Kinesthetic learners are a large part of the ADHD population, and the medical literature on ADHD reveals three areas of difficulty for them: school, relationships and accidents.
According to International Consensus Statement on ADHD, the following percentages show the high rate of difficulties for those with ADHD: “Follow-up studies of clinical samples suggest that sufferers are far more likely than normal people to drop out of school (32-40%), to rarely complete college (5-10%), to have few or no friends (50-70%), to underperform at work (70-80%), to engage in antisocial activities (40-50%), and to use tobacco or illicit drugs more than normal.”

Kinesthetic LearnersIn this section you will find tools to use in each of these three areas, including two powerful relationship tools we have used both professionally and personally with incredibly positive results. I am excited to share these tools with you.

School

Kinesthetic learners struggle in a traditional school. They will often get in trouble for moving, which they do whenever they are learning anything.

Because the kinesthetic learner learns through movement, these children are often labeled ADD or ADHD. Many will be given drugs to not move, which slows down their learning. They will be considered dumb or lazy throughout their educational career.

Look at the experience of one mom who came to one of my ADHD talks. She wrote to us:
“I listened to your talk and I was so impressed! The next day, when my 6-year-old son was standing in his chair looking at and feeling a clock face, I thought, ‘Why not see if the doctor is right?’ So instead of saying my usual ‘turn around, sit down, look at me, and listen,’ I asked him the questions in his book, never in a million years thinking that he was hearing me.
“Without even turning around, he’d answer the question and continue touching the clock. When I would say, ‘Now do (whatever action was next),’ he’d get down, do the required action, climb back up and look at the clock. We did his entire lesson (5-10 minutes) that way and he never missed an answer. I couldn’t believe it! We’re doing a lot more physical activity with his letters now and he’s finally ‘getting it!’ (Or maybe I’m finally getting it.)”Kinesthetic Learners

When we move, we think. And when we think, we move. Instructing us (talking to us) without our being able to move often goes over our head. It is as if we switch the teacher to “Ignore” so that we can focus on trying to sit still.

It took me over 25 years to realize that if I just did my homework, my teachers wouldn’t be mad at me. Up to that time I had just assumed that I was bad and that all their talking— “Did you do your homework? Why didn’t you do your homework? Blah, blah, blah!”— was completely unattached to their underlying feeling of anger and frustration. And I assumed they felt anger and frustration toward me because I was intrinsically a bad person. I figured their words were just their way of beating me up.

This phenomenon of kinesthetics feeling like the square peg in a world of round holes is seen over and over again. People will try to build up our self-esteem through praise and rewards. I can only say that I like rewards just as much as the next person, but I would rather have them for being me. So teach us in our learning style and teach us what our learning style is. This teaches me that I am a kinesthetic peg and there are lots of other kinesthetic pegs in this world. And the future is bright for any kinesthetic peg that knows how to use his or her strengths.

Stephen GuffantiAs a medical doctor, author, and homeschooler, Stephen Guffanti, M.D., offers a unique background and tremendous insight, and communicates with warmth and humor. Not only is Stephen a physician, but he’s also dyslexic and ADHD, and from this unusual perspective he brings hope and understanding to families. Born with a passion for education as well as medicine, Dr. Steve has served as the medical director of a clinic specializing in learning disorders and has studied nutrition and its effects on learning.
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