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  • Writer's pictureEmily Reynolds, MSOTR

Stop the Drop! Why Are Students Falling From Their Chairs?

Why are students falling from their chairs? Let's investigate! “He purposefully falls out of his chair all the time,” says the teacher to the OT. This might sound odd, but this is a frequent concern that I hear from teachers. It can look like kids are misbehaving in class, but is this always the case? Kids aren’t just falling from their chairs within the classroom, it can happen anywhere! The cafeteria, at home, etc.… So what in the world is causing kids to fall out of their seats?

Why are students falling from their chairs

There could be several reasons, but the most likely reason is a poorly functioning vestibular system and/or a retained Tonic Labyrinthine Reflex (TLR). In the classroom, a student is constantly looking up at the front screen, and then down at their desk. With this constant head movement, the kid can lose track of where they are in space, and before they know it, boom! They are on the floor. With the TLR, when the head moves, the body reacts accordingly. Try to think of a time when you felt dizzy and off-kilter. This disorienting feeling is what these kids experience as they are trying their best to control their bodies and learn at the same time!

If the vestibular system is immature, and not functioning properly, likely, not all of the protective reactions in response to losing one’s balance are in place. This means when the kid falls to the floor like a tree that has just been hacked by a lumberjack, they didn’t do it on purpose! They might feel disoriented, insecure, and in disbelief that it just happened. So parents and teachers, please be kind and don’t rush to think that this is a behavioral issue. When normal righting reactions are present a kid should be able to maintain postural stability and maintain control of muscle tone without interference from changing head position.

If your child is above the age of 3 ½ years, and they are still falling frequently whether in a seated or standing position, it might be time to look into the maturity of their vestibular system! Contact ReSprout Therapy today to see how we can help!

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Emily Reynolds, MSOTR  helps kids who fall from their chairs

About the Author:

Emily Reynolds, MSOTR is the founder of ReSprout Therapy. She is a pediatric Occupational Therapist who specializes in neurodevelopment and reflex integration.

Emily loves working with parents and kids to find the source of the problem and create lasting changes that impact daily lives and the long-term future of the child.

ReSprout Therapy finds why kids fall from their chairs


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