Teacher creates tennis ball chairs to help students with autism

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An Illinois teacher says Pinterest inspired her to use tennis balls to make chairs more sensory-friendly for students with autism. (Raymond Ellis Elementary School/Facebook)

One teacher's Pinterest-inspired chairs are making a big difference for students with autism.

In a Facebook post, Raymond Ellis Elementary School said speech language pathologist Amy Maplethorpe outfitted existing chairs with tennis balls cut in half.

Balls affixed to the seat "provide an alternative texture to improve sensory regulation," which can be especially beneficial for students with autism, Down syndrome or other sensory processing disorders, the school explained.

"I wanted to continue to address the various sensory needs present at Ellis and provide an alternative seating option for the students," Maplethorpe told ABC News. "I was excited that this chair could be beneficial for my students."

"Students have become more patient, have followed directions, and restlessness has decreased while waiting for activities," she added.

Maplethorpe saw a similar item on Pinterest and adapted the idea to create the chairs, which will service approximately 15 to 20 students in the school's sensory room.

ABC News contributed to this report.

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