Furniture Deemed Important

The teenager found it uncomfortable to fold his large frame into a classroom desk, so he frequently asked if he could stand. That position helped him feel better, but made it hard for him to attend to academic tasks.

In another classroom, a student needed time to pace the halls under supervision. Her absence from class interrupted instructional time, but addressed certain emotional needs.

ECLC of New Jersey operates two schools that educate students with special needs and it pays particular attention to the sensory requirements of those they serve. For the teenage boy, it meant agreeing to let him stand; for a fidgety student, it meant accommodating the need for movement.

“Behavior is a student’s way of telling us what they need,” said Sharon Luberto, a physical therapist at ECLC.

What the 18-year-old boy needed was a desk that he could stand at. He now has an AlertDesk adjustable standup desk, which he uses for every subject.

“He does so much better now,” said Diane Haderthauer, his teacher.


For a student who found a classroom desk confining, the AlertDesk is the answer.


An AlertSeat provides for movement without disruption and more time on task.


The AlertDesk features a work surface that can be adjusted for height and pitch making it customizable for any student. ECLC also specified optional magnetic work surfaces for its AlertDesks.


The wheelchair versions of the AlertDesk are wider than the standard model.

For children who crave constant movement, ECLC purchased AlertSeats, inflated-ball seats that have zip-off washable covers and are secured into metal frames. The seats allow the children to move – even bounce – without disturbing others in the classroom.

“These chairs keep students in their classrooms, Ms. Luberto said. “They can take movement breaks when they need them and still stay in the lesson.”

Elsewhere, the school provides AlertDesks desks that adjust in height and allow the work surface to tilt to a position that that is most comfortable for a child to work; and a model of the AlertDesk that accommodates a wheel chair.

The special furniture used by ECLC students is manufactured by Newman Adaptive, a Pennsylvania company whose AlertSeats and AlertDesks are used in special education classrooms nationwide.

“We provide plenty of support based in the sensory needs of our students,” Ms. Luberto added, “and the right equipment can be crucial to their day.”

ECLC was formed in 1970 to serve pre-schoolers with special needs. The coming decades would see it expand into an accredited, nonprofit agency that educates students ages 5–21 who have severe learning and/or language disabilities, autism spectrum disorder, Down syndrome or multiple disabilities. Today, ECLC offers “Education, Careers & Lifelong Community” to more than 800 children and adults with special needs.

ECLC are located in Chatham, a community of 9,000 people in Morris County, New Jersey, and Ho-Ho-Kus, a borough with 4,000 residents in Bergen County. Both communities are within the commuter belt of New York City. ECLC serves 11 counties across central and northern New Jersey.

Recognizing that their students need support after their years of schooling end, ECLS has two post-school programs that serve special need adults. Community Personnel Services (CPS) provides post-graduate transition services and job placements; and the P.R.I.D.E. (“Promoting Responsibility Independence Decision-Making and Employability”) program offers pre-vocational training, independent living skills and community integration for ECLC graduates and others.

“ECLC chose the special desks and seating manufactured in the USA by Newman Adaptive to meet their students’ classroom needs.”

“We’re always looking for the next thing, the cutting edge, in order to help our students thrive,” Ms. Luberto said.

To learn how schools like ECLC of New Jersey and others throughout the country are using the AlertSeat™ and AlertDesk™ in regular and special education classrooms, visit our website at and select Product Reviews and Articles.

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