscles similar to that required by a therapy ball
  • try draping velcroed ankle weights (just one or two pounds) across his lap during seat work time or during circle time – the added feeling of weight can have a settling effect for some children – but use weights for no longer than 20 minutes or so at a time otherwise the body becomes accustomed to that degree of weight and it’ll lose its effectiveness
  • if using weights, take them off and don’t use them again for perhaps the next hour to hour and a half
  • try placing the weights around his ankles
  • do you have a weighted vest you could try?
  • an Occupational Therapist has a wealth of information to offer


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