ADD and Squirming to Learn
A study from the Children's Learning Clinic at the University of Central Florida, published in April of 2015, revealed the reasons for and effects of movement on boys with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. According to the study author, Mark Rapport, the boys showed movement when they were accessing their executive function. This was especially true when they were placing information into working memory. Executive function is the brain's controller for many higher-level actions. Seated in the pre-frontal cortex, it helps people to reason through problems and in setting and reaching goals. Impaired executive function impedes a person's ability to organize time, space, and tasks while monitoring and evaluating their performance in completing these chores. Working memory helps to make a temporary storage bay for information that is needed to complete complicated tasks.
The study worked with 52 boys between the ages of 8 and 12-years-old. There were 23 boys with normal development and 29 with a diagnosis of ADHD. Using a task designed to test working memory, it was found that movement improved the results for the boys with ADHD. Boys with normal development who were moving did worse on the tasks.
Here are some ideas for helping a child move while learning:
*When working in the classroom or on homework, let them stand. Have a defined space for them to move in, when they are in class.
*Give them time to walk for a purpose in and around the classroom. They can get items for the teacher and run errands.
*Teach the child to fidget quietly.
*Let them sit on an exercise ball.
*Have the class take exercise breaks.
*Read the book AD/HD Homework Challenges Transformed! by Harriet Hope Green. This book is totally engaging and has some very original ideas to help lower the stress of homework completion. It's extremely practical.
For this research to help your child, you might need to "educate your educators." In other words, your child's teachers need to know about this research and get ideas about implementing it in their classrooms. If your child has an Individualized Education Plan (IEP), you might want to include these ideas in the plan. Know your child's needs and work to advocate for the ways that he learns best.
University of Central Florida. (2015, April 17). Kids with ADHD must squirm to learn, study says. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 24, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/04/150417190003.htm
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