Big cities and small towns; special needs classes and regular ed; public schools and private: AlertSeats are finding their way into America’s classrooms.
In Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the state’s second largest city, AlertSeats are helping in the Pittsburgh Conroy School, a center-based special education facility serving 165 students ages five to twenty-one who have special needs.
“We use AlertSeats as an alternative to conventional desk chairs,” said occupational therapist Eileen Bigley-Harris. “They provide some students with needed sensory input as they work at their desks/tables…Teachers from our Life Skills Support, Multiple Disabilities Support, and Autistic Support classrooms all provide positive feedback about their AlertSeats.”
Tiny Hillsboro, New Hampshire, is a town that Norman Rockwell might well have conjured. The school district serves just 1,250 children and AlertSeats are used in place of traditional chairs by all 16 students in Terri Carson’s kindergarten class at the Hillsboro-Deering Elementary School there.
The children sit in AlertSeats for academic work, says the teacher, but with New England temperatures below freezing outside for weeks on end, the chairs also serve as an effective way to provide exercise without the risk of frost bite.
AlertSeats™ are being adopted in big cities and small towns. Pittsburgh Conroy School, a special education facility in Pennsylvania’s second largest city, finds that they provide some students with needed sensory input.
A school in tiny Hillsboro, New Hampshire uses AlertSeats in place of traditional seating for all 16 students in one of its kindergarten classes.
Shippensburg Intermediate School in south central Pennsylvania was among the first in the nation to replace conventional chairs with AlertSeats™ in regular classrooms.
In New York City, The IDEAL School, a private K-8 academy on the Upper West Side represents the city’s diversity, not just in terms of race, gender and ethnicity, but in ability, too. According to Tobie Franklin, Director of Learning Support, two-thirds of the school’s students are neurotypical and one-third have learning differences. That includes children with mobility issues, learning difficulties, Down Syndrome, ADHD, or who are on the spectrum.
AlertSeats originally entered the school to help children with fine motor and posture issues, fidgeting and attentiveness. They eventually migrated into classrooms where they are used by both neurotypical students and those with special needs. Some teachers have even discovered the seat’s benefits and use themselves.
While AlertSeats were originally developed to help special needs children, an intermediate school in south central Pennsylvania was among the first in the nation to replace conventional chairs with AlertSeats™ in regular classrooms.
“They have a calming effect on students,” said David Rice, formerly principal of the Shippensburg Intermediate School, and now principal of the Middle School, who made the decision to use the AlertSeats. That means more attention paid to classroom tasks.
With school district budgets strained to the limit, some educators have gotten creative to find the money to pay for AlertSeats. In Portland, Indiana, a farming community, the local ARC chapter stepped up to equip two special education classes at the General Shanks Elementary School with AlertSeats for every child. The Hatboro-Horsham School District in affluent Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, has turned to fund raising, the usual province of private schools, to help meet some of its needs, and those needs right now, as identified by teachers, include AlertSeats.
Jeannie Hagan, Director of Outreach and Communications for Hatboro-Horsham focuses on the many large corporations headquartered in the district’s suburban Philadelphia location. “We’re trying to bring businesses into the schools to see what we do,” she said. “Needs rise and rise and rise, but money doesn’t. If businesses understand our needs they might help.”
You canread moreabout how schools around the country are using AlertSeats in both special and regular classrooms. Their stories might help you decide to try them in your school.