Day 4: Setting up the Morning Circle – Positioning

by | Adapt & Modify Activities

This is a post out of the 31 Days of Morning Circles. You can find the main page for this series here.

No matter the activity you are working on, if your child is trying to maintain balance in sitting, the goals of the activity cannot be attained. Rather than tiring your child out as he tries to support himself, ensure that he is properly positioned in the morning circle.

Proper positioning also allows for:

  • eye contact to be maintained
  • socialization with others in the group
  • a longer gathering time since the child is comfortable

How you can gather in the morning circle

Besides the location in your home, you need to consider how you will gather in the morning circle with your disabled child.

Here are some possibilities:

  • seated on floor – free of equipment, if child is able to
  • seated on floor facing others in the group, or face-to-face with parent (ideal for eye contact)
  • seated on floor with child between adult’s legs, both facing outward towards others or toward the activity (so that parent can guide the child’s hands)
  • seated on floor with pillows supporting
  • seated on floor in an adapted seat low to floor
  • standing – free of equipment, if child is able to
  • standing facing others in the group, or face-to-face with parent
  • standing, both adult and child facing others or activity, parent has access to child’s arms
  • standing in adaptive equipment
  • laying down on back
  • laying down on belly
  • laying down on side

Equipment for proper positioning of neurodivergent and disabled children in the morning circle:

Adapted seating:

  • feeding chair or high chair
  • low chair such as a car seat, adapted floor chair, or corner chair
  • portable adapted chair inserts
  • tilted seating
  • wheel chair
adapted portable seat - furniture

Low-to-ground adapted seat. Great when interacting with others who are either seated on the floor or propped up on their knees.

car seat for indoor adapted seating for disabled child

You don’t need to order special seating for adapted floor sitting. After we purchased a new car seat, we had this spare. Rather than ridding of it, we use it as additional seating indoors. The arm rests and 5-point harness allow for extra comfortable support.

adapted insert - Furniture

Adapted insert for a “kindergarten chair”. We got this insert custom-made at our rehabilitation center. The chair and table set is from Ikea. Allows disabled child to sit with peers or an adult sitting on this chair in the circle.

high chair - furniture for disabled child

Adapted high chair works when adult and other children are gathered on regular-sized chairs or around a table.

Adapted standing equipment:

  • basic stander
  • walker, with brakes in place
  • sit-to-stand stander
  • reclined stander
stander for disabled child

When working on standing activities in the circle, using a stander for children who need additional support is ideal.

walker for disabled child

A walker with brakes on also allows for standing-in-place activities in the circle, while providing the option to move along with others (i.e.: group games like Ring-Around-the-Rosie).

DIY adaptations to provide additional support in sitting or standing:

  • throw pillows
  • inflatable pillows
  • gel-filled pillows
  • carpet squares
  • non-slip placemats
  • exercise ball
  • outdoor furniture pillows
  • mat
  • rolled up blankets or towels
  • against a wall
  • on a sofa
  • between the parent’s legs
  • on parent’s lap
outdoor patio pillows for indoor floor seating for disabled child

If your child can sit without support, these are outdoor patio pillows that you can use for seated circle activities on the floor. They mark the spot they need to sit at.

foam mat puzzle piece for seating for disabled child

These foam mats are great when used individually as they can also mark the spot for seated circle activities.

big ball for children with special needs

For wigglers and movers, bouncing on this ball while in the circle is a great way to engage the child. It would be ideal to have a ball for each participant of the circle so that everyone is at the same height.

As much as possible, select a method that allows you to have maximum amount of eye contact with your child for most of the social activities, but also access to his hands when working on hands-on activities.

Which position works best for your child? Is there one trick I didn’t list here?


  1. Chantal

    Great post once again!
    For lying down during circle time, yoga mats would be an addition to the list.
    I had to think it out for a while, the list was pretty much complete.
    Looking forward to read your next blogs 🙂

    • Gabriella

      Yes! That’s a great idea, Chantal. I added “mat” to the list of sitting materials, but neglected to include a list for laying down. Yoga mats, padded exercise mats, comforters, and large towels are great. I know that Ikea has a pretty nifty mat in their latest catalog (2015) and I’ve had my eye on that since it came out. Thanks for reminding me about the best positioning of all (especially for the adult): laying down … ahhh…

More Resources

Continue reading my essays, activities, and case studies for supporting the education of disabled/chronically ill and neurodivergent children.