Often one of the precursors of children starting to attend and participate in educational settings is that they are ‘able to sit still’. Society interprets a child not being able to sit still as not paying attention, listening and learning. Because everyone’s sensory processing profiles are different, not everyone can sit still to attend. Some people need to move to attend, listen and learn. For example, some people need to walk in order to listen to and talk to another person. Some people feel hazy and sluggish if they sit too long. Children are the same. In normal development, children learn best through moving and doing. They learn by acting on objects and experiencing their environments. Again, like the area of attending and concentrating, the Occupational Therapist supports parents to understand their child’s sensory motor profile and what activities and routines can help the child be an optimal learner. For example, the child may need movement breaks in between table top activities. The child may learn concepts ‘in’, ‘on’, ‘under’ by moving their bodies and objects in a sensory motor environment. The child may benefit from a heavy cushion to provide them with deep pressure while sitting still. They may benefit from a cushion which moves to help them sit on the chair. They may need to have their feet on the floor or foot rest to give them a sense of grounding and stability.
If you have concerns about your child’s ability to sit still and you would like information on how to best support them, please contact us for a consultation.