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Kids with ADHD must squirm to learn, study says

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  • Kids with ADHD must squirm to learn, study says

    Read this recently...

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases...0417190003.htm

    For decades, frustrated parents and teachers have barked at fidgety children with ADHD to "Sit still and concentrate!"

    But new research conducted at UCF shows that if you want ADHD kids to learn, you have to let them squirm. The foot-tapping, leg-swinging and chair-scooting movements of children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder are actually vital to how they remember information and work out complex cognitive tasks, according to a study published in an early online release of the Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology.
    The findings show the longtime prevailing methods for helping children with ADHD may be misguided.

    "The typical interventions target reducing hyperactivity. It's exactly the opposite of what we should be doing for a majority of children with ADHD," said one of the study's authors, Mark Rapport, head of the Children's Learning Clinic at the University of Central Florida. "The message isn't 'Let them run around the room,' but you need to be able to facilitate their movement so they can maintain the level of alertness necessary for cognitive activities."
    The research has major implications for how parents and teachers should deal with ADHD kids, particularly with the increasing weight given to students' performance on standardized testing. The study suggests that a majority of students with ADHD could perform better on classroom work, tests and homework if they're sitting on activity balls or exercise bikes, for instance.

    The study at the UCF clinic included 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," the system for temporarily storing and managing information required to carry out complex cognitive tasks such as learning, reasoning and comprehension.

    Children were shown a series of jumbled numbers and a letter that flashed onto a computer screen, then asked to put the numbers in order, followed by the letter. A high-speed camera recorded the kids, and observers recorded their every movement and gauged their attention to the task.

    Rapport's previous research had already shown that the excessive movement that's a trademark of hyperactive children -- previously thought to be ever-present -- is actually apparent only when they need to use the brain's executive brain functions, especially their working memory.

    The new study goes an important step further, proving the movement serves a purpose.
    "What we've found is that when they're moving the most, the majority of them perform better," Rapport said. "They have to move to maintain alertness."

    By contrast, the children in the study without ADHD also moved more during the cognitive tests, but it had the opposite effect: They performed worse.
    "Fear is the path to the dark side: fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering."
    -Yoda

  • #2
    Originally posted by Feyaway View Post
    Read this recently...
    This is the type of unexpected result which needs to be replicated and investigated quickly, but thoroughly.

    If true, classrooms may need to be re-organized. At least, activities which produce the least distraction for other students need to be discovered.
    I am skeptical about generalizing from one study of a few kids.

    Even if verified, it is not clear whether best treatment would be to find alternate methods to focus on the mental task.
    Last edited by Keith C; 04-25-15, 12:04 AM.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Feyaway View Post
      Ummmm.....did we need a study for this?

      The kids in my room sit on the carpet. Invariably, the back is populated with a few students who are fidgeting almost constantly. I let them go. I've learned they're almost invariably still listening, and soaking up everything that's going on. They just have to move.

      I guess if you're "old school" you'd walk into my classroom and think me a negligent or lax teacher. I've been teaching for about 22 years now.....so, oh well. People can think what they want.
      One thing have I asked of the LORD... that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple.--Psalm 27:4

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      • #4
        Originally posted by WendyWrites View Post
        Ummmm.....did we need a study for this?

        The kids in my room sit on the carpet. Invariably, the back is populated with a few students who are fidgeting almost constantly. I let them go. I've learned they're almost invariably still listening, and soaking up everything that's going on. They just have to move.
        Facts which might generate useful thought would be correlation between seating position and test grade at end of year or subsequent years or with eventual school dropout probability, success in college etc

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by WendyWrites View Post
          Ummmm.....did we need a study for this?

          The kids in my room sit on the carpet. Invariably, the back is populated with a few students who are fidgeting almost constantly. I let them go. I've learned they're almost invariably still listening, and soaking up everything that's going on. They just have to move.

          I guess if you're "old school" you'd walk into my classroom and think me a negligent or lax teacher. I've been teaching for about 22 years now.....so, oh well. People can think what they want.
          Oh my God I love you!!!

          I have a huge hang up in this area and I wish more educators had your outlook.

          I'm sure you're not "lax" you are just intuitive about students, how they differ, what they need, and what is best for them. Its not lax when you are considering what's best, is how I see it.
          "Fear is the path to the dark side: fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering."
          -Yoda

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Keith C View Post
            This is the type of unexpected result which needs to be replicated and investigated quickly, but thoroughly.

            If true, classrooms may need to be re-organized. At least, activities which produce the least distraction for other students need to be discovered.
            I am skeptical about generalizing from one study of a few kids.

            Even if verified, it is not clear whether best treatment would be to find alternate methods to focus on the mental task.
            From my observations of working with younger students, there are some which seem to have a much stronger need to move, fidget, and be physically active to some degree while learning. And yet from my experiences I notice a trend of schools approaching all students like they come from the same mold and have the same general learning needs, which just isn't true at all. Maybe 80% of the class can succeed while sitting relatively still and not moving, but there are those 20% who just don't fit into that mold and need to move, and do, and get reprimanded for it, in my observations. Then they often get labeled and I think that's just incredibly unfortunately.

            For me the challenge is: How do we accommodate these students and support them without it being a distraction to the other students (and the teacher herself, as she is only human too and can be distracted by all the movement when trying to teach). A teacher naturally tells a child to stop fidgeting because she assumes its a sign the child isn't listening, she's concerned other will be distracted, and she herself is distracted by it.

