Nature as Treatment of ADHD


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  • Importance of topic. Richard Louv’s book, Last Child in the WoodsBeing in the school setting, teacher challenges with children with ADHD
  • According to Louv (2006), as a result of the rise in technology, children are spending more time indoors watching tv, playing video games, and on the internet. As a result children are spending less time outdoors. He believes that this is why ADHD is the leading disorder in the U.S.
  • inability to pay attentiondaydreamsdifficulty listeningeasily distracted in constant motion or unable to stay seated(Center for Disease Control, 2011)These post most problems in school for teachers.
  • Medication’s side effects can disrupt a child’s sleep patterns, lead to depression, and stunt physical growth as reported by the National Institute of Mental Health (n.d.). Prescribing stimulants to treat ADHD may have adverse effects on children when taken for a long period of time.Alternative treatment such as exposure to outdoors can minimize symptoms of ADHD.
  • Natural green areas such as rivers, trees, grass and woods have a very calming and soothing effect on children making the learning environment to be more positive (Maynard &Waters, 2007).
  • WISC-IV to measure memory, Tower of London for planning and organization, and Colors Trail Test 1 and 2 for processing speed
  • Stimulants have been the common treatment for decades but there is a lack of studies on long term effects of ADHD drugs especially with regards to children (Center for Disease Control, 2010). As ADHD persists into adulthood, more research on the symptoms, treatment as well as adverse effects is needed in order to determine the pros and cons of prescribing medication for ADHD.the impact of nature experiences on attention disorders is still at its infancy. More data and analysis is needed as evidence of empirical proof.
  • Nature as Treatment of ADHD

    1. 1. Nature as Treatment ofAttention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder By Catherine G. Bamba Argosy University, Seattle PSY 492
    2. 2. Introduction:• Technological advancement• Children are spending less time outside• ADHD is the leading childhood disorder in the U.S.
    3. 3. Focal question:What are the effects of frequent exposure to the outdoors for children with ADHD?
    4. 4. Definition:The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders,fourth edition (DSM-IV-TR) defines ADHD as havingthese 3 main characteristics:• Inattentiveness• Hyperactivity• Impulsivity(American Psychiatric Association, 2000).
    5. 5. Diagnosis:Diagnosis is difficult because many of the similarsymptoms can be found in other disorders such asdepression, anxiety and other learning disabilities. Unlikeother disorders such as diabetes that can be lab tested,there is no single test used to diagnose ADHD (Center forDisease Control, 2010). Diagnosis is based onobservations in multiple settings
    6. 6. Treatment:• In the United States, 2.7 million children ages 4-17 were receiving medication treatment for ADHD.• There has been an increase in prescriptions written for children who are diagnosed with ADHD in recent years (Null, n.d.).
    7. 7. Prescription of stimulants:
    8. 8. Findings:A study by McAvoy, Smith, and Rynders (2006):• a group of 23 individuals with cognitive disabilities participated in an outdoor adventure program• pre and post trip questionnaire was used along with a follow up interview• The findings indicated participant’s outdoor skills, level of satisfaction, socialization skills increased as a result of the outdoor experience.
    9. 9. Findings:A study by Etnier and Gapin (n.d):• children ages 8-12 years were assigned to two groups, one group went outside and completed moderate exercises while the control group stayed indoors and watched a DVD for 20 minutes.• Three tests were given after: WISC-IV, Tower of London, and Colors Trail Test 1 and 2.• The results showed the exercisers performed better on the tests than the control group. Also, the executive functioning of children with ADHD improved.
    10. 10. Further research:• Preschool age and stimulants. What are the side effects?• Why prevalence of ADHD just in the U.S.?• What role does exercise have?• How about comparison studies on different genders?
    11. 11. References:American Psychiatric Association. (2000). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders: DSM-IV-TR. Washington: American Psychiatric Association.Charles, C., Louv, R., Bodner, B., Guns, B., & Stahl, D. (2009). Children and nature: A report on the movement to reconnect children with nature. NM: Children and Nature Network.Enomoto, H. (1994). A study of images and the playing experiences in the natural fields: Japanese Journal of Family Psychology. 8(2), 83-93. Retrieved from PsycINFO Database.Etnier, J. & Gapin, J. (n.d.). Physical activity and cognitive performance in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Sport and Exercise Psychology. Retrieved from PsycINFO Database.
    12. 12. References:Louv, R. (2006). Last child in the woods. Saving our children from nature – deficit disorder. Chapel Hill, NC: Algonquin Books.King, S., Pelham, W., Andrade, B., Corkum, P. (2008). Social information processing in elementary-school aged children with ADHD. Abnormal Child Psychology, 37:579589 doi 10.1007/s10802-008-9294-9Maynard, T., & Waters, J. (2007). Learning in the outdoor environment: A missed opportunity? Early years. An International Journal of Research and Development, 27(3), 255-265. doi: 10.1080/09575140701594400McAvoy, L., Smith, J., & Rynders, J. (2006). Outdoor adventure programming for individuals with cognitive disabilities who present serious accommodation challenges. Therapeutic Recreation Journal, 40(3), 182-199. Retrieved from PsycINFO database.
    13. 13. References:Meijer, W. & Faber, A. (2009). Current issues around the pharmacotherapy of ADHD in children and adults. Pharm World Sci. 31:509-516 DOI 10.1007/s11096-009-9302-3Moore, R. & Wong, H (1997). Natural learning: The life of environmental schoolyard. Berkeley, CA: MIG Communications.Null, G. (n.d). The drugging of our children. Retrieved from