The Effects of Mixed Martial Arts on Behavior of Male Children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
By: Matthew K. Morand

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In this research the effectiveness of a martial arts program two times per week at increasing the percentage of completed homework, frequency of following specific classroom rules, improve academic performance, and improve classroom preparation was explored. In addition, decreasing maladaptive behaviors including necessity for redirection to task, inappropriately calling out in class, and inappropriately leaving the seat during class were explored. Participants were male children ages 8 to 11 diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

School teachers completed a behavior checklist both initially during the baseline period and throughout the 12-week study to measure the effectiveness of both intervention groups and the non-intervention group on the behaviors of AD/HD children. A single subject design using multiple baselines across conditions was employed in this study. Participants were assigned to a martial arts intervention, exercise intervention, or control group condition and data was collected on the behaviors exhibited in school.

Results of this study were determined by a comparison between pre scores and post scores on the rating scale. Five of seven hypotheses were supported. Martial Arts was proven to increase percentage of homework completion, academic performance, and percentage of classroom preparation while decreasing the number of classroom rules broken and times inappropriately leaving the seat. This study lends empirical support to martial arts as a positive intervention for children with AD/HD. Results of the study are discussed in terms of future interventions in the physical education classroom or in a private setting to help children control symptoms associated with AD/HD.

Turning Fidgets Into Karate Kicks; Some Find That Martial Arts Ease Attention Disorders NY Times

"The martial arts demand a kind of concentration that forces coordination of the attention centers in the brain: the frontal cortex, the cerebellum and the limbic system, Dr. Ratey said. That coordination skill is erratic when individuals have attention disorders, he added. The martial arts, which are repetitive, slow, structured and individualistic, facilitate a learning of the coordination skill that is digestible for those with attention disorders, he said, adding that dancing and gymnastics might have similar benefits. ''This is not a cure,'' Dr. Ratey added, ''but it is certainly a useful intervention.''




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