A Dose of Mother Nature to Treat ADHD: How Outdoor Play Can Help Alleviate Symptoms of ADHD in Children

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How the Outdoors May Help

As teachers, we’ve all been touched by students who suffer from attention-deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Many educators struggle to understand this disorder and are often left confused with how to help our children cope. Recent research suggests that nature may help alleviate the symptoms of ADHD in kids, giving teachers a new possibility in helping ADHD sufferers in the classroom. Read on to learn more.

Ten percent of children with ADHD do not respond to medications while others have difficulty dealing with the unpleasant side effects. These staggering numbers have led doctors and parents to seek alternative approaches for managing ADHD symptoms. Historically, there has been a great deal of research investigating the link between nature, learning and well-being.

Encouraged by studies that linked natural environments with enhanced developmental activities including creativity, exploratory learning, and divergent thinking, one group of scientists investigated whether or not time spent playing outside could help manage ADHD symptoms. The results were promising for: the more natural the setting, the more the improvement in behavior. Playing outside in an open landscape or in the woods calmed the ADHD children more than participating in organized sports in park, a gymnasium or on a paved playground.

While these results offer a glimmer of hope for alternative ADHD coping strategies, it’s important to consider other approaches as well. Mere exposure to green surroundings is not the only alternative to medicating ADHD. Extensive literature exists on psychosocial treatments including parent training programs and classroom management strategies. As a parent or educator, it’s important to evaluate the specific symptoms and needs of each individual ADHD child.

Before trying alternatives to traditional ADHD medications, be sure to consult your doctor. To learn more, you can visit this site which explains some important information about alternative treatments for ADHD.

For more on Nature Deficit Disorder and the role of nature in mental and physical well-being, check out the following articles:

No Child Left Indoors: Nature-Deficit Disorder

Nature is Good for Mental and Physical Health: For Students and Teachers