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Movement May Help Students With ADHD Concentrate

*Photo credit: NPR

NPR recently featured a new study led by ADHD researcher Dustin Sarver at the University of Mississippi Medical Center that suggests hyperactive movement actually increases alertness and performance for children with attention disorders.

Researchers asked a small group of boys, ages 8 to 12 and diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, to repeat back a sequence of random numbers and letters in order while they swiveled in a chair. The moving correlated with better performance, while children who were not diagnosed with ADHD experienced the opposite: the more they moved, the worse they performed.

According to scientific theory, attention disorders are caused by chronic underarousal of the brain. Stimulants such as Ritalin are often prescribed to wake up the nervous system, but Sarver believes that slight physical movements can produce the same result.

Sarver is often asked for classroom-management advice by teachers. He encourages educators to allow students with ADHD the ability to move around as needed as long as it doesn’t distract other students. NPR also received lots of creative ideas from teachers on accommodating ADHD students after publishing its article. Some ideas include:

  • Coloring books: stressed-out high school students, and even adults, love to color
  • Desk placement: place moving kids on the outside edges so they do not distract other students
  • Pencil sharpening: give students with ADHD special permission to walk around, perhaps to sharpen pencils
  • Standing desks: kids can bounce and wiggle while completing their work without bothering other kids

Read more ideas here: What Do You Do With A Student Who Fidgets 

As a behavioral healthcare leader, KVC serves thousands of children who have challenges such as ADHD. Helping parents, educators and other people in a child’s environment understand and handle these challenges means children have a greater chance at long-term wellbeing. Read more about KVC’s services.