Can Playing Outside Ease ADHD?

Readers — These studies discussed at Inhabitots seem to support what a lot of us feel in our guts: That outdoor play is probably very key, and taking it away in favor of more “safety” or more “education” has caused us a number of ills. Ironically, our kids are LESS safe (from depression, diabetes, obesity…) and LESS educated (about the natural world and all the things it makes you wonder about). So read this while you send your kids outside, perhaps this Saturday on Take Our Children to the Park…And Leave Them There Day!  – L

PLAYING IN THE GRASS MAY BE THE KEY TO EASING ADHD SYMPTOMS

by Jennifer Chait

Amazing but true, a new study, published in the journal Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being, shows that kids who regularly play in outdoor green spaces have milder Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) symptoms than those who play regularly indoors or in built outdoor environments. This study back up previous studies that show how kids majorly benefit from green spaces; i.e. spaces with plenty of grass and trees. For example, research posted by The Morton Arboretum shows that ADHD symptoms in children are relieved after contact with nature, asthma symptoms are reduced, and kids who play outdoors have less stress. Specifically, as related to ADHD, past research shows that kids experiencing ADHD can concentrate better, complete tasks better, and follow directions better after playing in a natural green space. Plus, the greener the setting, the more symptom relief.

READ MORE!

To calm down, kids need a hit of grass. (And trees. And flowers…)

 

47 Responses to Can Playing Outside Ease ADHD?

  1. Allison May 16, 2013 at 9:16 am #

    My 3 year old spends all day outside. Even rainy days. He isn’t allowed outside in a thunderstorm, but other than that…he’s out. He is very hyper. And much more manageable when he has been outside.

  2. Papilio May 16, 2013 at 10:01 am #

    I bet playing outside eases Attention Overdose Hypo-activity Disorder too :P

  3. Nicolas May 16, 2013 at 10:56 am #

    There is no objective evidence that ADHD exists. It is the medicalization of normal childhood (mostly boyhood) behavior, and of misbehavior. The rise of the ADHD diagnosis parallels the decline of two-parent families. A child in the home of a single mother is vastly more likely to be diagnosed than one in a cohesive family. This is children paying for the vices of their parents, to the immense profit of psychiatrists and drug companies.

  4. Krista May 16, 2013 at 10:58 am #

    As much as I love this, correlation is not causation. Who has constant access to non-structured, green spaces? My ideas:

    -Children that live in the country
    -Children that are homeschooled and have more time to travel to said outdoor space
    -Children of rich parents that live on large tracts of property

    There can be many different pieces of information missing from this equation. What are the children’s diets like? What about their schooling? Do they have TVs? Environmental pollutants from living in the city? Etc., etc., etc.

    So is playing outside, unstructured, amazing? Absolutely. Is it THE reason for ADHD? Nope.

  5. Krista May 16, 2013 at 11:03 am #

    Nicolas,

    Trust me, ADHD is real. Check out Dr. Amen. He has been studying all of those “fake” diseases that everyone “knows” are just behavior problems (ADHD, alcoholism, depression, etc.). He does brain scans and can show that the brains of people with ADHD are different than those without it. So, yes, it is real.

  6. Warren May 16, 2013 at 11:07 am #

    @Krista
    This does not state it is the cause of ADHD. Just that it can ease the symptoms of it.

    I agree, that more outside, unrestricted play, will occupy their minds and bodies alot more than indoor play. Indoor play by it’s very definition has restrictions.

    Let em go. Let run wild. Let play.

  7. anonymous this time May 16, 2013 at 11:14 am #

    So very not surprising.

    News flash: humans, like other animals, thrive on a connection with nature!

    Another news flash: humans thrive on interdependence, community, and sharing resources!

    North American 21st century culture: you’ve totally missed the boat.

  8. Sarah in WA May 16, 2013 at 11:34 am #

    All children need outside play time. Any teacher can tell you how it goes on the days when recess is canceled due to weather, etc. In two words: not well.

    Somehow even running around inside doesn’t quite cut it, either. I don’t know what it is exactly, but after getting some fresh air children can be completely different people, ADHD or not.

