Fidgeting and learning

Today I came across an article titled Vindication for Fidgeters: Movement May Help Students With ADHD Concentrate.

I realize that labels and diagnoses are helpful to some people, but when I was homeschooling my young children, I didn’t think much about them. Schools can be especially difficult environments for active kids, but mine weren’t in school.

Besides homeschooling my own kids, for years I’ve facilitated book groups and writing groups for homeschoolers. Because I’m not a school teacher and never had to implement a curriculum or issue grades, I could be flexible and try different approaches. No matter what the angle, there were always some kids who just couldn’t sit still.

At first when I noticed kids fidgeting, scribbling, twirling pencils, or engaging in other kinetic behaviors, I assumed they weren’t paying attention. Ah, I thought. I haven’t caught their interest. I tried harder, but still, the behaviors persisted. Then I noticed that the kids I thought weren’t paying attention would make cogent comments that clearly demonstrated I was dead wrong. Ah, I realized. These kids, they’re all processing information in their own unique ways. I learned to relax about the fidgeting.

My hypothesis that fidgeting doesn’t mean a child (or an adult, for that matter) isn’t paying attention comes from my life experience, but I’m not surprised that a scientific study has reached the same conclusion. If it allows those who fidget to feel vindicated, that’s marvelous. I’m glad I didn’t need a study to figure out that sitting still isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.


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