- More then a walk in the park for kids with ADHA
We recently wrote about Stephen Kaplan’s Attention Restoration Theory and the cognitive benefits of spending time outside for both children and adults. Drs. Andrea Faber-Taylor and Frances Kuo from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, have applied this theory to children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and have published compelling results.
Drs. Faber-Taylor and Kuo investigated the impact of different environments on attention abilities in children with ADHD. The results of their study revealed that children with ADHD were able to concentrate better following time outside. Furthermore, “greener” environments yielded stronger results.
They found that a 20-minute walk in a park was more beneficial than a 20-minute walk downtown or in a neighborhood setting. They conclude that “doses of nature might serve as a safe, inexpensive, widely accessible new tool in the tool kit for managing ADHD symptoms.”
The findings presented by Drs. Faber-Taylor and Kuo are a novel extension of previous research with adults and children in the general population who were found to have some cognitive benefits after spending time outdoors in natural and “green” environments.
See our post “A Breath of Fresh Air” for more info!
What does it mean for you?
This research suggests that both adults and children with and without attention deficits can benefit from taking a little time to play outside and take advantage of natural settings!
Follow the link to read an in depth interview with Drs. Faber-Taylor and Kuo about this work.
You can also request from your local research library the complete article or purchase a copy online: Faber-Taylor, AF & Kuo, FE. (March 2009). Children with Attention Deficits Concentrate Better After a Walk in the Park.
Journal of Attention Disorders, 12, 402-409.
***It is important to note that children who are suspected of having attention problems should be evaluated by a proper professional, like a psychiatrist or licensed psychologist who can make an appropriate diagnosis and recommendations for treatment.