Sensory Chairs for Active Seating with Autism and ADHD: A Guide

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Sensory chairs can help children and adults with autism, ADHD, anxiety, and/or sensory processing disorder to focus at work and school. For neurodivergent people, our environment is extremely important to our success. Addressing our sensorimotor needs can help us to self-regulate and prevent meltdowns and panic attacks. As an autistic adult, I want to help empower neurodivergent people of all ages to support our unique skills and challenges. I hope this in-depth guide to sensory chairs can help you evaluate the wide variety of options available and choose the right active seating for your needs.

Our Sensory Chair Top Picks

These are our top recommendations for sensory chairs — all recommended and used by neurodiverse adults and kids.

1. Best Sensory Chair for Office and Computer:

2. Best Sensory Chair for Classrooms:

  • Wobble Stool — Encourages children with high distractibility, sensory challenges, or ADHD to get their wiggles out while remaining in their seat, helping them stay seated longer and focus better.

3. Best Sensory Chair Add-On for School Desks:

  • Wobble Cushion — This portable version of the wobble stool can be used with school desks or added to any chair to help autistic and ADHD kids and adults fidget in a healthy way while staying focused.

4. Best Sensory Chair Beanbag:

  • Moon Pod — The world's most comfortable relaxation chair for all ages. A perfect place to recover from autism meltdowns, sensory overload, panic attacks, and all the other stresses of neurodivergent life.

5. Best Therapeutic Compression Sensory Seating:

  • Peapod Sensory Chair — This therapeutic chair embraces you in a hug to aid in sensory regulation. It can fit 2 to 3 children or 1 adult.

6. Best Floor Rocking Chair:

  • X Rocker — Rocking is a natural stim for many people with autism and ADHD, and this rocking sensory chair is perfect for studying or gaming.

 

Contents show

How Sensory Chairs Work

Sensory chairs can help children and adults with ADHD, autism, other neurological conditions, and even neurotypical people to focus while working or studying. Sensory chairs provide various forms of movement and sensory stimulation to the person who sits on them. They may wobble or rock, spin, and/or provide compression or the feeling of being hugged. Each of these sensations can fulfill our natural human needs for movement and fidgeting, which can be magnified in people with sensory processing conditions such as autism, ADHD, sensory processing disorder, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, and more.

Multiple research studies show that using a stability ball can improve children’s performance in the classroom. For example, a study published in the American Journal of Occupational Therapy found that fourth and fifth-grade students who used a stability ball in the classroom showed increased levels of attention, decreased levels of hyperactivity, and increased time on task. Teachers also noticed these differences and preferred the stability balls compared to regular classroom chairs.

Another study of active seating published in The Physical Educator compared three groups of sixth-grade students in math classrooms in Minnesota. One group did no physical exercise during the class, another had two 5-minute physical activity breaks during class, and the third class used stability balls. Both classes that engaged in physical activity demonstrated improved standardized test scores, but the class using stability balls improved the most compared to the other groups.

ENOVI Starfish Ball Chair, Yoga Ball Chair Exercise Ball Chair Ergonomic Design...
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-13% Trideer Ball Chair Yoga Ball Chair Exercise Ball Chair with Base for...
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Last update was on: February 24, 2024 5:30 AM

How to Choose the Right Sensory Chair

When choosing a sensory chair for yourself or your child, here are several important factors to consider.

1. Choose a seat that meets their individual sensory needs.

Each neurodivergent person has different sensory needs that should be taken into account. For example, some people are hypersensitive and certain forms of movement may bother them, while others are hyposensitive and may need additional proprioceptive input to thrive.

2. Decide how you will use the sensory chair and the goals you want the chair to help accomplish.

Consider the types of sensory input that help you or your loved one achieve the goals for which you are purchasing the sensory chair. Many sensory chairs are designed to increase focus and provide an outlet for fidgeting, but others may be used to provide calming sensations and prevent or defuse a meltdown.

3. Be sure to consider the person's general physical ability and balance.

Not all sensory chairs work for all people. For example, children and adults with hypotonia or spasticity may have difficulty balancing on a wobble stool or stability ball. If they're struggling not to fall, that will make it hard to concentrate. For people with impaired physical coordination, a supportive chair combined with bouncy bands, foot fidgets, or handheld fidget toys may be a better option. If you’re considering a beanbag chair or other calming chair for someone with limited mobility, make sure it is soft enough to provide comfort but not so soft that the child or adult can’t climb out of it easily.

4. Use multiple types of seating as part of an overall sensory-friendly environment.

You may find that having multiple seating options works best for yourself or your child, depending on the task at hand, the person's mood, and the general sensory environment. Speaking of which, sensory chairs work best when combined with an overall environment that is conducive to sensory regulation. Using noise-canceling headphones and soothing sensory lighting can help create a space where it’s easy to focus and remain calm.

