Strategy

Stability Objects

Physical Stability Objects, Base of Support (BOS) Objects

Stability Objects are devices or materials in the environment used to assist students with balance while standing, walking, or participating in physical activities. While some Stability Objects are purposefully built into the environment (e.g., handrails, grab bars, trampoline handles, walls), other stability devices can be provided for student use throughout the school day or for practicing gross motor skills (e.g., walkers, canes, stander, gait trainer). Most Stability Objects are prescribed by a doctor or Physical Therapist, however a classroom teacher or an Adapted Physical Education teacher might also offer a student that requires physical support a specific piece of equipment to help a student engage in specific physical education activities. When a student requires a Stability Object, the support is introduced and supervision is provided to ensure the student is safely and appropriately using the device.

Implementation Tips

Collaborating With Specialists
Consult a Physical Therapist, Occupational Therapist, or an Adapted Physical Education teacher to help determine if a student requires the support of a Stability Object throughout the school day. Ask specialists to observe the student and conduct a thorough evaluation before providing intensive physical aids.
Preferred Positions
Offer students that have mild difficulties with balance a space on the rug near a wall or piece of furniture when available so that the student can use these as a Stability Object when attempting to sit down or get up from the floor to a standing position.
Providing Support
Collaborate with related service providers to teach a student how to safely use a prescribed Stability Object. While the outside provider(s) will supply the direct instruction of using the object, be sure to help reinforce proper use of the object and monitor safety as the student learns to build independence with it.
Minimizing Stigmatization
Introduce Stability Objects (e.g., [[ http://media.ottobock.com/mobility/therapy-aids-and-standing-devices/leckey-squiggles-pediatric-stander/images/squiggles_stander_system_1_1_teaser_onecolumn_border.jpg | standers ]], [[ http://dmeshoppe.com/1020-thickbox_default/ottobock-nurmi-neo-gait-trainer.jpg | gait trainers ]], [[ https://justwalkers.com/media/catalog/product/cache/10/image/9df78eab33525d08d6e5fb8d27136e95/m/-/m-mds86410xww-bi-01.jpg | walkers ]], [[ https://justwalkers.com/media/catalog/product/cache/10/image/9df78eab33525d08d6e5fb8d27136e95/R/-/R-10403HD-BI-01.jpg | forearm crutches ]]) to classmates in a manner that normalizes a student’s need for it since many students may have never seen these before (e.g., “Similar to how handrails help people keep their balance, these devices do the same thing!).
Building Student Confidence
Create opportunities for a student using a Stability Object to walk short distances with the device to build confidence (e.g., seat the student just a few steps away from where books/folders are stored, set up a relay race where the student needs to walk a few steps to pass materials to another student).
Peer Support
Assign a reliable peer as a line partner for a student that often needs reminders to safely use Stability Objects, such as holding the rail on the stairs, or to bring a Stability Object over to a student with physical needs when the class is lining up to transition out of the classroom.

Examples

Handrails
While a class is ascending stairs, a teacher becomes concerned for a student’s safety after noticing them stumbling often. The teacher cues the student to hold onto the handrail as a Stability Object. After, the teacher consults with the school’s Physical Therapist (PT) to plan a time where the student can be observed. Upon evaluating the student’s physical abilities, the PT decides that the student could practice building lower body and limb strength, and recommends the continued use of the handrail as well as prompting (e.g., “Remember to lift your feet a little higher to clear each step when you’re going up the stairs Safi.”) to support the student’s physical needs.
Walker
At the beginning of the school year, a teacher meets with the school’s Physical Therapist (PT) to review the current physical support objectives listed on a student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP). The objectives include direct and consultative PT services as well as the use of a posterior walker, as seen in this [[ https://www.quest88.com/media/catalog/product/cache/1/image/670x/602f0fa2c1f0d1ba5e241f914e856ff9/k/_/k.w2-3qtr-base-2016_1_1.jpg | image ]], as a Stability Object for standing and walking. To support the student while using this device in the classroom environment, both the teacher and the PT meet with the student to discuss how to safely use and maneuver the walker (e.g., push up on the arms of the chair rather than the walker to stand up, how to reposition the walker to change direction without tipping).
Fine Motor Stability Objects
During independent writing, a student with mild hemiplegia (muscle spasticity that is more pronounced on one side) begins to demonstrate difficulty using their less affected hand to engage in the fine motor activity since their more affected side is tightening up. The teacher recognizes that this makes it difficulty for the student to sit symmetrically at the table and use the more stable hand with control to manipulate materials. After conferring with the school’s Occupational Therapist, the use of [[ https://d276yx72sr4uwj.cloudfront.net/-/media/images/rifton/products/overview-tab/grab-bars-and-anchors/arm-anchor-family-shot.jpg?h=1290&sc=0.3333333&w=2820&usecustomfunctions=1&cropx=0&cropy=0 | tabletop grab bars and anchors ]] are introduced. The student is then able to hold onto a simple vertical anchor as a Stability Object with the tightened side of the body, enabling the student to stabilize the trunk and one hand in order to support the active use of the other hand.

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