            I haven't found a solution, but my experiences lead me to believe that we are really missing opportunities to improve reaching and engaging this specific portion of children in the classroom. I tend to believe that kids need more activities that allow them to move. I'm also very attracted to kinesthetic learning activities, or learning by "doing" and I like to incorporate the physical environment and move around when I demonstrate a concept.

            Yeah, one study isn't enough, but I know for certain there's a portion of kids we are missing out there, and I don't think its them failing us, but us failing them... I say that a lot and its what I really believe.
            Last edited by Feyaway; 04-26-15, 12:10 AM.
            "Fear is the path to the dark side: fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering."
            -Yoda

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Keith C View Post
              Facts which might generate useful thought would be correlation between seating position and test grade at end of year or subsequent years or with eventual school dropout probability, success in college etc
              You're right. I should let them sit up front, and distract the entire class. Good thinking, Keith.
              One thing have I asked of the LORD... that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple.--Psalm 27:4

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by WendyWrites View Post
                You're right. I should let them sit up front, and distract the entire class. Good thinking, Keith.
                You must have been fidgeting when reading my post.

                All I was suggesting was recording seating position, or average value, and seeing how that correlates with future achievement.
                How else will you ever get further than your subjective opinion that fidgeting students achieve at the same rate as those sitting up and paying attention?

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Keith C View Post
                  You must have been fidgeting when reading my post.

                  All I was suggesting was recording seating position, or average value, and seeing how that correlates with future achievement.
                  How else will you ever get further than your subjective opinion that fidgeting students achieve at the same rate as those sitting up and paying attention?
                  This study did not measure seating position, but it points to consequences of inattention:-
                  Higher levels of inattention at age seven linked with lower final high school exam grades

                  Perhaps the problem is that there are 2 causes of inattention:-
                  1. Bright students who have learned the material and fidget.
                  2. Slow students who are already behind and not engaged by the lesson.
                  It might be important to distinguish these alternatives before reaching any general conclusion.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Keith C View Post
                    You must have been fidgeting when reading my post.

                    All I was suggesting was recording seating position, or average value, and seeing how that correlates with future achievement.
                    How else will you ever get further than your subjective opinion that fidgeting students achieve at the same rate as those sitting up and paying attention?
                    By "seating position", I assumed you meant student seating in the classroom....students seating in the front of the room, in the middle, in the back. Is that what you meant, or did you mean if they're sitting still or fidgeting?
                    One thing have I asked of the LORD... that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple.--Psalm 27:4

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by WendyWrites View Post
                      By "seating position", I assumed you meant student seating in the classroom....students seating in the front of the room, in the middle, in the back. Is that what you meant, or did you mean if they're sitting still or fidgeting?
                      In post #3 in this thread, you wrote:-
                      The kids in my room sit on the carpet. Invariably, the back is populated with a few students who are fidgeting almost constantly. I let them go. I've learned they're almost invariably still listening, and soaking up everything that's going on. They just have to move.
                      The point I am trying to make is that anecdotal accounts like yours need to be backed up by data comparing how much inattentive fidgeters sitting at the back of the class learn and retain compared with attentive students sitting nearer the front.

                      It might just be that it eases your conscience to believe that those who fidget are actually learning.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Keith C View Post
                        In post #3 in this thread, you wrote:-


                        The point I am trying to make is that anecdotal accounts like yours need to be backed up by data comparing how much inattentive fidgeters sitting at the back of the class learn and retain compared with attentive students sitting nearer the front.

                        It might just be that it eases your conscience to believe that those who fidget are actually learning.
                        Perhaps. But in the 30 minutes a week I spend with them, would it be better to sit them up front, where they disrupt the learning of the entire class? Remember I teach young students who sit on the carpet.
                        One thing have I asked of the LORD... that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple.--Psalm 27:4

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Keith C View Post
                          You must have been fidgeting when reading my post.

                          All I was suggesting was recording seating position, or average value, and seeing how that correlates with future achievement.
                          How else will you ever get further than your subjective opinion that fidgeting students achieve at the same rate as those sitting up and paying attention?
                          I have fidgety children...they have both ASD and ADHD. I request they not be in the front, so as not to disrupt other children... That isn't fair to those students to become so distracted by mine.

                          Why do you assume if they are fidgety they aren't paying attention?
                          Last edited by cas07; 05-03-15, 11:25 AM.
                          One cannot and must not try to erase the past merely because it does not fit the present. Golda Meir
                          Fundies say the darndest things - simplicio

                          Every saint has a past, every sinner has a future.

                          Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.” - Martin Luther King Jr.

                          as long as there is life, there is hope.

                          what unites us is stronger than what divides us...

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by WendyWrites View Post
                            Perhaps. But in the 30 minutes a week I spend with them, would it be better to sit them up front, where they disrupt the learning of the entire class? Remember I teach young students who sit on the carpet.
                            So the data you need before reaching any conclusion is to measure a year's worth of learning by each individual in your class, (with your present seating policy) and see if there is any correlation between learning and seating position or fidgeting behavior.
                            Your opinion, without such data, is not very persuasive.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by cas07 View Post
                              I have fidgety children...they have both ASD and ADHD. I request they not be in the front, so as not to disrupt other children... That isn't fair to those students to become so distracted by mine.

                              Why do you assume if they are fidgety they aren't paying attention?
                              Because, long ago I was a boy and I know I was easily distracted.
                              It is not only the kids in front who can be disruptive. What about the kids in the same row? What about the kid immediately behind who pokes you in the back? What about someone at the back who is always making a noise?
                              I suspect disruptive kids are always disruptive and seating them at the back might help your conscience, but it does not cure the problem.

                              Has there been any experiments with 'white noise' level in classrooms to cover up the identifiable individual noises?

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