Sensory Chairs We Recommend

I've gathered a variety of sensory seating, going beyond the usual active chairs you may have seen elsewhere to help you find the right solution for yourself or a loved one. 

Sensory Chairs for Work and Studying

These sensory chairs are perfect for the office, working from home, or doing homework.

Ball Chairs and Stability Balls

Yoga ball office chairs are popular with adults and teens who want to stay active and focused while working at a desk. If you prefer extra balance support, choose a chair with a back. If you need to move around more, a backless stability ball chair may be your ideal work seating.

Gaiam 610-6002RTL Balance Ball Chair - Classic Yoga Ball Chair with 52cm Stability Ball, Pump & Exercise Guide for Home or Office, Black

9 used from $55.28
Free shipping
Amazon.com
as of February 24, 2024 5:30 AM

Gaiam Kids Balance Ball Chair - Classic Children's Stability Ball Chair, Alternative School Classroom Flexible Desk Seating for Active Students with Satisfaction Guarantee, Blue/Green

2 new from $64.99
3 used from $63.65
Free shipping
Amazon.com
as of February 24, 2024 5:30 AM

Gaiam Balance Ball Chair Stool, Half-Dome Stability Ball Adjustable Swivel Rolling Chair Drafting Stool for Desks in Office, Classroom, Doctors, Physicians, Massage Therapists, Salons - Black 23

2 new from $74.56
2 used from $71.45
Free shipping
Amazon.com
as of February 24, 2024 5:30 AM

Gaiam Kids Peanut Bounce Desk Chair - Exercise Yoga Balance Stability Sitting Ball - Sensory Toys for Autistic Children - Flexible Seating for School or Classroom, Wiggle Seat for Boys and Girls

2 new from $19.99
3 used from $16.23
Free shipping
Amazon.com
as of February 24, 2024 5:30 AM

Upaloop Fitness Seat Stool Chair for Stability Balance Yoga Office School Wellness Active Sitting

Amazon.com
as of February 24, 2024 5:30 AM

Safco Products Zenergy Ball Chair, Black, Low Profile, Active Seating,23.0 H x 22.5 L x 22.5 W

45 new from $142.49
Free shipping
Amazon.com
as of February 24, 2024 5:30 AM

CoreChair Tango Ergonomic Active-Sitting Office Chair | Patented Design to Promote Movement to Build Core Strength and Posture (Blue)

Amazon.com
as of February 24, 2024 5:30 AM

Kneeling Chair

Kneeling chairs are an ergonomic form of seating that some fidgeters may find more comfortable. They also allow the user to rock back and forth, a sensation many autistic people (including me) enjoy. 

Sleekform Austin Kneeling Chair - Home Office Ergonomic Computer Desk Stool For Active Sitting

2 new from $229.99
Free shipping
Amazon.com
as of February 24, 2024 5:30 AM

Active Stools and Chairs

Active seats, also known as wobble stools, are popular in classrooms to support students with ADHD and autism, but can be used by neurodiverse people of all ages. They are best for kids and adults who have good balance, and may not be suited for those with physical disabilities or conditions such as dyspraxia that affect coordination.

Studico ActiveChairs Kids Wobble Chair, Flexible Classroom Seating Improves Focus, Posture & Helps ADHD/ADD. Get The Wiggles Out, Active Fidget Desk Chairs, Pre-Teen 17.75" Stool, Ages 7-12, Blue

2 new from $84.99
Free shipping
Amazon.com
as of February 24, 2024 5:30 AM

ECR4Kids SitWell Wobble Stool, Adjustable Height, Active Seating, Orange

2 new from $78.90
Free shipping
Amazon.com
as of February 24, 2024 5:30 AM

Adjustable Height Active Learning Stool - Padded Office Desk Chair with Rocking, Wobble, Tilting Motion - Grey

Amazon.com
as of February 24, 2024 5:30 AM

 

Sensory Chairs and Accessories for School Classrooms

These sensory chairs and accessories are designed to work with typical desks in school classrooms. 

Wobble Cushions 

Stuck with regular school desks? A wobble cushion turns them into instant fidget chairs. Plus, since the frame of the desk is stable, a wobble seat may be a better option for kids with developmental coordination disorders or balance issues.

Senseez Vibrating Sensory Cushions

These sensory cushions provide tactile and proprioceptive feedback for sensory seekers and help them focus in distracting environments. 

Senseez Calming Cushion for Kids - Bumpy Turtle

Last update was on: February 24, 2024 5:30 AM

Special Needs Essentials FocusPad Seat (Blue Circle) | Vibrating Cushion | Calming Pillow for Sensory Kids | 9.5 in x...

