Saturday, March 14, 2009

Purposeful Hyperactivity, ADHD and Sensory Diet activities

Recent research in Abnormal Child Psychology reports on a study of 12 boys with ADHD were compared to 11 typically developing boys. All of the boys ages 8-12 years old wore actigraphs on their wrists and ankles during working memory tasks. The research indicated that all children moved more during working memory tasks but the boys with ADHD moved significantly more that the typically developing children. The researchers concluded that excessive movement in boys with ADHD may have a functional purpose during working memory tasks.

This is some great research to support sensory diet activities in the classroom. You can explain to teachers that movement may help the children to accomplish working memory tasks. Here is where theraband around desk chairs, swinging foot rests, balls, and other movement ideas can be helpful additions to the classroom. Reinforce the idea with teachers that by forcing any child to sit perfectly still during certain tasks may actually inhibit working memory.

On 4/9/09 Time Magazine printed an article about the previously mentioned study entitled Kids With ADHD May Learn Better By Fidgeting. Worth a read if interested in this topic.

Reference: Rapport, M, Bolden, J, Kofler, M et al (2008) Hyperactivity in Boys with Attenteion-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): A Ubiquitous Core Symptom or Manefestation of Working Memory Deficits? J Abnorm Child Psychol DOI 10.1007/s10802-008-9287-8


Chris said...

Interesting study - I would like to read it. Next question is: Does restricting/discouraging movement help or hinder performance? Or conversely,does allowing movement improve performance? Or does it not matter either way - and are these kids just hyperkinetic?

Brian Goldberg, Psy.D., BCBA said...

I agree and would love to see more research on this topic. But, how much movement? Are exercise breaks needed? Or just moving around the class, like in centers?

Anonymous said...

Hi,as an occupational therapist I would say that restricting/discouraging movement can or will hinder performance as observed in the classroom settings.It is imperative that children whom sensory integration does not function at optimal levels,will decrease their ability to focus on a task at hand,while if provided with sensory input/and the right movement seeked by the body to enable increase in attention span and thus retain more information provided.

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