Nature and Child Development, 1

Passport to Texas from Texas Parks and Wildlife

Could spending more time in nature help kids with attention-deficit hyperactive disorder?

The research so far suggests that there’s a relationship between contact with nature or playing in green space and improvements in attentional functioning.

Dr. Andrea Faber Taylor researches child environment and behavior at the University of Illinois, http://www.lhhl.uiuc.edu/about.htm. In a recent study, she had children with ADHD take guided, 20-minute walks in a downtown area, a neighborhood, and a city park; then afterward, tested their ability to concentrate.

What we found was that after the children walked in the park they generally scored higher on the measure of attention. And surprisingly, the neighborhood and the downtown area were not significantly different in scores. That said to us, there’s something about the park- either the greenness of it, the amount of trees and plants that it has or the lack of buildings, or both- that makes it perhaps, more restorative, than the other two settings.

These findings match other research as well, which suggest that it’s the setting, not just the activity, that is important.

Based on our work and the work of others, we feel very confident that children benefit from contact with nature or even just what we call green space, a small pocket of trees and grass. Certainly, we’re not suggesting that it’s going to cure a child from ADHD, but it appears to, at least, temporarily reduce their symptoms.

Learn more about this research at passporttotexas.org.

That’s our show…with research and writing help from Sarah Loden…For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.
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News Release:
A Potential Natural Treatment for Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder: Evidence From a National Study: http://www.ajph.org/cgi/content/abstract/94/9/1580

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