The benefits of Nature for children with ADD / ADHD
File this one under the “let’s spend grant money to research the obvious” category: it seems that walking for about 20 minutes in a park, surrounded by trees and Nature, is as effective as Ritalin for managing some of the symptoms commonly classified under the “attention deficit” umbrella.
Researchers recruited 15 boys and 2 girls and walked them for 20 minutes in one of three settings, on different days: an urban park, a residential neighborhood, and a downtown area. Those who walked in the park showed significant, powerful improvements in their ability to concentrate and perform after their walk. The others did not. While these results may seem obvious to us, we can at least gain some measure of comfort in knowing that the mainstream medical community feels like “doses of nature might serve as a safe, inexpensive, widely accessible new tool in the tool kit for managing ADHD symptoms” as Dr. Andrea Taylor, head researcher for the study, wisely commented.
Now, I might feel that a walk in the Vermont woods, as they turn from green to fiery red, might give an even better experience to nurture biophilia, provide renewal and inspiration, and calm a scattered mind. But even a manicured park can do the trick! So finding time to spend outside, away from television, houses, and buildings, is a good idea for our kids. And “nature deficit disorder” might soon be recognized as a legitimate concern. Imagine that…