This post is very personal to me. I have lived it. I have seen the difference a walk in the woods can make. If you have a child diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), or know someones who does, you should read on. The National Institute of Mental Health provides a good description of symptoms and behaviors of ADHD. Supportive evidence of the benefits of exposure to nature is not only personal, but scientifically evidence-based.
As both a parent and a professional Occupational Therapist, I can attest to the fact that children with ADHD can be challenging to parent. Traditional behavioral methods often don't work as quickly as we would like. School is a challenge, Homework is a challenge. Social situations can be a challenge. Let's face it - it can be exhausting as parents. But, I have an opportunity for both you and your child to have fun, grow as individuals and reap benefits immediately and into the future.......Take your child for a walk in the woods!
Here is what it can do for both you and your child:
You can see from this chart that exercise during school and before homework is an important consideration.
In addition to the benefits to the brain, physical activity in the woods is important for the sensory system to develop and grow. Often children with ADHD have sensory processing challenges, as well. As a child climbs trees, jumps over rocks, swings from vines and squats down low,etc., important input is being given to the vestibular (spatial awareness) and proprioceptive (body positioning and movement) systems. (For more information about sensory processing checkout The Inspired Treehouse and especially their great new resource, Sensory Processing 101.) These are essential skills needed for balance, movement and core strength- all of which impact classroom performance.
Autumn is a great time to get out and enjoy the woods. There is so much to see, smell, feel and experience among the trees. I encourage you to find some woods near you and take your child on a walk and see what a difference it can make for both you and your child. I recommend that you to do it one-on-one with your child but you can bring the rest of the family, too. I know you won't be disappointed!
enjoy the benefits of a walk in the woods!
Hi! I'm Ann - mother of seven, grandmother of two and occupational therapist. My mission is to provide the support families need to raise thriving children and to help you build a family environment that supports healthy development and a pathway to success.
Great blogs to check out:
Rain or Shine Mamma
Children & Nature Network
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