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Does School Cause ADHD and Other Attention Disorders?

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Are schools the cause of attention disorders in children?

I don’t know, but when I was in school, particularly in elementary, my typical day consisted of coming in, sitting in a desk for what seemed to be for-freaking-ever, go to recess for 2 seconds, eat lunch, then sit at a desk for more foreverness, maybe get another 2 seconds of freedom somewhere in there, then get on a bus and go home. Do you remember how hard it was to sit in that desk and listen to a grown-up talk about stuff you just were not interested in? I just wanted to go play outside, climb a tree, play basketball, anything to not have to listen to this pointless stuff, unless it was Science related, then I’d listen a little bit. No offense teachers, but that’s how I felt. 🙂 Also, I’d like to say thank you to all teachers out there, for putting up with our kids. I don’t know how you have the patience to mange all of their different personalities! 🙂

Not much has changed, except for some, recess has been reduced to 1 15-30-minute session per day, but if you got in trouble earlier that day, you might have to sit it out. PE happens once a week, and when you get into the upper grade levels, PE is offered for just 1 semester per school year, and recess becomes something you left back in elementary school. Being involved in sports helps, but not everyone likes sports. (I don’t know why, sports is super fun! But that’s just me.)

With the physical activity continuing to be reduced in our school systems and attention disorders increasing in our children, it appears we may want to take a closer look at bringing back more recess time or include more physical activities in our classrooms.

For Allison Cameron, at City Park Collegiate High School and teacher of 8th grade students with learning disabilities, behavioral problems, or domestic or personal issues, including 20 minutes of aerobic exercise in her classroom improved their focus, reduced cursing and classroom disruptions, and they jumped a full grade level in just 4 months! Most of her students were doing work at a 4th grade level. Some kids got off of Ritalin, reading and writing improved by 25-30%, and one student had a 400% increase in comprehension. What an amazing improvement! Why aren’t all schools doing this?


I believe most children who are ‘unruly’, are just kids with a lot of energy and a ton of ideas, and they just want to share it with their friends. They often don’t even have disabilities, they just can’t sit in a chair for so long. Let’s start here, before we bring out the drugs and get our kids on Ritalin or Adderall, let’s give them more play time, or do some jumping jacks, or see how many more push ups they can do today compared to yesterday. What do you say, shall we begin?

-Marian Ragan

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