Is restlessness best understood as a process? Reflecting on four boys' restlessness during music therapy in kindergarten

Int J Qual Stud Health Well-being. 2017 Jun;12(sup1):1298266. doi: 10.1080/17482631.2017.1298266.


ADHD can be considered an internationally recognized framework for understanding children's restlessness. In this context, children's restlessness is understood as a symptom of neurodevelopmental disorder. However, there are other possible understandings of children's restlessness. In this article, we explore four boys' collaborative and creative process as it is described and understood by three adults. The process is framed by a community music therapy project in a Norwegian kindergarten, and we describe four interrelated phases of this process: Exploring musical vitality and cooperation, Consolidating positions, Performing together, and Discovering ripple effects. We discuss these results in relation to seven qualities central to a community music therapy approach: participation, resource orientation, ecology, performance, activism, reflexivity and ethics. We argue that in contrast to a diagnostic approach that entails a focus on individual problems, a community music therapy approach can shed light on adult and systemic contributions to children's restlessness.

Keywords: ADHD; children; process; restlessness; vitality.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child Behavior / psychology*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Music Therapy / methods*
  • Norway
  • Psychomotor Agitation / psychology*