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Wed Jul 9, 2014, 04:15 PM

Why so many kids canít sit still in school today

By Valerie Strauss

The Centers for Disease Control tells us that in recent years there has been a jump in the percentage of young people diagnosed with Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder, commonly known as ADHD: 7.8 percent in 2003 to 9.5 percent in 2007 and to 11 percent in 2011. The reasons for the rise are multiple, and include changes in diagnostic criteria, medication treatment and more awareness of the condition. In the following post, Angela Hanscom, a pediatric occupational therapist and the founder of TimberNook, a nature-based development program designed to foster creativity and independent play outdoors in New England, suggests yet another reason more children are being diagnosed with ADHD, whether or not they really have it: the amount of time kids are forced to sit while they are in school. This appeared on the TimberNook blog.

By Angela Hanscom

A perfect stranger pours her heart out to me over the phone. She complains that her 6-year-old son is unable to sit still in the classroom. The school wants to test him for ADHD (attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder). This sounds familiar, I think to myself. As a pediatric occupational therapist, Iíve noticed that this is a fairly common problem today.

The mother goes on to explain how her son comes home every day with a yellow smiley face. The rest of his class goes home with green smiley faces for good behavior. Every day this child is reminded that his behavior is unacceptable, simply because he canít sit still for long periods of time.

The mother starts crying. ďHe is starting to say things like, ĎI hate myselfí and ĎIím no good at anything.íĒ This young boyís self-esteem is plummeting all because he needs to move more often.


more

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2014/07/08/why-so-many-kids-cant-sit-still-in-school-today/

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Reply Why so many kids canít sit still in school today (Original post)
n2doc Jul 2014 OP
msongs Jul 2014 #1
villager Jul 2014 #3
NYC_SKP Jul 2014 #2
elleng Jul 2014 #4
QED Jul 2014 #8
LittleGirl Jul 2014 #9
NBachers Jul 2014 #20
TheBlackAdder Jul 2014 #5
n2doc Jul 2014 #6
Cryptoad Jul 2014 #7
LittleGirl Jul 2014 #10
TheBlackAdder Jul 2014 #12
Igel Jul 2014 #11
elleng Jul 2014 #14
iemitsu Jul 2014 #15
rickyhall Jul 2014 #13
unionthug777 Jul 2014 #16
grilled onions Jul 2014 #18
IkeRepublican Jul 2014 #17
glowing Jul 2014 #19
maindawg Jul 2014 #21
lunasun Jul 2014 #28
TBF Jul 2014 #22
Squinch Jul 2014 #23
Dayton L. Kitchens Jul 2014 #24
LWolf Jul 2014 #25
mike_c Jul 2014 #26
DhhD Jul 2014 #27
Name removed Sep 2014 #29
Post removed Sep 2014 #30

Response to n2doc (Original post)

Wed Jul 9, 2014, 04:20 PM

1. teacher needs to give the kid things to do that play to his strength - moving nt

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Response to msongs (Reply #1)

Wed Jul 9, 2014, 04:22 PM

3. but that would actually be "teaching," instead of "administering tests"

 

classroom facilitators are just hired for the latter, now...

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Wed Jul 9, 2014, 04:20 PM

2. K/R, and I've been saying this for years.

 

In my line of work, I get to see kids of all ages, and I work with adults, too.

Over time it becomes very clear that teacher centered activities don't work with any age group, and are increasingly unsuccessful as kids get older.

We beat the creativity and passion out of them as we try to make them conform.

The industry doesn't help, killing off hands-on programs and focusing more on the three Rs and test scores.

I've concluded that I'm ADHD, maybe we all are.

PS, I have many years in the classroom, additional years as an admin, and an advanced degree in education.

I'm out of there now but still providing services.

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Wed Jul 9, 2014, 04:24 PM

4. 'Children are going to class with bodies that are less prepared to learn than ever before.

A local elementary teacher tells me that at least eight of her twenty-two students have trouble paying attention on a good day. At the same time, children are expected to sit for longer periods of time. In fact, even kindergarteners are being asked to sit for thirty minutes during circle time at some schools.

