The pen clicker in the third row, the doodler intently focused on their sketch, the one constantly shifting in their chair, and the one folding paper into fortune tellers that will become a source of laughter and fun at recess: These are all common sights in the average child’s classroom and for many years teachers have condemned this type of behavior. But a study published by “Child Neuropsychology” says that fidgeting in class might actually be beneficial for children with ADHD, as these small movements can increase their attention levels.
The study recruited children with ADHD between the ages of 10 and 17 and ran them through a series of tests. The results showed what students have been trying to tell their teachers for years: that children who were allowed to move performed better on these tests. The theory behind this being that ADHD children use more cognitive functions when allowed to fidget and move around, leading to higher results of accuracy. Teachers shouldn’t discourage this type of behavior in the classroom as long as it remains undisruptive.
One of the ways that ADHD children can fidget without being disruptive is by playing with small, inconspicuous toys or objects at their desk. There are many such toys sold online such as the ones at Office Playground (http://www.officeplayground.com/Fidget-Toys-C102.aspx). The key to having even strict teachers accept these fidget toys in the classroom is to ensure that the toy does not become a distraction for the other students by stressing the importance to your child that this toy is not to share around the classroom but is for them to use quietly while doing work. Even doodling can be a method to increase focus. The danger with doodling is that while it can be useful during an auditory lecture, it is less effective during exercises where the hands need to be engaged in writing for class. If teachers were to permit these small movements it would assist ADHD children in their through processes.
If your child in still struggling in class because of their ADHD there are a variety of options to help. The Sachs Center in New York City offers tutoring along with therapy. In tutoring, your child can make sure they have a thorough understanding of the topics covered in class, and in therapy, they learn techniques that allow them to use their ADHD constructively as in the example above.