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Study Reveals Letting ADHD Kids Move Is Beneficial To Their Learning

Study Reveals Letting ADHD Kids Move Is Beneficial To Their Learning

If you thought that telling a kid with ADHD to try and sit still while learning was a good idea, think again! According to researchers at the University of Central Florida, the more ADHD kids move around while doing complex cognitive tasks, the better. So, finger tapping, squirming, and fidgeting are vital to help them learn.

Let ADHD kids fidget

Similar research at the MIND institute in California tested a number of teens who had ADHD. They had to keep an eye on arrows which were darting from one side to another. They had devices attached to their ankles which recorded how much they moved around while doing the test. The kids who had been the most restless got the best scores. This suggests that physical activity helps the cognitive processes when concentrating, paying attention, and learning. As long as they do not disturb the class, ADHD kids should be allowed to jiggle and fidget as much as they want to.

“Parents and teachers shouldn’t try to keep them still. Let them move while they are doing their work or other challenging cognitive tasks.” — Professor Julie Schweitzer, Director of UC Davis ADHD Program.

Why classrooms need activity balls and exercise bikes

When ADHD kids make use of secondary activities such as doodling, wriggling, or balancing on an activity/stability ball, their focus and attention are improved. Let us hope that more schools will buy activity balls and use these instead of desks for the ADHD kids.

Another research study showed that ADHD kids were able to stay longer on the task and were less hyperactive when they were on stability balls. It also revealed that teachers were happier too because both teaching and learning benefited. Parents should also use these balls at home to help their kids get through their homework with less stress.

Ask your child’s teacher to help

Did you know that there are arrangements under the ADHD accommodations to allow a child with ADHD to actually move around and stand when he or she wants to? Have a word with the teacher. Some schools allow a child to have two desks so that they can move from one to the other.

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The importance of recesses and getting into the open air cannot be overestimated. Discuss with the teacher what sorts of punishment should be avoided, such as detention. Encourage the use of some physical activity and make sure that no kids are banned from sports just because of poor grades.

“Physical exercise may be the single most powerful somatic treatment for ADD that we have.” — Dr. Edward Hallowell, ADHD expert and author.

Why ADHD kids need to move and exercise more

Think of movement as a way of helping to switch on a child’s brain. They can focus better, recall more accurately and pay attention for longer.

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Research in the Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology has highlighted this aspect of children’s education. They asked children to do 20 minutes on a treadmill or to choose a quiet game while sitting down. Afterwards, all the kids who had been more physically active were doing better on test scores than their companions who had been sitting still.

Think of exercise as a way of triggering certain areas of the brain which help kids to follow sequences, remember things, help to prioritize and keeping attention levels high. Actually, this benefits all kids, whether they have ADHD or not.

“Physical exercise is really for our brains.” — Dr. John Ratey, ADHD expert

The way forward

ADHD experts are now convinced that exercise and movement can complement existing therapies and medication. But it does not look like this will happen anytime soon. The increase in ADHD diagnosis has surged by about 42% in the last eight years. Prescriptions for ADHD meds are rising steadily at a rate of 6% per year and show no sign of abating.

What a pity there are no entrepreneurs out there who could exploit and profit from providing more exercise opportunities for kids with ADHD? Now that would really make a difference to how children with ADHD could learn faster and better.

Featured photo credit: Izach’s class Mrs. Squires/ au_tiger 01 via flickr.com

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More by this author

Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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Last Updated on January 3, 2020

The 10 Essential Habits of Positive People

The 10 Essential Habits of Positive People

Are you waiting for life events to turn out the way you want so that you can feel more positive about your life? Do you find yourself having pre-conditions to your sense of well-being, thinking that certain things must happen for you to be happier? Do you think there is no way that your life stresses can make you anything other than “stressed out” and that other people just don’t understand?  If your answer is “yes” to any of these questions, you might find yourself lingering in the land of negativity for too long!

The following are some tips to keep positive no matter what comes your way. This post will help you stop looking for what psychologists call “positivity” in all the wrong places!  Here are the ten essential habits of positive people.