Free shipping
Last update was on: February 24, 2024 5:30 AM

Special Supplies Vibrating Pillow Sensory Pressure Activated for Kids and Adults, 12” x 12” Plush Minky Soft Cover with Textured...

Free shipping
Last update was on: February 24, 2024 5:30 AM

Bouncy Bands and Foot Fidgets

Foot fidgets can be used with or without sensory chairs, and allow people to stim while keeping their hands free for typing, writing, or holding a book. Bouncy bands attach to school desks to help kids who tap their feet and/or struggle to stay in their seats during class. You can attach them to dining chairs at home, too! 

Bouncyband Wiggle Feet, Dark Blue, 12” x 15” x 2.5” – Foot Fidget Cushion, Sensory and ADHD Tools Can Help You Stay on Task Longer - Alleviate Anxiety/Stress, Hyperactivity and Boredom

Amazon.com
as of February 24, 2024 5:30 AM

The Original Bouncy Bands® for Desks (Black) - Children Love Bouncing Their feet and Feeling The Tension to Relieve Their Anxiety, hyperactivity, Frustration, or Boredom.

2 new from $18.99
Free shipping
Amazon.com
as of February 24, 2024 5:30 AM

Dikdoc Foot Rest for Under Desk at Work, Home Office Foot Stool, Ottoman Foot Massager for Plantar Fasciitis Relief, Soft Silicone Footrests, Anti-Fatigue Fidget Toy (Orange)

Amazon.com
as of February 24, 2024 5:30 AM

 

Moon Pod Sensory Chair

Moon Pod sensory chair -- woman relaxing and wearing headphones.

The Moon Pod is like a bean bag, but so much better. The unique custom beads inside create a zero-gravity experience so you feel like you're floating on a cloud. Plus, the single version is only 12 pounds, compared to the 45 pounds of a typical beanbag, so it's easy to move it from room to room or out of the way if you need extra floor space. Although it's more expensive than a standard beanbag, it is well worth the price, plus we've got an excellent discount code below. I sit in my Moon Pod when I'm in an autistic shutdown or on the verge of a meltdown and it really helps!

Click here and enter code PARTNER25 at checkout to get 25% off sitewide!

Moon Pod
Moon Pod
Filled with responsive high-density beads, Moon Pod mimics the sensations of Flotation Therapy, which has been known to help reduce stress and anxiety.
Super Moon Pod
Super Moon Pod
Double your comfort with this Moon Pod that's big enough for two!

 

Beanbag Sensory Chairs

Beanbag chairs naturally fit to the body, helping to calm neurodivergent kids and adults who are overstimulated by stress or too much sensory input. Big Joe makes a beanbag chair for any size and need, and they offer both traditional bean and foam fillings. 

Big Joe Beanbag Chairs

Big Joe Fuf XXL Foam Beanbag Chair Navy Plush

Free shipping
Last update was on: February 24, 2024 5:30 AM

Big Joe Milano Bean Bag Chair, Navy Smartmax, 2.5ft

2 used from $49.48
Free shipping
Last update was on: February 24, 2024 5:30 AM

Big Joe Dorm Bean Bag Chair with Drink Holder and Pocket, Sapphire Smartmax, 3ft

2 used from $52.15
Free shipping
Last update was on: February 24, 2024 5:30 AM

Big Joe Foam Beanbag Chair, Imperial Fufton, Gray Plush

Free shipping
Last update was on: February 24, 2024 5:30 AM

Big Joe Fuf Large Foam Filled Bean Bag Chair with Removable Cover, Black Lenox, 4ft Big

4 used from $83.12
Free shipping
Last update was on: February 24, 2024 5:30 AM

More Beanbag Chairs

Sofa Sack - Plush Ultra Soft Bean Bags Chairs for Kids, Teens, Adults - Memory Foam Beanless Bag Chair with...

Last update was on: February 24, 2024 5:30 AM

Sofa Sack - Plush Ultra Soft Bean Bags Chairs For Kids, Teens, Adults - Memory Foam Beanless Bag Chair with...

Last update was on: February 24, 2024 5:30 AM

Jaxx 6 Foot Cocoon - Large Bean Bag Chair for Adults, Charcoal

Free shipping
Last update was on: February 24, 2024 5:30 AM

Sofa Sack - Plush Bean Bag Sofas with Super Soft Microsuede Cover - XL Memory Foam Stuffed Lounger Chairs for...

Free shipping
Last update was on: February 24, 2024 5:30 AM

Hugging Sensory Chair

Deep pressure stimulation can be tremendously helpful for children and adults on the autism spectrum. Temple Grandin had to invent her own “hug box,” but today we have weighted blankets and vests — and these sensory chairs that feel like you're sitting in a hug.