  9. lollipoplover May 16, 2013 at 11:59 am #

    I’ve always thought of kids with ADHD as the super-hyper hunting dogs of the kid world. Certain breeds of dogs are definitely more active and hyper. I have a GSP that is insanely hyper, with a severe case of OCD bird and she runs zoomer laps in my yard, climbs the kids playset chasing critters, and needs to be run several times daily to tire her out and keep her a *good* dog. She would go insane stuck indoors and would probably need medication. But with tons of outdoor time, she’s the best dog. Our other pointer doesn’t need nearly as much, she’s more laid back and easygoing.
    My kids have always gravitated to the outdoors. I enjoy walks with my dogs for fresh air to clear the mind and see what’s around me. I get cagey and irritable when i’m stuck indoors for too long so I imagine my kids are the same way. On good weather days, they’re outside as much as possible, especially after being cooped up in school all day.

  10. Deborah May 16, 2013 at 12:15 pm #

    I have a child with severe ADHD. He goes to a mainstream, public elementary school and they’ve figured this out. When my child starts to get super antsy, one of the paraprofessionals takes him outside to run for 5 minutes. He’s able to come back inside and do his work after that in a much calmer state of mind. We’ve worked hard to find the balance of using this technique as a tool and not a reward for bad behavior.

    He also spends a good majority of his time outside in the backyard or out riding his bike with his friends. Any kind of physical activity has amazing results for his ADHD behavior.

  11. J.T. Wenting May 16, 2013 at 12:20 pm #

    90%+ of ADHD “diagnoses” are just attempts to drug normally active kids into becoming nice little couch potatoes that don’t get into trouble, do exactly as they’re told, and never question authority.
    IOW perfect little drones.

    It’s no wonder the whole “ADHD epidemic” coincides with the destruction of kids being allowed to play outside, with the ever increasing risk aversion in our society that stifles creativity and entrepreneurship, etc. etc.

  12. Jenny Islander May 16, 2013 at 12:38 pm #

    @Deborah: My old elementary school did this years and years ago! They don’t do it anymore, which is a shame.

  13. Glennda May 16, 2013 at 12:52 pm #

    I am a mother of 4. Two gifted children and two children with severe ADHD. Yes it is real and yes the intensity of symptoms is different in everyone.

    We live on a small farm surrounded by nature. All of my kids benefit from time outdoors in nature. I am skeptical, however, that it is nature that “relieves” their symptoms.

    Physical activity is important for all children but it is downright necessary for my sanity. If their activity needs are not met all of my children are less cooperative and moodier (and hey so am I). The result of physical activity is magnified in kids with ADHD because their brains work differently. But a good session of boxing works just as well as bike riding or tree climbing to meet those needs in my sons (with or without ADHD).

    Believe me I am all for nature and outdoors. I chose to live on a farm in the woods! But there is no one magic answer. Nonetheless it’s good to remind everyone that nature is important.

  14. steve May 16, 2013 at 1:06 pm #

    RE:
    “…For example, research posted by The Morton Arboretum shows that ADHD symptoms in children are relieved after contact with nature, asthma symptoms are reduced, and kids who play outdoors have less stress.”

    —————

    Hmmm… First you have to believe ADHD is a disorder – instead of a personality style combined with other things like: childhood, boredom, high IQ, lack of discipline, etc.

    What would you think of that quote if it had read like this?

    “research posted by The CDC shows that HUNGER symptoms in children are relieved by eating a meal.”

    Should we consider HUNGER a disorder?

    ———Hunger Disorder————–

    Symtoms: Irritabilty, lack of focus, inattention in the classroom, weight loss, etc.

    Treatment: Eating food.

  15. Jenny Islander May 16, 2013 at 1:19 pm #

    @Glennda: The boys who had to run around and around until they felt in themselves that they could sit down and pay attention to the lesson were sent outside at first–but they ran home and got in trouble. Luckily the school was built with a common area (gym/cafeteria/small performance venue) in the center, with classrooms opening onto it. So the teacher left her door open and told them that she would look up regularly to see if they were passing her door. It worked just as well.

    I think that many kids diagnosed with ADHD have bouncing-off-the-walls-itis on top of measurable changes in the brain. Free, vigorous activity doesn’t cure it, but lack of same sure doesn’t help.

