Pros: Can help child remain seated in their chair
Cons: Not readily available in stores - sold mostly online
When my son first started preschool at the age of the three one of the reports from his classroom teacher was that they noted he had some difficulties sitting in a chair during certain structured activities. Instead he preferred to stand at the table (child-sized), sit up on his knees, or otherwise fidget. His attention to the activity was otherwise good for a child his age but sitting was definitely an issue. Similar sitting issues had been noted at home (dinner table) etc, but I had always just figured he would outgrow it and it would improve with time.
The Occupational Therapist who worked with my son at the time had a few suggestions to try which included things like a weighted lap pad or vest, or bumpy seats - either a round disc or a wedge. I agreed they could try whatever they thought would be the most helpful starting with the least "invasive", and so we came to know the Gymnic Disc O'Sit Junior. The school reported success with this so I set out to purchase one on my own. An angel smiled on me because a friend had one of these that she was not currently using with her Autistic child(ren), and so we arranged a trade of sorts. If purchased new they cost around $20 or so.
What is the Disc O'Sit Junior
The Disc O'Sit Junior is a round red inflatable cushion that is 13" in diameter with nubby bumps all over it. There's a white plastic plug that is easily removed for inflation/deflation purposes. You can inflate it with your mouth or a pump. This exact model (junior) is recommended for children approximately to the age of 8. Beyond that, there is an adult version that comes in different colors (I've seen teal, blue, purple) that is identical but 15" in diameter.
The principle of the Disc O'Sit Junior is that it encourages "active sitting" and can help a child who is squirmy "sit still". I'm no expert but the Occupational Therapist that works with my son explained that it "works" with your child when they have the wiggles and promotes good posture and good quiet sitting. The cushion can be used for sitting in a chair or on the floor or as a balance activity (standing on it).
In my son's case it is difficult for him to sit on a hard chair for the 30 minutes or so required to have a quiet meal, work on a table activity at school, etc. However, slip this bumpy disc under his butt and the story changes. Now, whenever he moves or squirms a bit the cushion also moves/adjusts with him. Where before he may have just gotten up and out of the chair, he remains seated upright and all is well in world..err at the dinner table or classroom activity.
We've only let the air out of our cushion one time (for travel), used a pump to reinflate it - and never had problems with air leakage or deflation. Honestly, I figured my son would have this cushion popped in no time at all but its certainly held up extraordinarily well in that department! The Gymnic Disc O'Sit Junior is very durable and made for your child to sit on it - or even stand on the floor on top of it (to improve balance). If the dog got it that would be a different story but this one is pretty kid tough!
We've been using our Gymnic Disc O'Sit Junior for a year now at home and have had great luck with it. At home it seems as if we need to use it less and less - but there is definitely a time and a place for it. At school, my son uses one of these daily for his art therapy class which they report is the only time of day when he tends to get up and down alot from his chair.
Overall, an excellent therapy product that I would have previously doubted its effectiveness. Who would have thought that sitting on a bumpy rubber cushion could do so much good? Hey, whatever works.. right?
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