AlertSeats Make a Difference in Emotional Support Class
Michael Stock was an undergraduate planning a career as a social studies teacher when he had the opportunity to volunteer at the Schuylkill Learning Academy, a school for special education students in Mar Lin, Pennsylvania. After just a few weeks there, he went back to school and changed his major to special education.
The Schuylkill Learning Academy is just such a place: Life changing for Michael Stock, and life changing for the students who are educated there.
In Pennsylvania, where small school districts predominate, many special education services are provided by 29 different Intermediate Units, county-wide or region-wide organizations that provide services that school districts by themselves would be hard pressed to offer.
For Schuylkill County’s 12 school districts, Intermediate Unit #29 offers those services. In addition to sending therapists and specialists into the county’s far flung schools, it operates the Schuylkill Learning Academy where Michael Stock has taught an emotional support class for the last five years.
With 11 students ages seven to nine, students who have exhibited significant behavioral problems in regular classrooms, Michael Stock’s class offers students who struggle in regular classrooms the emotional support they need.
And, because it is in a school organized around providing a wide range of special education services, his students have access to professional help beyond the classroom. Counseling, occupational, physical and speech therapy, day treatment and other services are all under one roof where students with various intellectual and physical challenges get the help they need to succeed in their education.
Being able to offer small classes is one of the elements that makes the Schuylkill Learning Academy work. According to Debra Arnold, the Intermediate Unit’s Director of Special Education, class size ranges from eight to 15 students, and each class is unique according to students’ needs.
One of the things that makes Michael Stock’s class unique is an AlertSeat for every student as analternative to the standard classroom chair.
The AlertSeat™ combines a heavy-duty exercise ball with a zip-off washable cover secured to a sturdy metal base with six legs. While it was designed to help children with developmental or behavioral disorders, it is also being used to good effect in regular classrooms.
Said Ms. Arnold, “AlertSeats are doing well in Mr. Stock’s classroom. They take away the fidgetiness kids have in regular seats.”
According to Gena Rang, an occupational therapist at the Learning Academy, AlertSeats have produced positive changes in the classroom.
“They are used as a privilege, rather than a right,” she said, “and the students are very aware of that.”
“I can see that they (AlertSeats) improve attention span and posture,” added Michael Stock.
Moreover, he said, “The children take ownership of them; they are important to them.”
AlertSeats in Michael Stock’s emotional support class are an experiment, and the experiment seem to be working.
“I would like to see them in more classrooms,” said Gena Rang.
To learn how schools like the Schuylkill Learning Academy and others throughout the country are using the AlertSeat™ and AlertDesk™ in regular and special education classrooms, visit our website at www.alertseat.com and select Product Reviews and Articles.