Being a teacher is a very challenging job. In addition to teaching kids necessary educational materials, they are also often in charge of teaching kids life lessons, appropriate behavior, and how to interact with other students.
Many teachers don’t get the thanks or appreciation they deserve from their students, even though they have one of the most difficult jobs. The same is true for in-school therapists and pathologists.
One elementary school speech-language pathologist in Round Lake, Illinois, is finally getting the recognition she deserves after creating an incredibly useful product: a tennis ball chair.
You might be thinking you’ve seen tennis ball chairs before, but you’re probably picturing chairs with tennis balls over the feet to prevent scuffs.
This speech-language pathologist, Amy Maplethorpe, created a chair that uses tennis ball halves to help students with sensory issues.
Amy works at Raymond Ellis Elementary School in the speech and language department. After coming across a similar idea on Pinterest, Amy realized the tennis ball chair could be extremely beneficial to her students.
UPDATE: A previous version of this article claimed that Amy Maplethorpe was a teacher. She is, in fact, a speech-language pathologist, a medical professional who treats communication disorders. The article has been updated to reflect this fact.
[H/T Huffington Post]
After creating the tennis ball chairs and trying them out with her students, Amy’s school posted on Facebook about them.
“Sensory seating is used for students who may have difficulty processing information from their senses and from the world around them,” the school wrote.
“Tennis balls on the seat and backrest provide an alternative texture to improve sensory regulation.
“Students with autism spectrum disorder, Down syndrome, sensory processing disorder, etc. may benefit from this seating option.”
Though students have had different results, Amy has noticed many improvements in students of all different ages and special needs.
“First-grade students that have used the chair, they have become more patient and have followed directions,” Amy told the Huffington Post.
She also noticed that some of her older students like the chairs as well.
After her school posted the picture on Facebook, it immediately blew up — people everywhere loved the idea and couldn’t wait to try it.
“I’m really excited that this has taken off and I’m really excited to see the benefits for students across the country, and educators and parents,” Amy said.
Want to know how to make one of these for your home or classroom? The school also provided simple instructions for these DIY tennis ball chairs.
“Thank you for such the high interest in the tennis ball chairs,” the school wrote in the Facebook post. “It is exciting to hear that they could benefit students across the world!
“The materials used to make the chairs included: a chair, ½ tennis balls, fabric, modge podge, paintbrush/paint sponge, and hot glue.
“First, take a chair and modge podge the seat and backrest and then place fabric over it.
“Next, modge podge over the fabric and wait for it to dry, which takes approximately 20-30 minutes. Then, hot glue tennis balls cut in half to the seat and backrest.
“When that dries, hot glue the excess fabric underneath the seat and behind the backrest to give it an ‘upholstered’ look.
“It may also be helpful to hot glue around the tennis balls one more time for an extra hold. And with that, the chairs are done. Happy creating!”
Would your child benefit from one of these tennis ball chairs?
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