Students who require support for their varying exceptionalities need furnishings that are just that – varied. Many different exceptionalities tend to be grouped together in one classroom, making flexibility a paramount concern. But as we understand more about what these learners need to succeed, we are able to create furniture and equipment that provide comfort, support, and an effective learning environment for them.
In special education, movable walls and barriers can be invaluable. Students often need to work on a 1-on-1 basis with support staff or aides. Also, in some exceptionalities, the student can be hypersensitive and easily distracted. Even folding barriers that go on top of an existing desk can serve the purpose.
Comfort and support
Seating plays an important role in the special education classroom. Some exceptionalities call for the student to be able to move, so standing desks, ball chairs, and chairs that rock can make a difference. Others, such as those on the autism spectrum, need seating that respects their spatial boundaries and provides physical support, such as soft chairs and beanbags.
Audio and video technologies have come a long way in today’s digital world, making auditory and visual exceptionalities easier and less intrusive to support. Bluetooth headphones and handheld devices can bring the information directly to the student’s workspace without disturbing other students. Make sure to protect these technology investments with equipment that can charge devices and hold them hands-free.
Many exceptionalities are sensitive to light, sound, and touch. Providing opportunities to either minimize or explore these senses can go a long way toward a harmonious and productive classroom. Use many different fabrics and materials as well as lighting much dimmer than fluorescents. For example, the Experia USA Superactive Sensory Room.
This article is a summary of “Create productive spaces for special learners.” from our 2017 Projects by Design Idea Book.
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