New research suggests that students with ADHD find fidgeting helps learning. The common experience is that students often get into trouble for fidgeting, when in fact it may benefit them.
“The prevailing view has been and continues to be that hyperactivity is a core deficit in ADHD,” said study author Michael Kofler, an assistant professor of psychology at Florida State University in Tallahassee. “When we think of it as a deficit, we are saying it’s a bad thing and it’s interfering [with schoolwork]. Our work has been challenging that thought.”
25 boys and girls ages 8-12 with ADHD were given a series of memory tasks and researchers observed the amount of fidgeting that occurred as they worked. One task involved students remembering series of dots on the screen and reordered them according to color. They also had to remember series of letters and numbers.
Kofler speculated that fidgeting may increased”psychological arousal”. However the study did not prove this, and it was uncertain if the kids were fidgeting on purpose.