Difficulty sitting still is a common symptom of ADHD. Fidgeting, continuous movement, and wiggling often leads to children distracting other, which in turn often results in them being reprimanded. Although researchers have developed different explanations for why children with ADHD experience a strong desire to move, it is unclear why it occurs. Some researchers have theorized that children with ADHD need to move for the physical sensation. Other researchers think that it is due to the inability of these children’s frontal lobes to inhibit their movement. Still other researchers think that fidgeting occurs because the brain is requiring more stimulation. At this point, there is no clear explanation for why children fidget; however, we do know that it is a common symptom of ADHD. While using medication can be effective in managing this symptom, it does not cure fidgeting and is only helpful when it is active in the system. Based on our current knowledge about ADHD the best approach to managing fidgeting is to understand that there is no cure and instead it is a symptom of the disorder. Here are a few tips to help your child work around fidgeting and not allow it to interfere with his/her life.
- Accept that fidgeting does not need to be stopped. It is important to understand that nothing awful will occur if you allow your child to fidget.
- Before directing your child to stop fidgeting, consider whether or not it is really necessary that the fidgeting stop. Ask yourself what would happen if you allowed to fidgeting to continue.
- It is often helpful to direct/structure your child’s fidgeting. Provide your child with a fidget tool. Items such as stress balls can be effective ways to allow your child to squeeze an object quietly and satisfy her/his urge to seek physical stimulation.
- Provide your child with a large exercise ball to sit on. This object will allow your child to wiggle and squirm without leaving their seat or distracting others.
- Allowing your child to doodle can help decrease fidgeting and squirming.
We offer counseling and social skills groups to help children cope with symptoms of ADHD. If you or someone you know would like more information contact our office at (503) 352-0240.