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Q: “Can We Include Physical Activity in My Child’s IEP?”

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Q: “My child has ADHD, and we know that physical activity is an absolute must for him to control his symptoms. Can we incorporate physical activity and movement into his Individualized Education Plan (IEP)?”This is a fantastic idea, though it may not be commonly implemented by families of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Multiple studies show that exercise, especially aerobic exercise, helps children with ADHD.12 There is also research on the benefits of certain exercise programs in reducing ADHD symptoms3, which supports the idea of extending such programs to schools for all students.

For all children, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) also recommends 60 minutes of physical activity most days of the week.4Federal law requires states, districts, and schools to provide students with and without disabilities equal opportunity to participate in physical education and physical activity.5 That said, if you know your child benefits greatly from movement, it is definitely worth a conversation with the IEP team to determine how to incorporate more of it into his learning without disrupting other students.

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