Study Shows Thinking Triggers ADHD Symptoms
Why does a child with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have trouble sitting through the school day or focusing on homework without squirming and fidgeting, while he or she can watch a movie or play video games for hours without difficulty? A new study conducted by researchers from the Children’s Learning Clinic at the University of Central Florida in Orlando may provide the answer.
The study suggests the problem isn’t a lack of motivation or boredom with school, but that symptoms of ADHD are triggered by cognitively demanding tasks like schoolwork. According to researchers, children with ADHD move and fidget when they access the brain’s executive functions like learning, memory, reasoning, and comprehension, which are necessary in school, but not in front of the television.
For the study, researchers observed 62 boys between the ages of eight and 12, 32 of whom were diagnosed with ADHD, while they watched a 10-minute scene from an action movie and an instructional math video. They discovered that study participants with ADHD sat almost motionless while watching the action video, but tapped their feet, swiveled their chairs, and changed positions frequently during the math video. Researchers contend that this outcome was not simply result of boredom with the math lesson.