UWindsor psychologist Carlin Miller says preliminary findings show children with ADHD can benefit from regular meditation.UWindsor psychologist Carlin Miller says preliminary findings show children with ADHD can benefit from regular meditation.

Children with ADHD in grades 4 and 5 sought for meditation program

A UWindsor professor is looking to give children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder the greater self-control through meditation.

Psychology professor Carlin Miller is hosting the Mindful Living for Kids meditation program this fall and is seeking 24 to 30 children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in grades 4 and 5 to participate.

“School changes a lot for children in grades 3 and 4 and there are more expectations of independence,” said Dr. Miller.

“Children with ADHD often struggle with having to sit down and focus on an assignment, but through meditation, they can learn to pay attention, sit still and control themselves.”

Carlin said that ADHD is a common neurobiological disorder that affects up to  10 per cent of the school-aged population. It can be noticed in preschool or early grades of elementary school. Children with ADHD can exhibit developmentally inappropriate symptoms like hyperactivity and inattentiveness.

It’s a program Miller has hosted in the past, but this session will work more closely with the parents to ensure the child has full support at home.

“Parents would say, ‘my child says their mind is running and I can’t make it stop,’” Miller explained.

“Instead of telling them to stop doing it, we need to say ‘that’s what minds do.’ We need to work with them and tell the child to watch the activity of the mind and ask it to come back gently.”

The workshop will start on Sept. 25 and consist of seven sessions at Hotel-Dieu Grace Healthcare.

There is no fee to participate and classes will be held twice a week.

Miller said the sessions start slowly and eventually build to 20 minutes of meditation.

“The thing that is critically important with any kind of meditation practice is a little dose of it every single day,” Miller said.

“We start off with shorter practices, focus on movement based practice and we don’t build up to 10 minutes until almost the end.”

She said each session contains a craft activity that the child can use for their meditation practice.

While her sample size is still small, Miller said her numbers do show that meditation can have a positive impact on children with ADHD.

“When I look at the numbers I do have, it very much looks like the kids who are meditating every single day have much bigger benefits by the end,” she said.

Those interested in participating can contact Miller at cjmiller@uwindsor.ca or 519-253-3000 ext. 2226.