  16. Scott Lazarowitz May 16, 2013 at 1:42 pm #

    There really is no such thing as “ADHD.” There are normal childhood behaviors, now being labeled as exhibiting some sort of clinical “disorder.” But then, many normal adult behaviors are now being labeled as “abnormal” as well.

    http://www.cchrint.org/videos/disorders/adhd%E2%80%94labeling-normal-kids-mentally-ill/

    Much of this is for the profit-seeking of the greedy Big Pharma drug-dealers, alas.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-peter-breggin/children-and-adhd_b_1026477.html

  17. Peter May 16, 2013 at 2:22 pm #

    I won’t go so far on the limb of “ADHD isn’t a real disease,” but one quote from the article struck me as odd:

    […] kids who regularly play in outdoor green spaces have milder Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) symptoms than those who play regularly indoors or in built outdoor environments.

    Now, I don’t know if Lenore edited it and lost some information, but the way I read this is that all kids have ADHD symptoms, but some are milder than others. I’m not sure I’m buying into that.

  18. Nicole May 16, 2013 at 3:17 pm #

    I think there are some kids who truely have a brain difference, and many kids who have milder but similar “symptoms” caused by anything from not enough outdoor play, to not enough sleep, to modern changes in expectations.

    It’s likely a combination of lots of things, but I definitely think more nature can only help.

  19. Chihiro May 16, 2013 at 3:32 pm #

    ADHD is completely over-diagnosed. The ‘ADHD epidemic’ is pretty much the result of over-bearing parents trying to drug their normally active kids into submission.
    I have one friend whose ADHD is so severe he doesn’t even trust himself to drive a car. But other than that…I don’t really see a problem with kids diagnosed with ADHD. If anything, the medication hurts because it literally just wipes some kids out.

  20. Elsie May 16, 2013 at 4:44 pm #

    Regardless of whether ADHD is real or not, I think there is something valuable to be gained from this message. In his book, Last Child in the Woods, Richard Louv writes:

    “Even without corroborating evidence or institutional help, many parents notice significant changes in their children’s stress levels and hyperactivity when they spend time outside. “My son is still on Ritalin, but he’s so much calmer in the outdoors that we’re seriously considering moving to the mountains,” one mother tells me. Could it simply be that he needs more physical activity? “No, he gets that, in sports,” she says. Similarly, the back page of an October issue of San Francisco magazine displays a vivid photograph of a small boy, eyes wide with excitement and joy, leaping and running on a great expanse of California beach, storm clouds and towering waves behind him. A short article explains that the boy was hyperactive, he had been kicked out of his school, and his parents had not known what to do with him—but they had observed how nature engaged and soothed him. So for years they took their son to beaches, forests, dunes, and rivers to let nature do its work.

    The photograph was taken in 1907. The boy was Ansel Adams.”

    It’s a great book for anyone who believes in the power of outside play in nature.

  21. Deborah May 16, 2013 at 5:52 pm #

    Medication is a great tool. It’s not going to fix it. But coupled with therapy, lots of active play and some some considerations at school, it’s a godsend. I know my child has shown a huge difference since starting. It doesn’t change him. It allows all the “noise” to go to the background and his true personality comes out. Instead of being a bundle of constant movement, talking and over sensitive, his true self of being funny, smart, and compassionate comes out.

    I’m bipolar and rely on medications to help me through life. But it’s a tool. Like my therapy is a tool to help me live life as healthy and active as possible.

    Is it over diagnosed? Probably. Is medication overused? Probably. But for MY CHILD, it’s been amazing.

  22. Deborah May 16, 2013 at 5:55 pm #

    Just because some kids are misdiagnosed and it’s over diagnosed, don’t lump us all together and make blanket statements that ADHD doesn’t exist and medication isn’t necessary.

  23. Deborah May 16, 2013 at 5:57 pm #

    Parents do the absolute best they can to raise, happy, healthy, successful children. And we should do EVERYTHING possible to reach those goals.

  24. Steve S May 16, 2013 at 6:09 pm #

    “Much of this is for the profit-seeking of the greedy Big Pharma drug-dealers, alas.
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-peter-breggin/children-and-adhd_b_1026477.html

    Besides big pharma, the mainstream medical community disagrees with your assertion. As for the author that wrote the article you mentions, he makes a great deal of money from being a hired “expert” and also from touting his theories and therapies.

