Let them move! How fidgeting can actually help those with ADHD to focus

By Jessica Rayner

Let them move! How fidgeting can actually help those with ADHD to focus
Moving around in lessons could help children with ADHD focus better.

Contrary to popular belief, a recent study has shown that those who suffer with Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder are actually more alert and focussed if they are moving.

According to research, those with ADHD have an under-aroused brain, so fidgeting and moving around can actually help to wake it or even bring it to attention. This has been attested to the fact that activity can stimulate the release of chemicals like dopamine or norepinephrine, which help the brain to regulate movement and emotional responses.

Julie Schweitzer of  the University of California tested two groups of children, with and without the disorder and found that the ADHD group were more likely to answer questions correctly, if they were squirming or moving.

“I think we need to consider that fidgeting is helpful,” she shared. “We need to find ways that children with ADHD can move without being disruptive to others.’

In schools, classroom disruption from children with attention deficit disorders is a big concern for teachers and usual practice is for the pupils to be encouraged to stay calm and still. However, from this report’s findings, those rulings could actually be detrimental to students.

A key finding from this study is, that duration of movement, not the amount of times a child moves, has shown improvements in the child’s performance. For example, if a child is swinging their legs, the length of the movement releases the relevant chemicals, not the number of times the legs are swung.

While the current results are not conclusive, the study does have some interesting insights into the disorder and could pave the way for more thorough research into varying teaching procedures in classrooms.


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