1. Positive people don’t confuse quitting with letting go.

Instead of hanging on to ideas, beliefs, and even people that are no longer healthy for them, they trust their judgement to let go of negative forces in their lives.  Especially in terms of relationships, they subscribe to The Relationship Prayer which goes:

 I will grant myself the ability to trust the healthy people in my life … 

To set limits with, or let go of, the negative ones … 

And to have the wisdom to know the DIFFERENCE!

 2.  Positive people don’t just have a good day – they make a good day.

Waiting, hoping and wishing seldom have a place in the vocabulary of positive individuals. Rather, they use strong words that are pro-active and not reactive. Passivity leads to a lack of involvement, while positive people get very involved in constructing their lives. They work to make changes to feel better in tough times rather than wish their feelings away.

3. For the positive person, the past stays in the past.

Good and bad memories alike stay where they belong – in the past where they happened. They don’t spend much time pining for the good ol’ days because they are too busy making new memories now. The negative pulls from the past are used not for self-flagellation or unproductive regret, but rather productive regret where they use lessons learned as stepping stones towards a better future.

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4. Show me a positive person and I can show you a grateful person.

The most positive people are the most grateful people.  They do not focus on the potholes of their lives.  They focus on the pot of gold that awaits them every day, with new smells, sights, feelings and experiences.  They see life as a treasure chest full of wonder.

5. Rather than being stuck in their limitations, positive people are energized by their possibilities.

Optimistic people focus on what they can do, not what they can’t do.  They are not fooled to think that there is a perfect solution to every problem, and are confident that there are many solutions and possibilities.  They are not afraid to attempt new solutions to old problems, rather than spin their wheels expecting things to be different this time.  They refuse to be like Charlie Brown expecting that this time Lucy will not pull the football from him!

6. Positive people do not let their fears interfere with their lives!

Positive people have observed that those who are defined and pulled back by their fears never really truly live a full life. While proceeding with appropriate caution, they do not let fear keep them from trying new things. They realize that even failures are necessary steps for a successful life. They have confidence that they can get back up when they are knocked down by life events or their own mistakes, due to a strong belief in their personal resilience.

7. Positive people smile a lot!

When you feel positive on the inside it is like you are smiling from within, and these smiles are contagious. Furthermore, the more others are with positive people, the more they tend to smile too! They see the lightness in life, and have a sense of humor even when it is about themselves. Positive people have a high degree of self-respect, but refuse to take themselves too seriously!

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8. People who are positive are great communicators.

They realize that assertive, confident communication is the only way to connect with others in everyday life.  They avoid judgmental, angry interchanges, and do not let someone else’s blow up give them a reason to react in kind. Rather, they express themselves with tact and finesse.  They also refuse to be non-assertive and let people push them around. They refuse to own problems that belong to someone else.

9. Positive people realize that if you live long enough, there are times for great pain and sadness.

One of the most common misperceptions about positive people is that to be positive, you must always be happy. This can not be further from the truth. Anyone who has any depth at all is certainly not happy all the time.  Being sad, angry, disappointed are all essential emotions in life. How else would you ever develop empathy for others if you lived a life of denial and shallow emotions? Positive people do not run from the gamut of emotions, and accept that part of the healing process is to allow themselves to experience all types of feelings, not only the happy ones. A positive person always holds the hope that there is light at the end of the darkness.  

10. Positive person are empowered people – they refuse to blame others and are not victims in life.

Positive people seek the help and support of others who are supportive and safe.They limit interactions with those who are toxic in any manner, even if it comes to legal action and physical estrangement such as in the case of abuse. They have identified their own basic human rights, and they respect themselves too much to play the part of a victim. There is no place for holding grudges with a positive mindset. Forgiveness helps positive people become better, not bitter.

How about you?  How many habits of positive people do you personally find in yourself?  If you lack even a few of these 10 essential habits, you might find that the expected treasure at the end of the rainbow was not all that it was cracked up to be. How could it — if you keep on bringing a negative attitude around?

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I wish you well in keeping positive, because as we all know, there is certainly nothing positive about being negative!

Featured photo credit: Janaína Castelo Branco via flickr.com

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