    I had heard about him a few years ago. This article does a fairly good job showing some of his problems and deficiencies:

    http://www.quackwatch.com/11Ind/breggin.html

  25. hineata May 16, 2013 at 7:04 pm #

    @Deborah – if it works for your child, that’s fantastic. I have seen drugs work well on some kids diagnosed with ADHD, and they did work miracles. That said, there appears to be a low rate of diagnosis of ADHD here, kids (in my school, anyway, and most of the schools I’ve relieved in) head outside for fitness/PE first thing in the morning, and it’s normal to turf the more ‘hyper’ ones outside for a quick run between lessons or just when they’re getting restless. So those that are still needing drugs are likely to be the genuine cases.

    I don’t get how nature relieves asthma, though. My husband never got asthma until he arrived in New Zealand as an adult, and his symptoms appear to be set off by all the pollen in the air we have at different times of the year. My understanding was that NZ has one of the world’s highest incidences of asthma, and that a lot of that is related to all the greenery.

  26. hineata May 16, 2013 at 7:09 pm #

    Also, frankly, as a parent, sometimes you just have to say ‘bugger the world’ and do what works for your kid. I can’t count the number of times I’ve been told off by the know-it-all bolshy parents and pseudo-health ‘experts’ for allowing doctors to give my kid so many antibiotics. Well, antibiotics are the only things that work with some conditions, like drugs are necessary for some types of illness. If ya need em, use em.

  27. Donald May 16, 2013 at 7:32 pm #

    Lenore

    …..That outdoor play is probably very key, and taking it away in favor of more “safety” or more “education” has caused us a number of ills. Ironically, our kids are LESS safe (from depression, diabetes, obesity…)

    I knew it – or actually I didn’t know it. I am the opposite of a bonsai parent. I have strong feelings but in the other direction. I’m certain that obsessing about safety of children puts them in real danger! I can’t explain it without sounding like a raving lunatic. I have strong feelings but weak on literature to back up my claims.

    I was a telephone counselor for a crises hotline. I have seen a lot of damage (including life threatening) because of anxiety and depression. These are real life problems. They aren’t from the land of make believe like Nightmare on Elm Street, CSI, Saw 3, Law and Order, and Gilligan’s Island.

    It’s a breath of fresh air when you find articles like this.

  28. Jenn May 16, 2013 at 9:13 pm #

    I would be curious to see how the behaviour of non-ADHD children compares to the ADHD children with the outdoor play `prescription’. Teachers can attest how squirrelly their entire class is after an indoor recess and parents commiserate after a stormy day indoors with their kids.

    I have a group of friends who have children with ADHD, some medicated and some not. One friend decided to medicate her son because he was struggling at school and with peers. Fortunately for him, their doctor was very supportive, as she did not want him to always be on drugs. They tried out a few fast release meds until they found one that works. He only takes it on the morning of school days. My friend figures that she is able to cope and manage his behaviour and wanted him to receive the support he needed to be successful at school. She also looked at the time that he was on medication as a window of opportunity for him to learn the skills he needed so that he could manage and regulate his behaviour when he was off meds. After a month, she asked him how it was going and he told her, “I didn’t know that when a teacher gives you work to do, they show you how to do it first.” My friend was floored. She is a teacher at his school so she knows how much guided practice and modelling goes on. It really opened her eyes (and those to who she shares that story with) as to a snapshot of what it is like for an ADHD kid. Her son is doing a lot better academically (not A’s but solid B/C student now) and socially.

    Over the holidays we had a party and all my friends with their ADHD kids were over. Her son was off his meds since it was the holidays. The kids were having a great time, but you could tell who the ADHD kids were. They were jumping on furniture (these are 8-12 year olds), throwing toys and food, yelling in each other’s faces. There was a lot of tattling, arguments requiring adults to intervene and many tears. As a parent, I was not happy to see our kids behaving with such disrespect towards not only the home of the person hosting the party, but also to each other. The one kid who was having nothing to do with this craziness was my friend whose ADHD son was off his meds. She asked him why he wasn’t causing trouble like the others and he said, “I knew I would lose control and get in trouble so I decided to ignore them all play a game under the table”. The other parents of ADHD kids (who have never been medicated) all were baffled and consequently are exploring whether medicating their child is an option since what they have been doing in the past has not been working.

    Medication doesn’t work for everyone but it is worth exploring. You would not deny a person glasses if they were hard of seeing, or a wheelchair if they could not work. Medication for some ADHD patients is vital for their success (and not just at school) ADHD is a medical condition that needs support.

