A co-worker recently asked me, “How many kids with ADD does it take to change a light bulb? “ Perhaps, with your understanding of Attention Deficit Disorder the answer won’t come as a surprise. You might ask, “How many kids?” The answer is, “Let’s go skateboarding!” Mundane chores are often not in the kids’ wheelhouse, when they have ADD. A closer look at the “playful” answer might bring more clarity to what helps children who have ADD.
Behavioral therapy and pharmaceuticals help, but they are not the only ways to improve the negative symptoms of ADD. Use children’s natural creativity and sense of play! Here are ideas for using exercise to help bring out the best in your child with ADD.
Intense exercise has been shown to improve self-control in school children. Short bursts of intense exercise are hypothesized to increase blood flow to the pre-frontal cortex. This could support the activity of the executive function that inhibits impulses. The bottom line: Studies show that exercise is important for kids with ADD.
Martial arts are one way that kids could get some intense exercise. Many kids take karate and judo. Some even take Tai chi. Adventure kids take capoeira, also known as Brazilian "fight dancing." This martial art is a lively combination of fight moves, acrobatics, dancing, singing, and native instrumental music. It's a real workout!
Green spaces are the best place to get a workout. There's just something about the wide-open expanses of nature that helps kids with ADD. Data was examined from an internet based survey of parents with children who had an ADD diagnosis. Parents reported that these large, open green spaces improved Attention Deficit Disorder's negative symptoms, including a lack of concentration and heightened impulsivity, more than playing indoors or outdoors in constructed areas or in areas with a lot of trees.
Not that our kids have much of a chance in school to hang out in constructed play areas during recess or P.E. With the increased focus on academics, many chances for kids to move have gone by the wayside. You can lobby your local school board to ramp up the opportunities for kids to play. Do your research; present your data showing improved concentration and impulse control where students are allowed to exercise.
When children with Attention Deficit Disorder are given an authentic reason to move their bodies, good things can happen. Creativity can be increased. The ability to withstand boredom that they perceive with non-preferred activities might be enhanced. Their brains will be bathed in oxygen. All of these activities enhance their mind’s ability to focus. What’s the best part of this treatment? It’s child’s play!
Related links: The Related Links below this article may be of interest to you. There is more explanation of the different types of exercise to help the negative symptoms of ADD.
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