The problem: children are constantly in an upright position these days. It is rare to find children rolling down hills, climbing trees, and spinning in circles just for fun. Merry-go-rounds and teeter-totters are a thing of the past. Recess times have shortened due to increasing educational demands, and children rarely play outdoors due to parental fears, liability issues, and the hectic schedules of modern-day society. Lets face it: Children are not nearly moving enough, and it is really starting to become a problem. . .

We quickly learned after further testing, that most of the children in the classroom had poor core strength and balance. In fact, we tested a few other classrooms and found that when compared to children from the early 1980s, only one out of twelve children had normal strength and balance. Only one! Oh my goodness, I thought to myself. These children need to move!'

------------------------------------------------------

Where are all the early childhood education geniuses???

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Response to elleng (Reply #4)

Wed Jul 9, 2014, 05:51 PM

8. The early childhood experts are summarily ignored by education reformers.

And now they want to start this test prep/college and career ready crap in preschool.

It's insane.

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Response to elleng (Reply #4)

Wed Jul 9, 2014, 06:00 PM

9. but you can't get a profit from kids play

only with ADHD drugs right?

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Response to elleng (Reply #4)

Wed Jul 9, 2014, 07:19 PM

20. I'm glad I grew up in the days of tree forts and apple wars.

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Wed Jul 9, 2014, 04:27 PM

5. Because school's closed for summer recess. nt

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Response to TheBlackAdder (Reply #5)

Wed Jul 9, 2014, 04:56 PM

6. (rim-shot)

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Wed Jul 9, 2014, 05:51 PM

7. no brainer

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Response to Cryptoad (Reply #7)

Wed Jul 9, 2014, 06:01 PM

10. THAT ^^

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Response to LittleGirl (Reply #10)

Wed Jul 9, 2014, 06:25 PM

12. THAT ^^ X2

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Wed Jul 9, 2014, 06:20 PM

11. We never sat still.

Now, though, it's expected to sit still more than ever. Fewer activities that allow kids to blow off steam.

Different acculturation.

We can even make the case that once a set of behaviors has been classed as a "disease" it's easier to spot, easier to record, and, well, who doesn't want to blame something external to their kid for their kid's problem?

Oddly, though, the entire ADHD diagnosis pattern has long been noticed to not only be increasing over time, but to have a geographical skew. http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/adhd/prevalence.html

Lately it's probably also true that a shorter attention span has been producing more problems--you have to *build* attention capacity, and for the last 40 years everything we've been making our kids do and watch has been aimed to satisfying that need of the mammalian brain for short, fast, bright colored things. Movies, games, modes of interaction. It sells movies, music, and services--but in the long term it's a crappy idea. It used to be that you could count on average attention span being age + 5 minutes, I think it was. Good luck getting the average 15-year-old to have a 20-minute attention span.

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Response to Igel (Reply #11)

Wed Jul 9, 2014, 06:46 PM

14. Yes.

Thanks for this.

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Response to Igel (Reply #11)

Wed Jul 9, 2014, 06:51 PM

15. And yet, one could make the argument that today's youth

do not spend enough time in quite, reflective contemplation either. One needs time, without music, texting, television, and things-that-need-to be-done-right-now to figure out the meaning of life.
Too busy for exercise and too busy to think. Sad.

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Wed Jul 9, 2014, 06:31 PM

13. When I was in school I had the same problem so they doped me with Ritalin.

Which I replaced with pot when I was a teenager. My problem in my opinion was boredom. When the class was interesting I was fine.

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Wed Jul 9, 2014, 06:56 PM

16. in my day...

it was simply called " ants in the pants "

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Response to unionthug777 (Reply #16)

Wed Jul 9, 2014, 07:08 PM

18. Yes It Was

Today they have lost imagination. While many of the school kids wait for something to entertain we just got creative. It's little wonder kids are so bored at school. Teachers cannot take the time to stretch those minds and kids have little time to stretch,period. Kids used to get to blow off steam. It was called recess. Too many schools ban balls,playground equipment and games where the goal is to actually win! It's bad enough that their toys/games are all electronic and books are so dull. We need to energize the classroom and not test them so much that school should be called exam class.

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Wed Jul 9, 2014, 07:05 PM

17. I'm so god damn sick of the medicating of kids

School is boring forgettable bullshit, handed out by castrated districts/administrators/teachers who aren't allowed to make any real decisions - EXCEPT recommend your kid be medicated.

