This week’s Time Magazine has an interesting article about how kids with ADHD learn. According to a recent small study at the University of Central Florida, fidgeting may help stimulate networks in the brain that control working memory.If that’s true, squirming may work in much the same way as caffeine and Ritalin.
ADHD makes it hard for kids to use their brain’s executive functioning — its ability to master unexpected circumstances. It also makes it very hard to follow lists of instructions, like “Take out the book, turn to page 4, do exercises 1-10, and then take out your reading”. If a child has trouble with working memory, they can’t hold all that information. This is what makes it seem that kids aren’t paying attention.
So if your child has ADHD, rather than say “quit fidgeting!”, you may want to let your child figet away. It may be their way of paying of attention.