ADHD in the Classroom: A Solution

It should come as no surprise that attention-deficit disorders are more prevalent now than ever. The National Institute of Mental Health claims that roughly 4.4% of adults in the United States have ADHD. This seems to be a drastic understatement, considering I don’t know one person who can sit through a full episode of Seinfeld without drifting away from its plot and into a daydream of living in a cozy New York apartment and stunting chic wool sweaters. This is not to say there’s anything wrong with ADHD, in fact its link to creativity and spontaneity is substantial. However, many agree that it can prove to be daunting when a compulsory task, such as homework, rears its ugly head. Studies have found that ADHD accounts for approximately 19% of missed assignments and 17% of missed texts from the homies. Schools across the nation have acknowledged the former with seminars and thoughtful emails, yet have done little to support the cause in the classroom. There is a surplus of ways we can keep the classroom stimulating enough to seize the attention of its students that chancellors have unfortunately either overlooked or brushed off. I would like to share a few of these ideas to hopefully get a conversation going, and maybe even convince authoritative figures to take notes.

Treadmill Desks

While this may appear counterintuitive at surface-level, you’ll find its benefits are quite dispersed. If you were to scan the sea of students in your class, you’d surely find a few people bouncing a leg up and down like a jackhammer. In fact, I’d bet you’re guilty of the same every now and then. It’s the brain’s subconscious tactic to release tension that’s been building up while you’re strapped to your chair watching a Powerpoint presentation on the most boring thing ever. A treadmill fixed beneath the desk’s legs would serve as a more subtle outlet for all that energy. This would also substitute the sound of shoe squeaking in favor of machine whirring, making it much less of a distraction. And for those who prefer to stand, a few standard treadmills in the room would work just as well.


Various Learning Styles

Remember in middle school when it felt like every class was different? One day you’re crafting a bridge with popsicle sticks, the next day you’re having a class debate where you stand on one side of the room or the other to show your well-informed support for an upcoming presidential candidate. Every class captivated us because it was new, exciting and engaging. This is a trend that should continue into our college years. Keeping every part of your body entertained is a crucial component of a memorable learning experience. We already use our arms for a majority of classes, taking down notes and the like. Let’s move to the chest. Introducing more discussions into class is a great way to keep the lungs moving. For the legs, we should have classes walk outside as a group every once in a while. Environmental sciences majors could take this opportunity to, say, observe and interact with the trees and other pieces of nature they love. Math majors could count the trees, or whatever. I’ll let the professors work that part out.

Protein Shakes

They aren’t just a delicious substitute for an otherwise nutritious breakfast! Studies show that an adequate amount of protein in the diet boosts memory and improves mental clarity. Anyone with ADHD knows that it can be tough to retain study material when you’re constantly taking in five different sources of information at once. Having a shake bar in the corner of every classroom is frankly the least that UMass could do for our jittery minds. Moreover, studies have shown that Nesquik-brand shakes improve our moods by a substantial margin because that bunny character is just so lovable.


This is just a small sample from the pool of potential improvement. There are tons of other methods that we haven’t even scratched the surface on. The point is that these are all ideas that could effortlessly be implanted into our everyday education. These techniques would not only make our classes easier, but contribute to a more friendly atmosphere as well. I for one would feel much more inclined to be in the classroom with my desk neighbors who believe in a better learning environment than at home with my downstairs neighbors who believe my morning jumping jacks are “disrupting the peace.” After all, a little progress each day adds up to big results.

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