Bouncyband Large Comfy Peapod Sensory Chair – Blue – 80” – Fun, Inflatable Peapod Chair Provides Therapeutic Sensory Relief and Compression – Fits 2-3 Kids or 1 Adult, Includes Electric Air Pump

Amazon.com
as of February 24, 2024 5:30 AM

ZINUS Lotus Zero Gravity Chaise Lounger / Foam Recliner for Living Room / Ergonomic Positioning for Better Relaxation / Pillow Included / No Assembly

3 new from $182.99
Free shipping
Amazon.com
as of February 24, 2024 5:30 AM

Sensory Chairs for Rocking

Rocking is a natural, healthy, and comforting stimming behavior for people on the autism spectrum — and neurotypical people too. Rocking can help reduce stress, prevent autism meltdowns, calm kids and adults who are experiencing panic attacks, and so much more.  

Rocking Chair

You really can't go wrong with a classic rocking chair. Here are a few indoor and outdoor rockers I like — and a glider if you prefer your sensory chair to have a sliding motion with less bouncing. 

Cedar Adirondack Rocking Chair - Handmade by Ozark Mountain Furniture

★★★★★
Etsy.com
as of February 18, 2024 12:16 AM

Angel Line Windsor Glider and Ottoman, Natural and Gray

2 new from $139.98
Free shipping
Amazon.com
as of February 24, 2024 5:30 AM

Christopher Knight Home Selma Acacia Rocking Chairs with Cushions, 2-Pcs Set, Teak Finish

3 new from $146.24
Free shipping
Amazon.com
as of February 24, 2024 5:30 AM

Climbing Arch Rocker

This multi-functional furniture for toddlers can be used for climbing and developing coordination. Then just flip it over and with the included pillow, it becomes a comfortable rocker.

4 pieces Montessori Climbing Set - Climbing Arch/Rocker - Climbing/Sliding Ramp - XL Rocker Cushion

★★★★★
Etsy.com
as of February 18, 2024 12:16 AM

Floor Rocker for Gaming or Studying

Floor rockers are usually associated with playing video games, and they're great for that purpose, but they can also be used for reading and studying. Some feature built-in speakers with Bluetooth, so you can listen to guided meditation or your favorite lo-fi chill beats.    

Factory Direct Partners - 10488-BL -10488 Soft Floor Rocker - Cushioned Ground Chair for Kids Teens and Adults - Great for Reading, Gaming, Meditating, TV - Blue

Amazon.com
as of February 24, 2024 5:30 AM

X Rocker I Emerald Floor Rocker Gaming Chair I 2.0 Wired Audio System, Headrest-Mounted Speakers I RGB LED Design I Foldable Sleek, Rocking, Reclines Design I Black

6 used from $106.44
Free shipping
Amazon.com
as of February 24, 2024 5:30 AM

Sensory Seating for Bouncing

Children and adults who are hyperactive and/or sensory-seeking often love to bounce. A simple ball with a handle can fulfill this need and is safer than a trampoline.

Bouncy Balls

AppleRound Space Hopper Ball with Air Pump: 20in/50cm Diameter for Ages 7-9, Hop Ball, Kangaroo Bouncer, Hoppity Hippity Hop, Jumping Ball, Sit and Bounce

Amazon.com
as of February 24, 2024 5:30 AM

WALIKI Adult Size Hopper Ball | Jumping Ball | Hopping Ball | Bouncy Ball with Handles | Blue 29”

Amazon.com
as of February 24, 2024 5:30 AM

Egg Sensory Chair

I love vintage design, and a comfortable retro egg chair is a great place to decompress from sensory overload.

Ulax Furniture Wicker Egg Chair Nest Basket Indoor/Outdoor Lounger for Patio, Backyard, Living Room, Swivel Egg Chair with Cushion, Beige

Amazon.com
as of February 24, 2024 5:30 AM

Stylish Swivel Egg Chair, Unique Chair, Decor Furnitures, Tv Chair, Lounge Chair, Light Color Stylish Chair, Livingroom Bedroom Furniture,

Etsy.com
as of February 18, 2024 12:16 AM

Sensory Swings

Looking for sensory swings? We have an entire article devoted to them here.

Do you have favorite sensory chairs we should add to this guide?

Let us know in the comments.

More Neurodiversity & Autism Resources in The Ability Toolbox

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Hey I'm Olivia and I'm a proud Autistic woman. My special interests are cats, stim toys, and electronic music! I love to write and help other Autistic adults find ways to enjoy life in this LOUD world!

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Dr. Wilson graduated from Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science and completed her residency in Internal Medicine at Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital in Barrington, IL. Dr. Wilson specializes in providing culturally competent and trauma-informed care to patients with physical disabilities. In addition to her private practice, she works as a science communicator, teaching health literacy to middle school and high school students in her local school district. 

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