Is Nature Deficit Disorder on the Rise in Children?
With Earth Day this Monday (4/22/13) it seemed appropriate
to bring up this topic. No NDD is not an
official medical diagnosis, but a description of “human alienation from nature.” Upon the recommendation of a trusted OT
friend, I have just downloaded the Kindle version of the book Last
Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder by
Richard Louv. The opening quote in the
review is revealing as a 4th grade student reports: "I like to
play indoors better 'cause that's where all the electrical outlets are." As peds therapists, we certainly know how
helpful AT devices can be for all children,
especially those with disabilities, yet our fast gains in technology may be causing other ailments as well…including
children who no longer get enough outdoor time.
Research studies indicate that children with ADHD performed better on
tasks (such as reading) when done in outdoor green spaces vs. indoor or built outdoor spaces such as a parking lot. In
another 2011 study, researchers found that children with ADHD who had plenty of green space time had milder symptoms than their peers who played
indoors. For a recap on these studies
see the article entitled The Most
Natural Treatment of All: Green Spaces
and ADHD. So next week (as weather
permits!) why not arrange for your treatment sessions to be outdoors in a green
space. From a SI standpoint, what could
be better? Happy Earth Day!