This shit started in the late 80's when I was in school. I remember it quite well. All of a sudden Ritalin came on the scene, entry testing started taking place, corporal punishment was abolished and the asshole kids were essentially allowed free reign of the place.

I don't doubt for a second this got it's start right after Saint Ray-Gun gave Big Pharm unfettered access to push their diseased penis into everyone's affairs.

It's all designed to make the kids stupid zombies who say yes to everything, ie make them malleable consumers and corporate serfs.

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Wed Jul 9, 2014, 07:13 PM

19. I know, just from what I had for recess time and what they give kids today

 

is drastically different in just 25 - 30yrs. We used to have a 15 min outside break in the Am and Pm plus a 1/2 hr after lunch (so 1hr off of study and in seats). And not a bit of it effected our learning or comprehension. We always had good test scores on those assessments which used to be a teacher/ student/ parent help aid along with the school work we did in the classroom.

Now, they have so little time outside to just let loose. And really, kids that age have about 15 to 20 mins where they can focus and learn and retain. After 30mins, they won't retain it. Focus isn't that long for young children.

I happened to go to a small school that went up to 8th grade and we all got that same break time away from our desks, time to talk and chit chat, and just have a good brain break in between subjects. It seems insane how we are subjecting our young children from being young and having imagination and free time to think and have time to hang out with friends and run around a bit, into monotone drones.

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Wed Jul 9, 2014, 07:24 PM

21. I was that kid

 

I have a theory. I think that we have been fed a high sugar diet. Our diet is full of sugar, refined sugar. Ever since I was a kid, we ate tons of sugar and carbs. It got worse when they invented all the new fangled baby luxuries such as disposable diapers, modern medicine is a big reason and car seats , and the tippy cup and juice. The tippy cup, and juice are the reason our kids are all ADHD. When you have a group of rug rats running around you give them juice till they crash and then you get through another day. They all get ADHD.
Or you feed them cerial, and soup and carbs and candy.And hot dogs till they are plump little
beggars. They either get obese or get crazy. Or both.
We live in a toxic world. They are poisoning us and our children. When we complain about it , they treat us with scorn. They hate Al Gore and Micheal Moore. I guess what I am saying is, sugar is bad.

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Response to maindawg (Reply #21)

Sun Jul 13, 2014, 11:35 PM

28. +1

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Wed Jul 9, 2014, 10:05 PM

22. My pediatrician encouraged switching to water

when my kids were toddlers. My little boy will drink a large sports bottle of water every day - he carries it around the house with him. He's also allowed to have a water bottle at school so it continues through the school year. He's not particularly athletic but we get him outside when he's home and encourage biking, swimming etc even if he doesn't want to play a sport.

Not enough recess time, too much sugar, and way too many standardized tests.

This isn't brain surgery.

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Wed Jul 9, 2014, 10:42 PM

23. The things that USED to happen in kindergarten were exactly what a child that

age needs to be learning at kindergarten age. Kindergarten had games like duck duck goose, which is a perfect game that some genius devised that allows children to learn self regulation and the ability to sit still. They sit still for a while and then they are rewarded after a few minutes with a burst of activity, which is exactly what they need. Today, instead, they sit still for 7 hours and get NO activity.

All those kid games and activities are perfect for teaching the things that a child needs to be learning at that age.

The problem is not that these kids have ADHD, it's that the adults making the curriculum are morons.

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Thu Jul 10, 2014, 12:12 AM

24. Kids attention spans

Has anyone mentioned yet the impact of the massive use of personal electronic devices on teenagers attention spans yet?

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Thu Jul 10, 2014, 12:32 PM

25. This is great.

It's too true that the system sets kids up to spend way too much time sitting still.

There are all kinds of reasons why; they boil down to demands that we not "waste" instructional time, to behavior management, and to funding issues. Time is money.

Some of us do all kinds of things to try to get kids moving, if only briefly, off and on throughout the day. It's still not enough.

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Thu Jul 10, 2014, 02:04 PM

26. privatize playground and recess management...

...and the winning contract bid will certainly mandate hefty minimum facilities use guarantees, so the kids will get outside more often.

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Sat Jul 12, 2014, 03:54 PM

27. Children need 10 hours of sleep each day, otherwise some keep up their awareness, by extra activity.

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