Understanding Restlessness

The paradox of ‘sitting still’ and concentrating... A child with even the most subtle underdeveloped fine motor coordination who is asked to sit, concentrate and engage with writing or other hand eye activities, develops a conflict, which generates tension in his body. Tension by nature needs to discharge itself by movement, leading to fidgeting. When fidgeting is noticed by a teacher, the child is asked to ‘sit still’ and concentrate.

What's happening in the body?

It is a fact that the reflex of temporarily reducing the intake of oxygen helps to facilitate accurate fine motor activities, (i.e. threading a needle, putting a nail in a wall, opening a door, or cutting vegetables). However, in the body of a child with underdeveloped fine motor coordination it is almost impossible to maintain the flow of breathing whilst engaging in a hand eye activity. As a result, a low flow of oxygen to the body whilst, for example, writing consistently for 15 minutes creates a condition called "oxygen starvation". The brain then needs to decide whether to respond to its social needs (be loved/accepted) and try to continue (writing for example), or simply find ways to get more oxygen. In such a situation, it is most likely that the survival part of the brain will take charge, sending a message to the limbs to start to move (fidget). Whilst in motion, the receptors in the big joints of the legs and hands send signals to the diaphragm to descend, in return, a vacuum is created forcing air to come in. Paradoxically, the child is then asked again to sit still and concentrate. Trying to answer his social needs, the child will try again to ‘sit still’ and do his work, but after a while his concentration is compromised again due to simple lack of oxygen... In the C.Q program children are taught not only how to develop their fine motor coordination, but also to integrate and regulate the breathing mechanism whilst engaging with hand eye coordination activities.

© Myrom Kahaner