  29. Kate May 16, 2013 at 10:47 pm #

    Jenn, I love your story about your friend’s son. I’m trialing medication with my son in the hope that he can avoid learning some of the damaging maladaptions I picked up over a lifetime of unmedicated ADHD.

    ADHD makes it difficult for the brain to maintain neural connections – it’s like you’re trying to build a house of cards, it doesn’t take much more than a light breeze or a footstep to knock the whole thing down. Medication is like being given lego instead of cards. The connections are stronger, and they last longer. So I think the trick must be to make sure that the right patterns are learned – medication won’t help a child in the long run if he or she is not also helped to learn good habits of mind.

    ———

    To get back to the original article, I’ve seen the effect nature has on my son, and my brother, and myself (all diagnosed with ADHD; it is *strongly* inheritable.) I think indoor activity has less effect because it doesn’t provide the same combination of physical activity and sensory relief.

    Indoors, sounds bounce back, footsteps thud, voices echo; your vision has limits in every direction, broken into competing fields with posters, windows, pictures, displays, even wallpaper and paint patterns. Sorting all of this out is draining. The outdoors is a relief – there is a lot to see but ‘green spaces’ place many of those things farther off; your visual field gently flows from one thing to the next; sounds fade into the distance rather than bouncing back so it is easier to focus on only the sounds you want.

    It’s just…relaxing. Combined with physical motion – which helps to shut out the other sensory stimuli even further, and activates the naturally focus-enhancing adrenal glands, it really makes quite a lot of sense that ADHD kids especially find benefit from lots of time outdoors!

  30. J.T. Wenting May 16, 2013 at 11:50 pm #

    “Now, I don’t know if Lenore edited it and lost some information, but the way I read this is that all kids have ADHD symptoms, but some are milder than others. I’m not sure I’m buying into that.”

    Peter, by the definition of ADHD as currently used (which probably is being gradually broadened to include everyone, as is being done/has been done with “obesity” (you’re now just about obese the moment you’re not anorexic) and diabetes (the glucose levels above which people are classed as diabetics are being gradually reduced, I think some 20-30% or more over the last decade if not more), and a host of other things.
    Remember the sudden jump in “aspergers” diagnoses a few years back, suddenly everyone had it? I looked up the new symptom list, there’s dozens of symptoms, many just plainly common in most of the population, and if you have any 2-3 of them you’ve got aspergers.
    Same with ADHD now.
    Here (not the US) charities abuse such things to scare people into thinking they are surrounded by risk, that it’s just a matter of time before they get some horrible disease, and of course “give us money so we can fund research into a vaccine”. Latest scam here is strokes, the description of symptoms is as vague as “if you see someone walking weird or speaking in a slur, or if your legs or arms feel a bit numb, call 911. Immediate hospital care saves lives. And oh, donate on xxxxxxxxx so we can develop a vaccine against strokes”.

  31. J.T. Wenting May 16, 2013 at 11:58 pm #

    “I don’t get how nature relieves asthma, though. My husband never got asthma until he arrived in New Zealand as an adult, and his symptoms appear to be set off by all the pollen in the air we have at different times of the year. My understanding was that NZ has one of the world’s highest incidences of asthma, and that a lot of that is related to all the greenery.”

    asthma is not one condition, it’s an entire spectrum.
    In many people it’s caused by pollution, so getting them out into the country where there’s no smog, few cars and diesel powered trains, no smokestacks, does them wonders.
    For others it’s hayfever caused by pollen, they suffer whereever the specific plant they’re most receptive to is common (yes, that differs between persons).

  32. hineata May 17, 2013 at 2:09 am #

    Ta JT. That’s interesting. Hubby comes from a very polluted environment, and thinks it quite ironic that hr wasn’t affected until he hit fresh air.

  33. baby-paramedic May 17, 2013 at 4:23 am #

    I was rostered on for several weeks with someone with ADHD. No amount of physical activity seemed to dull his hyperactivity. At the end of our month working together I was contemplating sedation! So, I do believe ADHD is very real.
    But, I do strongly believe most cases of ADHD that are diagnosed these days, are children that would have been considered perfectly normal once. It is not normal to sit still all day, we need movement and activity. And I believe with that movement, there is a relief in the severity of the symptoms in many cases.

