According to the Center for Disease Control (From the CDC website):
- Approximately 11% of children 4-17 years of age (6.4 million) have been diagnosed with ADHD as of 2011.
- The percentage of children with an ADHD diagnosis continues to increase, from 7.8% in 2003 to 9.5% in 2007 and to 11.0% in 2011.
- Rates of ADHD diagnosis increased an average of 3% per year from 1997 to 2006 and an average of approximately 5% per year from 2003 to 2011.
- Boys (13.2%) were more likely than girls (5.6%) to have ever been diagnosed with ADHD.
- The average age of ADHD diagnosis was 7 years of age, but children reported by their parents as having more severe ADHD were diagnosed earlier.
- Prevalence of ADHD diagnosis varied substantially by state, from a low of 5.6% in Nevada to a high of 18.7% in Kentucky.
Wow! So what are the underlying causes and what can we do?
I read a wonderful article in the Washington Post entitled The right — and surprisingly wrong — ways to get kids to sit still in class by Angela Hanscom and posted by Valerie Strauss. Hanscom highlights the challenges our students are facing by the “need to sit still as much as possible” policy so prevalent in schools today. She states “we will continue to see significant sensory and behavioral problems, as well as a decline in children’s overall health (i.e., rise in obesity, decrease strength, and poor body awareness) if we don’t start allowing for adequate time in which children can get up and out of their seats to move.” She also stresses the importance of specific kinds of movement that are most helpful to brain development. The experience of going upside down, twirling and the like ultimately create a balance system that will lead to better attention. This is where we come in! We rock at this!! Furthermore, we can use this to remind parents and administration that our programs contribute a great deal to the physical health of our students IN ADDITION to the hundreds of other benefits we provide!! (Imagine that!!)
We should be very proud of ourselves for already knowing this! We move with our kids all the time…whether we are folk dancing or participating in creative movement, our students rarely sit still! However, with this new knowledge, I will add much more twirling, rolling and upside down play to my repertoire. The kids will love it and it will help them concentrate better in the rest of the class!