Students with learning disabilities sometimes have difficulty with fidgeting. This is particularly true of students who also have attention deficit disorders with hyperactivity. These tips can help used alone or with a comprehensive behavior intervention plan.
- While it may be tempting to withhold recess or physical play time as punishment for hyperactive behaviors, it is generally not a good idea to do that. In fact, withholding physical play can make classroom hyperactivity worse. Students with hyperactivity need physical activity to run off excess energy. Being active in appropriate situations such as recess or study breaks at home also reinforces the message that hyperactivity can be appropriate in these settings and situations.
- Consider pairing the student with a buddy to run classroom errands, pass out papers, wash the blackboard, or other physical chores. At home, break for physical activities outside such as a game of catch, running, basketball, or other highly active sport. This type of physical activity can provide a break from seat work, may reduce fidgeting, and typically increases tolerance for seat work.
- Consider using a standing workstation and/or work area with a beanbag chair at the side or back of the room that allows the student to stand to do work. If this helps, allow the student to choose to stand to work or move to the beanbag when he feels the need. Beanbag chairs can sometimes help students with sensory integration problems, which some hyperactive children have.
- Provide a stress ball or other quiet squishy toy for the child to squeeze in his pocket or at his desk. These kinds of toys can focus attention, particularly in students with sensory integration issues.
- If the student rushes through her work, prompt her to check it carefully before turning it in.
- In grading the student's work, mark errors, and allow him to recoup partial credit for corrections he makes.
- At school, provide breaks between assignments and during extended periods of seat work. Consider allowing the student to walk laps in the gym, do isometric exercises, stretches, and breathing exercises to relieve tension at least once an hour. In fact, while at school, the whole class can benefit from these stress and tension relievers.
- Remember the quiet kids too! Some children are distracted by other students' fidgeting behavior. Allow these students to work away from the fidgeting student or work in a pleasant study carrel.