Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

ADHD is one of the most common disorders for children and is on the rise. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the numbers have increased from 7.8% in 2003 to 11% in 2011. Boys are much more likely than girls to be diagnosed with ADHD (Boys- 13.2%) (Girls 5.6%).

To medicate or not medicate a child with ADHD is a parental decision. Dr. Riffel receives many emails from parents who have been told by educators they should put their children on medication. We have developed a booklet filled with non-medicated interventions to help parents and educators try non-medicated interventions to ameliorate the symptoms of ADHD that affect learning and social relationships. (This is a free download of the booklet. If you prefer to purchase a bound copy, you may do so at  Dr. Riffel offers an eight-hour training focused on non-medicated interventions for learners with ADHD.

Dr. Riffel believes the reason boys are more likely than girls to be identified with ADHD is due to the physical structure of males vs. females. These photos are not detailed; however, in a detailed picture, you would find the male tailbone is longer than the female tailbone.  When we ask males to sit on hardwood or plastic chairs, we are asking them to sit on a tailbone that is much more in direct contact with the surface than their female counterparts. While we should truly be sitting on our “sit” bones, no one sits like this and almost everyone sits with a rounded back causing the tailbone to be in direct contact with the surface for a male. Picture rights purchased from


Notice the male pelvis has a “V” shaped pubic arch and less space in the pelvic opening. The female pelvis has a “U” shaped pubic arch and more space in the pelvic opening. Add to this, the fact that a girl’s center of gravity is lower than a boy’s center of gravity.  (Female vs Male Center of Gravity).

No one ever said sitting on hard surfaces was best for learning. It is what we do in educational settings because it is cheap. Behavior Doctor Seminars has developed some solutions for seating that alleviate the pressure on the tailbone and can easily be implemented in the classroom. Watch our slideshow to find solutions you can implement for a very low cost.

Putting a footrest on the chair will help students use their extra energy in a positive way to organize their thoughts. Dr. Riffel prefers physical therapy banding across the two front chair legs; however, a leg of pantyhose will work just as well. The student can bounce their feet on this, push it down, pull it up, or put their feet behind it and push against it. This will provide some of the proprioceptive input or foot fidgeting that helps children stay in their seat.

For children who have anxiety along with their ADHD, Dr. Riffel likes having the children take off their shoes and being able to wiggle their toes. Taking off your shoes and wiggling your toes reduces anxiety by 39%. Put a section of pool noodle threaded onto the physical therapy banding between the two front legs of the chair. The students can push this down and roll their feet across the noodle. This is like a foot massage and will help them concentrate their brain by keeping their feet engaged, as well as relax them. One note of caution, the pool noodle will eventually rip from the banding. We have found reinforcing the pool noodle section with duct tape on either end keeps it lasting throughout the year.

Check out the materials page for PowerPoint presentations on ADHD interventions.

Companion Materials

The market is full of ADHD intervention tools. There is no one tool that is appropriate for all learners. We like to offer a variety of choices and ask students to try one for a day and then try another and determine which one helps them.

Here are a few of Dr. Riffel’s favorites:

Just found a new fidget tool that is discrete and fabulous. It goes under the child’s desk for busy fingers and has different textures for them to fidget with as they use their brain to learn. The boinks finger fidgets would work well as a fidget tool. My expectations for fidget tools are (a) one handed, (b) quiet, (c) stays with the student, and (d) helps student pay attention. Both of these tools would fit all four categories quite nicely.  To check out this product and many others go to or click the picture below.fiddlefocusproduct

Fiddling Fun:

Kids with ADHD need to fiddle. Fiddles do not interfere with listening and research actually indicates “fiddling with a tool” increases retention.

Expectations for Fidgets:

  • It must stay with you
  • It must be one-handed
  • It must be quiet
  • It must help you pay attention

This is an interesting article about the misuse of Adderall.  Please check it out as a parent or educator. click this link.

Interesting video from Dr. Thom Hartmann talking about the Edison Gene-  Dr. Hartmann talks to guest Dr. Richard Silberstein, a professor of neuroscience at the Brain Sciences Institute, at Swinburne University, about Attention Deficit Disorder.

These are just a few samples of what is available on the material download page. All PowerPoints, Booklets, Forms, and Tools are available now in one area. Click on the slider title for Material Download or click this link.