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Sunday, April 29, 2012

Meditation Helps Children with ADHD, Focus and Memory

From www.http://anmolmehta.com Blog

"Meditation helps children who suffer from ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) and ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), by helping them develop calmness, presence, focus and control over their reactions to external stimuli."

Frustrated parents and educators have long sought alternatives to medication when helping children deal with Attention Deficit Disorder and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Who knew that ancient Buddhists have long held a valuable tool in reaching that goal? Only recently are we realizing the tremendous benefits that meditation can bring as a very viable course of action in aiding the 5.2 million children diagnosed in America with ADD or ADHD, according to the Center for Disease Control.

The art of mindfulness, or focusing the thoughts, has been a practiced meditation technique for thousands of years. Scientists and medical professionals are now discovering that meditation can be a huge factor in teaching ADD/ADHD children to increase focus, improve overall memory, reduce anxiety levels and calm a hyperactive mind and body.

“One recent study found evidence that the daily practice of meditation thickened the parts of the brain’s cerebral cortex responsible for decision making, attention and memory”, claims a study from Mass. General Hospital. According to a study published in Time Magazine, scientists discovered that those who meditated just 40 few minutes a day reaped huge benefits for many aspects of the brain development.

Teaching children how to meditate in school can increase student’s ability to successfully perform as it heightens awareness and increases attention sustainability. Additionally, schools specializing in educating learning-disabled students are incorporating meditation into their school-wide curriculum and noticing a huge increase in the ability of ADHD students to perform.

Teaching a child to meditate at home, when ADD/ADHD children are now able to ‘let off the steam’ built up in trying to focus at school, gives kids an additional outlet to take a few moments of calm and center themselves to handle homework or retain calm for their other activities after school. Parents have reported happier homes once they incorporated daily meditation into their routines.

Sara, a mother of 4, reported that her son Gabe has been dealing with ADHD since the age of 5. His hyperactivity really reduced the amount of play dates he was offered as he was not able to understand boundaries and he often overwhelmed the other children in school. When Sara first discovered meditation for her herself, she realized the soothing affect it had on her entire day.

She decided to teach Gabe some of the techniques she had learned during her sessions. Within days, she realized that Gabe was generally less anxious and overall easier to handle at home. Three years later, daily meditations have taught Gabe to focus and calm the mind and better hyperactivity management. Meditation has been a life-changer for their family and Gabe’s functioning both in school and at home.

Meditation practice teaches children how to learn to control their thoughts and in turn their reactions, to outside distractions. One of the main components that ADD/ADHD children struggle with is the inability to control themselves, their thoughts and their reaction to stimuli. Through practice of meditation children can learn to calm the mind, focus on the purpose of restructuring the thoughts back to the deliberate and intentional spot or focal point. Meditation can also provide a much needed break in routine that allows children dealing with attention disorders to come back and refocus on the task refreshed and renewed.

Parents, educators and medical professionals have been looking to incorporate alternative methods for years. Meditation practice is a proven effective, healthy and holistic way to improve the overall anxiety levels, focus levels and functioning levels of the 8.4 % of children dealing with ADD/ADHD all over the country.


NOTE: NESCA Yoga Therapist Hannah Gould, RYT incorporates elements of mindfulness practice and meditation into her work, which addresses many specific areas of need, including self-regulation, sensory integration, relaxation, motor-planning, self-awareness and self-esteem.

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