Classroom seating for children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: therapy balls versus chairs

Am J Occup Ther. 2003 Sep-Oct;57(5):534-41. doi: 10.5014/ajot.57.5.534.


Objective: The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of therapy balls as seating on in-seat behavior and legible word productivity of students with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Additionally, social validity was assessed to evaluate teacher and student opinions regarding the intervention.

Method: A single subject, A-B-A-B interrupted time series design was employed across 3 students (2 males, 1 female) with ADHD. The study was conducted in a 4th grade inclusive classroom during daily language arts. During phases 1 and 3, the 3 participants and all other class members sat on chairs (in-seat on chair); during phases 2 and 4, everyone sat on therapy balls (in-seat on ball). Dependent variables were in-seat behavior and legible word productivity. Data were graphed and visually analyzed for differences between phases.

Results: Results demonstrated increases in in-seat behavior and legible word productivity for the students with ADHD when seated on therapy balls. Social validity findings indicated that generally the teacher and students preferred therapy balls.

Conclusion: This study provides evidence that use of therapy balls for students with ADHD may facilitate in-seat behavior and legible word productivity.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / rehabilitation*
  • Child
  • Equipment Design
  • Female
  • Handwriting
  • Humans
  • Interior Design and Furnishings*
  • Male
  • Movement
  • Occupational Therapy / instrumentation*
  • Occupational Therapy / methods*
  • Schools
  • Treatment Outcome