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Exploring the benefits of physical activity for students diagnosed with ADHD

Posted by Dr. Julian Reed on Feb 28, 2017 7:15:00 AM
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A recent article from the Washington Post details the findings of a new study on people with ADHD. From the article:

"For the first time, scientists can point to substantial empirical evidence that people with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder have brain structures that differ from those of people without ADHD. The common disorder, they conclude, should be considered a problem of delayed brain maturation and not, as it is often portrayed, a problem of motivation or parenting."

The National Institute of Mental Health lists symptoms of ADHD as difficulty staying focused and paying attention, difficulty controlling behavior, and hyperactivity or over-activity. Did you know that using movement as a tool to enhance learning has been found to decrease behavioral episodes of children with ADD and ADHD? Some ADD and ADHD can be treated with non-pharmacologic agents such as physical activity. Perhaps teaching the elementary curriculum with specific emphasis on fundamental movements could decrease the symptoms associated with ADD and ADHD.

According to a 2015 study by the MIND Institute at the University of California-Davis, physical activity seems to allow children with ADHD to focus on what they are doing. In children with a diagnosis of ADHD, the study found:

  • Children who moved more intensely showed better cognitive performance.
  • The accuracy of children's performance on tests significantly improved when they were moving.
  • Hyperactivity in children with ADHD may help them think.

Many educators and parents alike understand the value of physical activity for all students. However, the challenge is carving out time in already-busy school days for students to be active. ActivEd can help! Walkabouts integrate math, language arts, and reading standards into movement-rich lessons and can be completed in the classroom or at home. 

Topics: adhd, move to learn

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Walkabouts are online adventures that transform math, language arts, and reading fundamentals into standards-based, movement-rich lessons for Pre-K through second grade students. At ActivEd, we know that kids learn more, are more engaged, and are healthier when they are active both in and out of the classroom. 


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