For those with ADHD, fidgeting is just a normal part of life. It is considered to be a method of coping with ADHD, whether it is done subconsciously or on purpose.
Unfortunately, while fidgeting may assist ADHDers with their concentration, it can often be quite disruptive to others in either business or school settings. Staff A at Attention Deficit Connect, provides these tips for making fidgeting less noticeable and less distracting to others.
Use a fidget object. Many children experience a greater ability to concentrate when they have a fidget object upon which they can focus their extra energy, according to Brain Balance Achievement Center’s website. Anything tactile, like a Rubik’s Cube, plastic brainteaser puzzle, rubber pencil, etc., can be used. ADDitude Magazine recommends making a stress ball by putting sand in an uninflated balloon. This fidget can be used by you or your child to squeeze when trying to focus on a task or to calm down.
Other items that work well are moldable, such as Play-Doh, Silly Putty and koosh balls, or toys that require touching, like Chinese finger traps. Pipe cleaners can be used to make toys or just meet the need for touching something. Now there is a specific for ADHD fidget objects, like jewelry with movable parts and Tangle Fidget Toys, a set of rings said to help stimulate your brain.
Seat modifications may become necessary if small fidgeting with your hands does not meet your need for movement. Bouncy or balance seats are especially helpful for children who need assistance in focusing in class, and for adults who need a little extra help while working (sitting) at their desk. Bouncing up and down on these seats direct your energy to the chair while it enhances focus on the deed at hand.
Balance seats come in different forms. One often used is a yoga ball that has been placed into a circular section several inches tall or has been sliced to fit into a similar section. When using the sliced yoga ball, the rounded section will go onto the seat while you sit on the flat end. You can use your core to maintain balance while you sit, giving you a decent workout as well as assisting you with concentration.
Besides small movements to help you pay attention, becoming more physical while you work/study may be especially useful. Consider working while on a treadmill or by standing at your desk, if possible. You can also place a pedaling system under your work space so you can pedal like you are biking while making phone calls or answering emails. Whether working at home or somewhere else, try pacing or switching from sitting to standing, whenever possible.
These suggestions will also benefit students; however, it is extremely helpful to let your child’s teacher(s) know in advance if she needs to participate in fidgeting activities or to move frequently. Teachers can help provide a way in which your child can do so without it being disruptive to the class, as well as have a way to explain to other students why your child will have a few special privileges.