Children with ADHD Learn Better when They Move

There are children who were born to immediately jump out of a cradle to run away. They are not able to sit still even for five minutes or concentrate for a long time. These are children with ADHD (Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder).

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They are often inattentive, restless and impulsive, but still they can socialize and learn successfully if their unique features are taken into account by parents and teachers, who, in their turn, use correct approaches. Need in excessive movement is a very typical feature of such children. When they are allowed to move at lessons (instead of sitting still for 45 minutes), academic and behavioral performance is much better and it has been scientifically proved.

What does ADHD mean?

Educating a hyperactive child with attention deficit is not easy, and total number of ADHD children in Canada is quite high – approximately 5% of school age children have this syndrome, which is characterized by hyperactivity and lack of attentiveness. Some parents perceive impulsiveness and inability to follow rules as a sign of a child’s outstanding talents, and even encourage such behavior in every possible way.

Children with ADHD learn better when they move

Scientists have found that motor stimulation of the cerebellum and vestibular apparatus of children with ADHD leads to the development of cognitive and self-regulation functions. When hyperactive children think, they need to move — swinging on a chair or pounding on a table. If they are not allowed to move, their brain gets literally ‘frozen’ and they lose ability to think.

Scientific background

The research team guided by Prof.Mark Rappor from the University of Central Florida carried out the test to measure brain activity in children with ADHD. The scientist put two groups of teenagers (with ADHD and without) through different tests (theoretical math lesson and watching the Star Wars episode).

In case of watching the movie there was almost no difference in two groups’ performance, but at the math lesson that was a working memory task, ADHD children squirmed twice as much, that is explained by underdeveloped ability of working memory in children with ADHD.

The scientists found out that excessive movement helped hyperactive children to perceive and save information better, so they were able to solve complex cognitive tasks and learn better, if compared to sitting still. The test revealed that hyperactive children needed to move more at the moments of intensive brain activity, and could focus much easier on a task that was personally interesting for them.

It is extremely important to realize a real vital need in extra moving and fidgeting for ADHD children for their overall healthy and comprehensive development and allow them use their bodies for better cognitive performance. When such children are free to move as much as they need, they get rid of excessive energy and stay focused on task.

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