The Effects of Stability Ball Chairs for Students Identified with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder: An Evaluation of Changes in On-task, In-seat and Work Productivity Behaviors in a Special Education Classroom

Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)


School Psychology

First Advisor

Pratt, Jamie

Second Advisor

Williams, Danielle

Third Advisor

Wickerd, Garry


PsyD; Behavior; Stability ball; Sensory regulation


Much of what we know about the effects of alternative seating on student behavior in classrooms comes from the field of occupational therapy, which interprets effects from the lens of sensory regulation (Schilling et al., 2003). Although students with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) are often provided alternative seating options as a first-line intervention, there is limited evidence supporting positive outcomes (Gochenour & Poskey, 2017). The research that does support the effectiveness of alternative seating typically assumed that an observed decrease in out-of-seat behavior would correspond to an increase in student engagement (Schilling et al., 2003; Gochenour & Poskey, 2017). In addition, many of the initial studies relied on indirect measures, failed to utilize strong experimental designs, and did not consistently replicate results across subjects (Schilling et al., 2003; Fedewa & Erwin, 2011). The present study aimed to address the limitations of prior research by examining the effects of stability chair access on on-task, in-seat, and work productivity behaviors exhibited by two students identified with ADHD. A multiple baseline across participants design was utilized to determine if access to a stability ball chair during instructional times would increase on-task behavior and yield collateral effects on in-seat behavior and work productivity. Results showed that neither participant responded positively to the stability ball chair intervention. Instead, both participants displayed lower levels of on-task and in-seat behavior during the stability ball condition relative to baseline. Participants’ work production rates were highly variable, and no noticeable changes occurred during the stability ball condition. Implications for the consideration of alternative seating in classrooms are discussed.