Those of you with fidgety kids know how annoying it is during mealtimes and homework watching your child fall off their chair, rock back in their chair, or stand on their chair. Some kids are really challenged to remain sitting, so one of the strategies we frequently recommend to parents and teachers for home and school use includes sitting on a cushion. While in the past I’ve mainly recommended inflatable seat cushions, Senseez recently contacted me about their unique, vibrating seat cushion.
When the Senseez cushion is sat on, there is a small vibrating unit housed inside. With pressure by either sitting on or hugging the cushion, it will vibrate. The vibration stops when the pressure subsides. Most of the children at school who have tried the cushion have loved it and asked for it from week to week. Every single child has also been intrigued by the vibrating concept and had to unzip the cushion to inspect the unit inside.
Vibration itself is a powerful form of sensory input for children that may have a diagnosis of Autism or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). These particular children enjoy and require sensory input of various intensities to attend and focus on learning activities. However, the challenge is that because all of our sensory needs are different, what works for one child may not work for another. So as occupational therapists we frequently have a bag of tricks that allow children to trial various strategies like cushions, fidget toys and physical exercises in order to find the right combination of what works for a child’s individual needs.
During one-on-one sessions children have enjoyed placing the Senseez cushion on their classroom chair, as well as sitting on it while also seated in a beanbag chair. For one student who has tended to wander within the classroom setting and frequently stands to complete work, when working individually, she was able to sit for a longer period of time to complete an activity by using the Senseez cushion.
The first day I used the cushion, several students (2-3), used it for 20 minutes during their OT sessions, the batteries were drained and the unit malfunctioned. The company quickly sent out a replacement unit and I haven’t had any difficulties with the second unit. The seat does make a humming noise, which is reminiscent of an airplane flying overhead in the distance. In noisy environments it can’t be heard, but in a quiet classroom with children working, it can be noticeable to those nearby, which could be distracting in a classroom situation. The outside of the cushion is vinyl, making it easily sanitized with disinfectant wipes, which makes this a better choice than a vibrating pillow in terms of using it with many children at school or if you decide to take it with you to a restaurant or use it at the table where food may spill on it.
Senseez provided me with a free sample to facilitate this review. Their pillows come in a variety of shapes and colors, and they retail for $39.99. Here’s a video so you can see the seat cushion in action.