In my class of fidgets, they are gold medal winners in the areas of constant movers. For children, the constant tapping and self-soothing behavior is called stimming. Although this term is often related to autistic related behavior, it refers to self-stimulating patterns or rhythms that soothes a student in the learning process. For any adult dealing with a multitude of noise or pattern, all it takes is getting over the annoyance factor (and maybe some ear plugs).
With stimming, it can bring on a bit of a distracting presence that wasn’t in the environment before, so I suggest working with the behavior and not against it.I know this sounds simple, but what they are presenting to you makes sense to them. It is their normal, so use what they are demonstrating and work with it. For example, I have a student who has fallen over in her chair more times than I count because of the constant toe-tapping she creates by rocking back and forth. Is it annoying to the other students? Yes. Has she distracted the other students in the class even though she is in the back of the room? Yes. However, I wasn’t going to let it affect ME. What she is demonstrating isn’t about ME, and I always have to remember that.
As the adult, I decided to take ME out of it, and remember that this was her normal. So, I had two choices keep her on the current path with what she is presenting with no results, or work with what she is showing me and do something about it. Enter, the greatest adaptive seating method that doesn’t cost a penny.
By simply flipping her seat over, and allowing her to work on her stomach, her act of writing on the chair creates a series of vibrations for her to feel as she writes. In other words, she is actively involved in the learning process and is doing so on her terms. Once again, I chose to work with her normal and make it her own.
Sometimes it’s as easy as helping them have a voice in their learning process, which is what all we want at the end of the day, isn’t it?