Participants ages 8-12 years engaged in an eight-week mindful movement intervention with two 60-minute classes per week. Pre- vs. post-treatment ADHD symptoms were assessed using highly validated parent-ratings.
In addition, motor control was assessed using an established objective examination of developmental motor signs. Following the intervention, children showed significant reductions in core ADHD symptoms of hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattention, as well as improvements in associated oppositional-defiant and executive behavior.
Children also showed significant improvements in objective measures of motor control. Importantly, there was a robust correlation between these findings, such that the children who showed the largest improvements on motor examination also showed the largest improvements in parent ratings of ADHD behavior.
There have been very few prior studies of mindfulness interventions for children with ADHD, and those prior studies relied exclusively on subjective outcome measures based on self- or parent-report. The findings from this study, revealing improvements in objective measures of motor control that parallel improvements in attention and behavior, provide crucial support for the potential for mindful movement practice for children with ADHD and related difficulties.
An important next step will be to conduct a follow-up clinical trial with a control condition to ensure that efficacy is specific to the mindful movement intervention.