  34. Earth.W May 17, 2013 at 4:35 am #

    I’m of the mind that we need to go back to understanding that some children were made to be outside letting off their energy. Some need to learn how to do things with their hands like mechanics and woodwork, etc.

  35. BL May 17, 2013 at 6:07 am #

    @Krista
    “He does brain scans and can show that the brains of people with ADHD are different than those without it.”

    1) Dr Peter Breggin has said that every investigation of that sort that he has looked at did testing on ADHD children that were already on drugs for it. Could it not be the drugs that are changing the brain? Breggin says people like Dr Amen are curiously resistant to doing any testing post-diagnosis but pre-drug.

    2) Even if the brain scans legitimately show something different, does that prove the difference is a disease? It shows difference, period. Why shouldn’t some people be more active than others? Because it doesn’t fit institutional or political policies?

  36. CrazyCatLady May 17, 2013 at 9:38 am #

    My son was diagnosed with ADHD 3 years ago. I got the diagnosis to know what I was dealing with. We homeschool, and I felt I could deal with it if I knew what it was. We choose not to do medications. My son, from a very early age, moved much more than any other child I knew. (And I had worked at a large preschool, so I knew lots of kids.) Lots of outside time was a sanity saver for me and him – it did help some to calm him.

    Right after the diagnosis, my son started vision therapy. He had convergence and other issues where he couldn’t focus on words on the page for very long. When he stopped trying hard, the words moved around. We had him do the vision therapy for his issues with reading. But what actually happened was amazing. He had a bunch of sensory issues – he needed to touch everything. Even at age 8, everything went in his mouth, at the park he would twirl on the tire swing long after other kids barfed. (Some of those things that made me wonder if it was ADHD or something else.) With vision therapy…it all went away. So did the H in ADHD. What I found out during therapy was that when he was looking at things, unless he was able to concentrate hard – he saw two of them. But if he moved…it made it easier for him to see one. So he moved….a lot! The sensory things went away – I think because one sense was out of whack, his body wanted to compensate with the other senses.

    My son still has some attention issues. At some point, when he says he wants it so he can study more effectively, I will take him back to be re-evaluated. But he may not need it – maturity is doing wonders, as well as still having lots of time outside.

    So, did my son have ADHD? Maybe. He certainly fit all the criteria. But the “cure” was not meds – it was vision therapy. Recently we have found that diet changes (as Dr. Amen recommends) also make a difference. No cereal for breakfast – lots of protein instead. Medication doesn’t have to be the first choice for treatment, and probably shouldn’t be the first choice.

  37. Uly May 17, 2013 at 9:52 am #

    don’t get how nature relieves asthma, though. My husband never got asthma until he arrived in New Zealand as an adult, and his symptoms appear to be set off by all the pollen in the air we have at different times of the year.

    Have you heard of the hygiene hypothesis? The idea is that exposure to allergens (and germs, and dirt) when young helps your body react to them appropriately when older.

  38. Jenny Islander May 17, 2013 at 10:39 am #

    When I was a kid, the rule in most classrooms was “Real or Simulated Respect.” Now it’s “Seated and Silent.” And there’s a poster in the lunchroom explaining how quiet kids have to be even at lunchtime!

    Maybe it’s the teachers who need some stress-relieving medication.

    Or, I dunno, less test prep and more recess? Just a crazy idea of mine.

  39. Krista May 17, 2013 at 12:07 pm #

    BL: Just a note, there is ADHD (bouncing off the walls) and ADD (no bouncing).

    I have ADD. It’s also referred to as “inattentive ADHD”. I’m don’t have high activity levels. It’s just really, really, really hard for me to focus on anything. I spent most of my live believing I was lazy or just not trying hard enough or rude, etc.

    It has been a immense blessing in my life to realize that my brain is different. It helped to alleviate a lot of my depression and self-hate.

    So when so many people get on here and talk about how ADHD and ADD are fake and made up and blah blah blah, yeah, that hurts. It reminds me that nearly everyone else just believes that I’m just not able to control myself. That I really am lazy and rude and that’s my fault.

    The problem with brain diseases is they usually express themselves with behaviors. Everyone wants to think that behaviors are generated from the person themselves and their character, not their brain. They want to believe they can “prevent’ ADD by disciplining harder, or having just the right schedules, or telling the kids to get over it.

