ORLANDO, Fla., April 18 (UPI) -- Against popular belief, new research by the University of Central Florida shows that children with ADHD learn better when left to wiggle and tap.
Traditional approaches aim to subdue ADHD children. "It's exactly the opposite of what we should be doing for a majority of children with ADHD," study author and head of UCF Psychology's Children's Learning Clinic Mark Rapport said in a press release.
"The message isn't 'Let them run around the room,' but you need to be able to facilitate their movement so they can maintain the level of alertness necessary for cognitive activities." The study, published in the Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology further confirms the assertion that hyperactive movement in ADHD children serves a constructive purpose.
In other words, the hyperactivity traditionally frowned upon in students helps them maintain alertness in class -- it only needs to be directed.
The study suggests students diagnosed with the disorder may perform better in the classroom, with homework and on testing days when physically engaged by sitting on an activity ball or exercise bike.
Previous research by Rapport has already shown that hyper behavior in children is actually evident "only when they need to use the brain's executive brain functions, especially their working memory."
"What we've found is that when they're moving the most, the majority of them perform better," said Rapport.
The opposite goes for children without ADHD, however. They also moved more during tests, though they performed worse.