In my humble opinion, the actual seating of the child should be evaluated by an occupational therapist to ensure that the child is sitting with his or her feet flat on the floor and that the desk and chair are at the appropriate height for him or her to work as comfortably as possibly. However it is not merely the size and type of chair on which a child is seated that makes a difference to his or her education but also where a child with AD/HD is seated.
Most, if not all, children with ADD or AD/HD are easily distracted. AD/HD children (indeed adults too) can be distracted by external stimuli such as other children, items in the classroom, pictures on the wall, etc. However some children are inwardly distracted and have a tendency to drift off into their own world of thoughts and day dreams. Joe is extremely distracted by external noise and stimuli. However if he is put into a more secluded environment in the hope that external stimuli are so greatly reduced that the tasks set for him will grab his attention, he then becomes distracted inwardly. He sits and chews his nails till they bleed, nips his arms, chews his jumper and taps his pencil. As I sit and observe him in his own little working space I can see his eyes darting from one unseen picture to another as he thinks his thoughts and keeps busy in his own head.
Most books on AD/HD recognize the need for preferred seating for an AD/HD child in order for the child to achieve his or her full potential in the classroom. Those who are distracted by outward stimuli would certainly benefit from a more secluded seating arrangement, away from as many distractions as possible. At the side ofa room (away from a window) can be a more suitable position. Next to a teacher's desk is not advisable as it is often a busy place, approached by other students. It is important to avoid making AD/HD students feel as if they are being punished for merely being themselves. There is nothing Joe hates more than to be singled out and made to sit somewhere else or do something else because of his AD/HD and other related problems.
Seating arrangements for an inwardly distracted student tend to make little difference. Sometimes if such a child is seated next to a particularly motivated child, he or she may be more likely to be kept on task. Usually however, it takes a gentle, regular reminder in order to stop the child from drifting off. Joe's school has set up a 'buddy scheme' whereby other more responsible children help him to be more organized and stay focused.
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