    My husband is diabetic. When his sugar is high he is mean and rude. I don’t blame his personality, I blame the physical condition of his body. Once his sugar is brought down by an outside source of insulin he’s fine. He’s nice. He can function. I don’t tell him, “You don’t need that insulin. Your body is just different and YOU need to get yourself under control. Just lower your blood sugar yourself.”

    Why are brain disorders any different?

  40. J.T. Wenting May 17, 2013 at 3:09 pm #

    Krista, ADHD is a hoax, or rather what it has become is a hoax.
    I’m sure there are SOME people who have a real condition of hyperactivity.
    But the vast majority of diagnoses are just to turn normal, active, inquisitive, kids into numb, mindless, drones who’re perfectly happy to sit still in class with glassy eyes on the blackboard all day, then sit quietly on the couch watching television all evening, before quietly going to bed when their parents tell them to, all the way through school before they do the same on their social security checks because they’ll never have learned anything of value that lets them earn a living of their own.

  41. Scott May 17, 2013 at 9:10 pm #

    @J. T. Wending.
    With all due respect, you don’t know what you are talking about. On the one hand you say its all a hoax, yet you follow with “I’m sure there are SOME people who have a real condition . . .” Which is it? Apply a little scientific method and logic to your argument.

    I became aware of ADD when I was in my 30’s. When I when back an looked at my report cards from the late 60’s and early 70’s I was a classic, if not mild, case. While I don’t have the hyperactivity part, I definitely have the attention deficit part. Due to a lack of health insurance coverage, I have lived without medication for over a decade. Now that in my mid 50’s, I am back on medication, my life is significantly better. The kicker for me is that I am mildly OCD as well. Needless to say the obsessive part of me gets very frustrated at the ADD side when I don’t finish a project.

    In addition, I’m a high school math teacher. I have one student who is well behaved and very polite but struggles will staying on task. He says the problem is he is in my last class of the day and his meds are wearing off. He can understand the material, contributes to the class and is able to get good grade, but its hard work for him. But, he’s no “mindless drone”.

    Granted, I have only provided two anecdotal reports, which is not full scientific evidence. However, there is a preponderance of other evidence that convinces me its real. And I take a very skeptical look at everything. My engineering and science background taught me to do so.

    So, unless you have some real, hard, scientific data to refute the diagnosis, don’t disrespect those of us who live with it everyday, either personally or in our working life.

  42. hineata May 19, 2013 at 6:50 am #

    @Uly – only in relation to dirt and germs, as you say, but if you mean that his reactions could be because he wasn’t exposed to the types of pollens we have here when he was young (as opposed to the copious amounts of actual pollutants he was exposed to) then that certainly makes sense. Is there some kind of switch-off as you get older? I.e. he doesn’t seem to be getting any better though he’s been here decades now – do you need to be exposed as a kid?

  43. Margaret May 19, 2013 at 12:23 pm #

    Thank you Krista and Scott. My son has ADHD inattentive type, and now that we have started medication, there is a huge improvement in the amount of work he does in class. Previously, he would do almost no written work. When I attended the assessment meeting, nothing the psychologist said about what he had observed in my son was a surprise to me until he said it was ADHD. I had the stereotypical notion that ADHD was all about being hyperactive. It is not. It affects much more than just activity levels. Here is my contribution: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SCAGc-rkIfo.

  44. pentamom May 20, 2013 at 10:57 am #

    Can we just say that whatever is or isn’t the case about ADHD, that playing outside eases whatever issues people rightly or wrongly think is attributable to ADHD, and GET THE POINT OF THE ARTICLE?

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. A Coffee Chat | Jade Keller - May 22, 2013

    […] previous generations (or even different cultures) had no problems doing on their own. As she says in a post about outdoor play reducing ADHD, “outdoor play is probably very key, and taking it away in favor of more “safety” or more […]

  2. Children with ADHD | all-about-life-tips.com - May 22, 2013

    […] Can Playing Outside Ease ADHD? […]

  3. Age appropriate video games « KBlakeCash - June 7, 2013

    […] Many of us have bemoaned the lack of social skills in the age of social media. We recall the idea of “outside“, that place where things grew out of the dirt, and bugs and lizards lived. The place that had baseball diamonds, or maybe asphalt. The place that a growing number of preschoolers rarely see. The place that might actually ease ADHD. […]