I was watching a video piece about a stand-up, school-room desk and was pleased to see an accessory it features, a foot swing. Let me back up.

I find myself more and more interested in stand-up desks as a way to counteract the effects of sitting long hours. When I get time to reply to emails or work at my computer, it feels like a great time to be on my feet, moving and maybe even burning a few calories.

So, as I have been perusing the web exploring stand-up desk options. I discovered a company that makes stand-up desks for students that has a “U” shaped metal rod to rest a foot on, and the rod swings. The kids report that it helps them manage their energy and even stay out of trouble – sometimes. I love the idea and have always provided something similar for my clients, many of whom have ADHD.

Every chair in my therapy room has at least one fidget object near it, soft stress balls, clear plastic magic wands with floating confetti inside, coasters, pillows and foot rests are the current selection. Clients find wonderful things to do with these items as they work off enough energy to sit and talk with me. The balls are constantly flying from hand to hand or being thrown in the air and caught one-handed in a continual game of catch, squeezed to a pulp.

The magic wands get twirled between fingers, rolled between hands, stared at with hypnotic attention as the confetti floats languidly down only to have the wand flipped on its end sending the confetti floating down once more, or beat like a drum stick, with an occasionally desperate rhythm, against clients’ legs.

Pillows get hugged, folded, punched and prodded. Coasters are slid, balanced on end, tossed and tapped. Foot rests are pushed and pulled. An observer of my sessions would be hard pressed to find a moment of complete inactivity during the 60 to 90 minute sessions.

One client told me that he knew I understood ADHD the minute he saw the “toys.”

Szifra (Shifra) Birke

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