Angela Hanscom is a pediatric occupational therapist. She spent time researching how students’ ability to focus in school is impacted by their inactivity throughout the day. She believes that students have even been inappropriately diagnosed of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Upon writing on this topic, Hanscom visited a local school to observe a middle school classroom first hand.
Over the course of 90 minutes, Hanscom noticed that she was very uncomfortable herself. She found herself contorting into strange positions just to pay attention. Her leg was even bouncing to stay alert. The keyword here was fidgeting. As she looked around, the children’s actions were much the same. Half of the class was slouched over their desks and other students would make routine trips to the bathroom and pencil sharpener. Angela Hanscom intended to observe for a full day, however she decided to leave right after lunch. She questioned how these students managed to tolerate such circumstances day after day.
The human body is not designed to remain still for long periods of time. Effects such as tight ligaments and underdeveloped sensory systems may occur. The overall idea is that the body becomes weaker when it is not being regularly active. Teachers are aware of the importance of their students moving around. However, they are faced with the challenges of covering more material in less time in order to produce higher test scores. Parents are reaching out to school officials to help encourage change. Hopefully school will become more aware of children’s need to move. To read more about Angela Hanscom’s research, visit the Washington Post here.