My school provides a safe and structured learning environment for approximately 375 students. Our students come from a wide variety of backgrounds and life experiences. We value each and every one of them for their unique abilities and interests. It is a pleasure to greet them every morning and to watch them learn and grow.
Along with a diverse population of learners come students who have challenges as well.
Approximately 10 percent of our students have been diagnosed with ADD or ADHD, which means that every classroom has approximately 3 students with special learning needs. Typically, they bounce around, tap their feet, click their pens, and fidget with just about anything they can get their hands on.
As Behavior Specialist in Oregon, it is my job to help provide supports for students to be successful in the general education classrooms. Many students can I also help them learn ways to fidget unobtrusively so that they can learn and not disrupt their classmates. I work to give students real strategies and tips for helping them find greater success at school.
Historically, students with ADD and ADHD have been penalized or told to sit still during class activities or lessons. However, we now know that some students actually learn better if they are allowed to move around.
A recent study published in the Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology examined the link between hyperactive movement and knowledge retention.
Moving and spinning in the chair resulted in better retention for subjects who had ADHD. However, the same movement decreased the performance of the subjects without an ADHD diagnosis. One of the study’s researchers believes that moving actually helps students with ADHD become more alert.
The type of movement matters as well. While small movements help some students concentrate, larger movements are likely to distract them. For many teachers and students, these findings prove what they already know: some people learn better when moving.
By providing students with a bouncy band on their chair that allows them to move their feet with resistance or a textured cushion that’s inflated with air so they can adjust their position frequently will help them be more successful and reduce the amount of disruption they cause their peers.
Other students may benefit from smaller movements, such as manipulating a fidget toy discreetly in their hands. The fidgets I selected are small and silent, so other students would not be distracted, but the student with movement needs will be able to focus and retain information better.
My goal is with this project is to help all students in a given classroom receive the tools they need to be successful learners and enjoy their time at school!
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