Why Using a Chair Correctly is SO Difficult for Hypermobile Kids and Adults


I spend a fair amount of time teaching hypermobile people of all ages how their sitting position affects their ability to write, keyboard, or do just about anything.  And of course, we want hypermobile people to have a stronger core while sitting.  But their chair can help them.  It is not a crutch.

Yup.  Use the chair.  Correctly.

Understanding how to use the back support of the chair correctly is fairly simple, but really hard for hypermobile people to do.  The reason it is so challenging has very little to do with being obstinate, forgetful, or in denial.

It has a lot to do with sensory processing and old habits (even for kids).

  • Hypermobility reduces sensory feedback from joints and muscles.  This makes it harder to pay attention to posture while sitting.  It is the equivalent of writing while wearing mittens.
  • Less sensory feedback frequently results in unconscious strategies to boost feedback.  Wrapping legs around the chair’s legs.  Leaning forward and resting the head on the palms.  Folding one leg under the body while sitting.  They do increase proprioception.  They also put the spine out of alignment and reduce the use of core stabilizers.
  • From the moment a hypermobile person is born, they come up with compensatory strategies.  Leaning.  Twisting.  Slumping.  Getting up for no good reason, over and over.  This means bad habits are formed before they know how to walk.  By the time they get to school, they think “This is the way I am”.  And it hard to break old habits without knowledge and motivation.

If you or your child are hypermobile, there are a few hacks that will work:

  1. Practice sitting correctly and evenly.  Even for a few minutes.
  2. Write a note on the table or screen in front of you.
  3. Make sure the chair is a good one.
  4. Accept that fatigue destroys the best intentions.  Allow movement breaks.
  5. Get rid of the old idea that depending on the chair indicates poor postural control.  Use the chair to perform the task.  You can exercise later.  This is not the time to exercise.

Want some ideas on chairs for your child?  Check out Need a Desk Chair for Your Hypermobile School-Age Child? Check out the Giantex Chair   and Need A Desk Chair With a Footrest For Your Hypermobile Kid?  .

Need more help with your hypermobile child?

Contact me through the comments section and we can do a consult, or you could begin by reading some of my books:

I wrote two books for you!


The Joint Smart Child.indd


The JointSmart Child series will give you practical ideas for living and thriving, and explain why hypermobility is not just loose joints; it affects emotional and social development.  Hypermobility creates sensory processing issues that have to be managed.  

Here are some of the things you will learn:

  • How to pick the right chair for every activity.
  • How to improve a child’s safety without cratering their spirit or becoming the “don’t sit like that” police.
  • How to pick the best bikes, scooters, sports equipment and even the best sport for a child.
  • How to make music lessons less tiring or painful.
  • How to create a sleep routine, and a great sleep environment that is truly safe AND refreshing.  No hospital bed required!


Find both books as printable downloads on Your Therapy Source  , or as e-books AND paperbacks on (where else?) Amazon  .

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By Cathy Collyer

I am a licensed occupational therapist, licensed massage therapist, and certified CBT-i sleep coach in private practice in the NYC area. I have over 25 years of professional experience in adult and pediatric treatment. It has been a joy to help people of all ages improve their ability to grow and thrive! Occupational therapists are focused on enhancing a client's functioning in everyday life. We are practical healthcare providers, interested in teaching, adapting actions and environments, and building a client's useful skills for living their best life, regardless of their challenges. I am the author of five books, including "Staying In The Room: Managing Medical And Dental Care When You Have DID" and "The Practical Guide To Toilet Training the Autistic Child". I lecture on many subjects, including sleep, trauma, and development. Contact me to learn more about how I can help you achieve YOUR goals!

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