ADHD kids learn when they squirm
Contrary to conventional wisdom, new research suggests that children with ADHD learn better when they’re able to fidget and squirm while they study. That runs counter to the typical response to ADHD behavior in classrooms, which is to try to control hyperactivity.
Researchers at the University of Central Florida drew this conclusion after conducting a study of 52 boys, ages 8 to 12. Twenty-nine of the children had been diagnosed with ADHD and the other 23 had no clinical disorders and showed normal development. Each child was asked to perform a series of standardized tasks designed to gauge working memory, which is the system for temporarily storing and managing information required to carry out complex cognitive tasks.
The researchers found that the majority of kids with ADHD who moved the most performed better on the tests. At the same time, kids without ADHD who squirmed during the test actually performed worse.
Rather than try to subdue the hyperactive tendencies of kids with ADHD, the researchers suggested that most students with ADHD could perform better on classroom work, tests and homework if they’re sitting on activity balls or exercise bikes.