Ask the Experts

Meds and Movement

“My child’s teachers are always trying to get him to sit still, but he seems to learn better when he moves around. ADHD medication has increased his focus, but is there any evidence that movement does as well?”

Your observations about your child may be correct. A recent study published in the Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology showed that attention and working memory improved when children with ADHD were more physically active. In other words, their hyperactivity may play a function in increasing learning. Children without ADHD did not learn better when they were more active.

This research, especially if confirmed in additional studies, may indicate that we need a new approach to teaching children with ADHD. Of course, your child’s movement breaks should not distract the rest of the class. So it is worth a discussion with the teacher. Using a “wiggle seat,” which allows a child to stand up at his desk, or having a child walk around the perimeter of the classroom, may help your son.