Have you ever been working in a coffee shop or conference room and someone is continuously clicking their pen? Yikes! It drives me nuts! I can’t concentrate!
Here’s the thing many people don’t realize… the person who is clicking their pen isn’t doing it to be annoying. Really! In fact, they may not even realize they are doing it. But they NEED to move in order to concentrate on whatever they are working on. If it isn’t the clicking pen, they might be tapping their foot or rocking in their chair.
People who have hyperactive ADHD have excessive restlessness, endless energy and almost constant movement. Also, it’s not just their body that is moving, their minds are racing as well! They have many, many thoughts going through their heads all at once, which can be quite distracting! Often, they are moving, fidgeting, in order to stay focused on a task. It is necessary to move in order to stay focused.
Little kids with hyperactive ADHD might be described as “bouncing off the walls.” They may be unaware of where their bodies are and run into furniture or other kids. They have trouble sitting still during a lesson in school or when eating dinner. They are also often very enthusiastic and love to explore and discover new places and new Ideas. As these kids grow older, they often choose high energy jobs where they are moving throughout the day—carpenter, photographer, scientist/research, chef, public safety.
So, what to do when they are clicking their pens and driving you crazy?
If you have someone like this in your life, be compassionate. Be aware of the need to move and don’t criticize or constantly limit their ability to move around. If you do, it’s likely to just cause arguments and meltdowns. However, I believe it’s also perfectly reasonable to have a conversation around limits! What types of movement are acceptable or unacceptable in different circumstances? Perhaps it’s ok to tap your foot while working on a math assignment but it is not ok to get up and leave the table. It might be ok to stand at the dinner table on most nights, but not ok on Thanksgiving when the family is visiting.
I had a third grade student once who was extremely successful at learning when he was allowed to sit on an exercise ball at his desk! We talked about his need for movement and we compromised on solutions that worked for both of us. Communication is key!