Monday, September 26, 2005

Desk/Chair Size

Are the desks all the same size in your classroom?  If so, look at your students.  Have you ever seen such a variety of body shapes and sizes? When it comes to desks and chairs, one size does not fit all!

The chair and desk are the most used items in the classroom.  Just think of the amount of time a student spends at his/her desk.  A little time spent now making adjustments will have big pay offs in attention, written output and overall endurance.  

Look at your students during any desktop task.  Are they sitting on their legs, in order to raise their bodies up? Are their elbows out to the sides with their heads resting on the desktops?  Are their shoulders hiked up as they write?

Chances are that their desks are too high or their chairs are too big.  How do you know what is "just right" if you are not Goldilocks?

Start with the chair.  Feet should be flat on the floor with hips and knees at 90 degree angles. If feet do not rest firmly on the floor, 100% of the student's body weight is supported by a 4 square inch area!  Students should be able to sit with their back touching the back of the chair (be careful of seats that are too deep).  

Once you have the correct chair, check the desk height.  Many students have their arms in a wing position out to the side.  Too high!  The desk top should be 1-2 inches higher that the bent elbow.  

To make adjustments to most Hosmer desks, you only need a large phillips head screw driver (one screw on each desk leg).  Hint...It is a great wrist/hand strengthening activity for the student!    

Check out our new link, Ergonomics for Home and School for an informative article "Everything You Should Know About Ergonomics and Youths, But Were Afraid to Ask." Scroll down to the sections on school workspace and school computer workstations. Families might be interested in sections on homework space, home computer workstations, television and video games, fitness, sports and performing arts.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Backpack Awareness

"Pack it Light, Wear it Right!"

* Aching back and shoulders
* Tingling arms
* Weakened muscles
* Stooped posture

Does your child have these symptoms after wearing a heavy school backpack? Carrying too much weight can lead to pain and strain. How much weight is too much to carry?

A student should never carry more than 15% of his/her body weight. That means a child who weighs 100 pounds shouldn't wear a loaded backpack heavier than 15 pounds.

Strategies for parents and students:
Loading a backpack:
- Load the heaviest items closest to the back (the back of the pack).
- Arrange books and materials so they won't slide around in the backpack.
- On days the backpack is too loaded, your child can hand carry a book or other item.
- Empty out all unnecessary items...don't let it become a dumping ground!

Wearing a pack:
- Both shoulder straps should always be worn. Wearing a pack slung over one shoulder can cause a child to lean to one side, curving the spine and causing pain or discomfort.
- Select a pack with well padded straps. Shoulders and necks have many blood vessels and nerves that can cause pain and tingling in the neck, arms, and hands when too much pressure is applied.
- Adjust the shoulder straps so that the pack fits snugly to the child's back. A pack that hangs loosely from the back can pull the child backwards and strain the muscles.
- The bottom of the pack should rest in the curve of the lower back. It should never rest more than four inches below the child's waistline.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Welcome Back!

Wecome to our new OT Blog. Each month we will post new information related to school function. Check us out!