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Squirming and Fidgets with ADD
With the new school year, kids with Attention Deficit Disorder all over the world are being told to, "Sit still and focus! Stop squirming!" That has never worked well for them, and it still doesn't. Two recent studies from the University of Central Florida (UCF) tell why.
In April of 2015, researchers discussed that kids with ADD learned best while moving. This was true for complex academic tasks and remembering information that the students had learned. A child with Attention Deficit Disorder who was forced to sit still was not an effective learner. Those children with ADD need to wiggle, jiggle, and squirm to be at their academic best. The trick is to teach them to squirm and fidget in a way that doesn't disrupt their classmates' learning.
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.
This small study, with 52 boys, highlights the need for kids with Attention Deficit Disorder to move in class. Movement helps them attain and maintain a level of alertness that promotes learning. Asking them to sit still and learn is not a reasonable request. Teach them how to fidget inconspicuously.
September of 2017 brought another study from UCF. It answers the question that parents ask teachers. "Why do you say my child fidgets and squirms all of the time in class? I don't understand this. At home, she can sit still for hours playing her video games! How can she be so still at home, but you tell me she is constantly moving?"
Kids squirm when they are working on academically demanding tasks. These cognitively difficult tasks strain the brain. The research group in this study contained 62 boys, and 32 of them had ADD. The others were the control group. Each child was observed and their movements monitored for the testing activities. When given a non-academic video to watch, the boys with ADD were still. Faced with a math lesson, movement was noted. With the math lesson, the boys were being asked to process information. They were engaged in the work. Movement was not caused by boredom, but rather by the boys being asked to do academically challenging work.
Some teachers think that a squirming child is a lazy, bored, and unfocused child. Those teachers need to be educated about this ADD research! With kids who have ADD, it is not the case that they are lazy, bored and unfocused. These children are moving with a purpose; they are doing what they need to do to facilitate their learning. Let them move!
University of Central Florida. (2017, September 18). ADHD kids can be still, if they're not straining their brains: ADHD symptoms manifest watching videos requiring executive brain function. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 22, 2017 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/09/170918222249.htm
University of Central Florida. (2015, April 17). Kids with ADHD must squirm to learn, study says. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 22, 2017 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/04/150417190003.htm
Here is a great book about ADD!
Delivered from Distraction: Getting the Most out of Life with Attention Deficit Disorder
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Content copyright © 2015 by Connie Mistler Davidson. All rights reserved.
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