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Sample Exercises Which Have Helped Children
Who Had Been Labeled Attention Deficit Syndrome.

From: If Kids Just Came with Instruction Sheets; creating a world without child abuse.
By Svea J. Gold, Fern Ridge Press. l997. $24.95. Call (541) 463-8100 or email your order

Related Video: Autism Neurological Research and Neurodevelopmental Therapy
By Svea J. Gold, Fern Ridge Press. 2000. $24.95. (541) 463-8100 or email your order

Please print these out and use them for free. More exercises.



Obviously children may have a variety of reasons for not being able to pay attention. The exercises here are geared to help most children with ADD and will not hurt those who might not fall into the category of those being helped by them.

Since it is not always possible to do all of them, chose those exercises whose intents would seem to be the most important for a particular child. If nothing else, try the suggestions marked with a (.

Improvement should be visible by three to four weeks. If it is, you have found a successful type of therapy, but it is still important to continue, and it would be advisable to find someone who is expert in a developmental approach to helping children, so that the child can get rid of any other problems which are contributing to the syndrome.

When in doubt where to start therapy, start at the lowest level: i.e. prenatal stimulation. This is done by repeating movements the fetus makes in the womb. Ideally these would be done -eyes closed --in a warm pool. The floor or a bed will do fine.

If any of the following exercises cause nausea, slow them down to the point where the child can tolerate them.


1 min. each way : total 2 min. Almost miraculous is the method of slowly turning the person in a rotating chair. Eyes should be closed. The time is as close as possible to one minute in one direction, a few seconds rest, then equally slow return. The easiest way would be to time it with a second hand watch or clock and time about 15 seconds for each quarter turn. This is similar to what the child would have experienced in utero.

2 min. This needs to be followed by having the therapist turn the chair rapidly, with the therapist controlling the speed, interrupting the movement, and changing directions and speed often. The child during this should have eyes open. This forces quick adjustment of the eyes.

3 min. It is best to do all three, but the latter two exercises can't be done, much can be achieved by doing 'log rolls" on the floor. both slowly and fast. Doing them as slowly as possible allows for the greatest input into the brain. Eyes closed stimulates the vestibular system, and eyes open affects the visual in relation to the vestibular. Eyes closed should come first. This movement provides the child input from the senses of touch, smell, and adjustment to the distance of the walls of the room, combined with vestibular adjustments. Talking to the child during these exercises also helps develop auditory space perception.

( 5 min Lyelle Palmer has the child twirl - "like a helicopter" - with arms out to the sides until the child gets dizzy. About 15 seconds is usually enough. Then wait - with eyes closed - with someone helping the child not to fall until the dizziness passes. Repeat this ten times as soon as the child feels ready to go twirl again. Stimulation of the vestibular system occurs during the eyes closed period, when connections are made between signals from the vestibular to the muscles which control posture.

5 - 10 min. Trampoline (or use bed) jumping achieves some of the visual stimulation, combined with input to the entire body. As the child reaches the highest part of the jump there is a moment of weightlessness. This is similar to what the child experienced in utero. Then as gravity takes hold and the child again hits the trampoline, the brain has to make all the adjustments it had to make once the baby left the womb. As the body feels its weight on return, compression between the joints adds to the child's body image.

( 5 min - 10 min. If no trampoline is available, jogging is excellent, because the pressure of hitting the ground jars the spaces between the joints, which helps tell the brain to know where the body is. The eyes constantly have to adjust to changes in space and the vestibular canals in the ear are stimulated by the constant up and down movement.

(Parents or licensed therapist only.) 3 - 5 min. An excellent way of helping the child learn to know his body, is to stimulate information to the brain by giving compression to all the accessible joints in the body. This is done by giving a pull and then a push and a slight twist at each joint of the fingers, then the wrist, the elbow, shoulder. Push down on shoulders and on head. This can be also done on the lower parts of the body. None of this should be painful and usually the child experiences a "grounded" feeling immediately afterward.

(To avoid accusation of abuse, this should be done by parents or licensed therapist only.) 5-10 min. Ideally, there should be deep and light massage every day. This should include the face and the scalp. If the child is ticklish start with deep massage and slowly move to light touch. If the child is hypersensitive and experiences touch as painful, start it very mildly and slowly increase the exposure. This can be done before the child gets out of bed in the morning as this will also have the child wide awake before eating breakfast and going off to school.

5-10 min. Crawling on stomach --call them "marine crawls" or "soldier crawls"-- and creeping on hands and knees can be added later to help integrate what has been achieved. Call the creeping "tiger stalking" or "Indian stalking" and it won't offend the child. Stress the expected improvement in athletics, since this is often far more important to the child than the academic aspects. Improvement there will also follow.

Once the child's body has been better coordinated, and the child still has not established a preferred or dominant side, start encouraging the child to become either totally right sided, or totally left sided. Which side is to be chosen depends on the side of the stronger eye use, since this would be hardest to change. (Ask the child to write something with a pencil between the toes. The side picked is a good indication of the preferred side) A strongly established handedness allows the child to know right from left - whichever side is the stronger for him. This is vitally important not only for writing and reading, but simply for knowing which side to use to pick up a hammer.

It would be preferable to do these exercises every day for at least three weeks, but results can be achieved by doing them five days a week. Work should be continued longer than the three weeks to make sure that the progress becomes integrated and the myelination of the new pathways becomes strong enough withstand later fevers or disuse. It is therefore important to gain the cooperation of the child and of the parents. Teens might be persuaded to give this a four-week try, though probably more time will be needed, but they should be able to see some changes especially in athletic skills and then be willing to continue a while longer if there is no nagging by the grown-up.


(From If Kids Just Came With Instruction Sheets!! by Svea J. Gold. Fern Ridge Press, $24.95 (541) 463-8100)

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