June 7th, 2017
Designed by Florida inventor Catherine Hettinger in the 1990s, the fidget spinner has recently become a fad after YouTubers garnered millions of views by performing tricks with them. Before you give in to your child’s pleas to own one, here are some things to note about the three-pronged palm-sized plastic device.
They may help
Some manufacturers are touting the therapeutic benefits these spinners have on students with autism, anxiety and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). These spinners were initially intended as a way for these kids to express their need to move freely in order for the brain to produce dopamine, which helps concentration, learning and memory. However, only anecdotal evidence surrounds their alleged benefits and at least one expert has debunked the claims.
But it’s not meant for everyone
Fidget spinners were initially created for children with autism and ADHD. The physical act of fidgeting itself, or hyperactivity, which is known to be one of the defining symptoms of ADHD, cannot always be controlled for some of these kids and this behaviour isn’t one that should be stigmatised or mocked.
A recent study in child neuropsychology found that children with ADHD concentrate much better when they fidget than when they don’t.
It shouldn’t be treated as a toy
As the gadget spins, it can be balanced on fingertips, toes, or even the nose or the forehead, which has led to fidget spinner stunt and tutorial-videos being posted all over YouTube. However, by treating them like toys, it downplays the importance of the tool for individuals who actually need it. At the end of the day, maybe they should be used for what they were intended for: therapy.
They are disruptive in the classroom
Teachers all across the world are finding that instead of concentrating during lessons, students are instead preoccupied with these gadgets, playing with them throughout the day. So much so that they are being banned in schools across the UK and the US.
Compared to the Fidget Cube, which is arguably a much quieter fidget tool, the fidget spinner may not be the most subtle when spun, especially if they are gliding across table tops instead of spinning between one’s fingers.
By banning fidget tools such as the fidget spinner completely, it puts students who actually need them at a disadvantage. Autism and ADHD can affect each child differently, which is why other options should be explored for special needs individuals. Specific rules can be set and exceptions can also be made for children who do actually benefit from having these gadgets around.
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