Does hyperactivity like fidgeting, bouncing, tapping, worming, squirming actually help children with symptoms of ADHD focus better? Authors of a previous study suggested this theory and their finding match with a similar study published in April which contends that “concentrating” and “sitting still” don’t go well for those with ADHD.
The new study examined 26 preteens and teens diagnosed with ADHD and 18 without ADHD. The participants, with ages ranging from 10 to 17, wore an ankle device to measure activity levels while taking a test assessing their ability to concentrate on a visual task.
The ADHD kids who moved most showed greatest accuracy in the test. Those without ADHD did not exhibit any altered accuracy patterns based on their movements. The study, published in the journal Child Neuropsychology, suggested the movement may have contributed to the levels of arousal of the teenagers with ADHD, aiding them to concentrate better.
The April study, published in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology, was small and conducted to slightly younger 52 kids between 8 to 12 years of age, 29 were diagnosed with ADHD while the rest showed normal development. The kids underwent a memory and concentration test series, like putting in order jumbled numbers and letters. Once again, the kids with ADHD who moved most performed the best. Even more surprising was those without ADHD who moved a lot actually performed poorly than the kids without ADHD who moved less.
Researchers and clinicians, for a long time, have dismissed hyperactivity as secondary to an ADHD person’s impulsiveness. These new studies supposes that hyperactivity is a coping or enhancing mechanism or a way to help kids think, but that idea could be overly simplistic, since hyperactivity differs among children and tends to fade with age, stated Dr. Glen Elliott, the Children’s Health Council in Palo Alto, California chief psychiatrist and medical director.