All three of my kids have a few of these Fidget Spinners. Our oldest (our daughter) as most of you who follow my blog know was diagnosed with Autism when she was small. She’s now 16 and she still has a few things that help her cope and concentrate. It’s a tool for her but she still plays with it like a toy every once in a while. For our boys it’s nothing more than a simple toy that they like to play with. And the reality is, they really are just a simple toy. And of course they can be a distraction. All toys can be a distraction.
I see people complain that these Spinners were intended for kids with ADD/ADHD, and Autism and think it’s sad that they are used as toys everywhere. I see other people complain that there isn’t any scientific research that prove they help with these disabilities and think they are dumb and should never have been created. Either way, I think those complaints are hogwash. Who cares? What makes the difference? To me, they are just a silly, simple toy that kids (even adults) play with. Nothing more. I mean, don’t people remember other simple toys when we were kids? What about pet rocks? I remember having a huge collection of Pogs and Slammers.
While our boys play with them like toys, do tricks with them and other things (I’ll have a blog post soon about some activities you can do with them soon), our daughter has found them to be useful and helpful to her. It is true that there isn’t any scientific evidence that these spinners work for any disabilities but that doesn’t mean they can’t be helpful. I don’t need scientific proof to know what works and what doesn’t work for my child. But what works for one, doesn’t mean it will work for all. All kids are different. All people are different. Every autism case and every ADD/ADHD cases are all different. I don’t think it’s fair to make blanket statements whether talking about these spinners or other fidget toys.
I want to be very clear. Just because they can help our daughter does not mean I think they can help someone else.
Our daughter has a hard time limiting the things she is thinking about. She always thinks non-stop about a million things at once. It’s always been that way for her. When she was younger and was old enough to start learning more about autism and about herself, she had once said, “It’s like everything is too loud in my head. Like there is a tornado in my head and I have a hard time stopping it”.
It amazes me though because even though she has so much going on at the same time, she can still get things accomplished. It takes her a lot longer than others her age and it makes it difficult for her to move on to something else. She has to make sure what she is working in is finished before she can start something else. So one of the things we worked on with her school back when she was in elementary school was to let her keep something to fidget with at her desk. She had a fidget cube, a stress ball, and each year her teachers always put adhesive velcro under her desk so she could even touch that.
Letting her have these things helped her to stay focused. She had a physical thing in her hands that she could concentrate on and by having those tools was able to minimize the noise in her head so she can get work done more efficiently and finished in a more reasonable time. This also relieved stress and anxiety.
So of course since these things have always worked for her, I had no doubt that a fidget spinner would help too. She even uses her spinner when she’s reading. She loves to read but sometimes she can’t concentrate completely on the story. So to stay into the book, she plays with her spinner at the same time. Even though she’s not even looking at or paying attention to the spinner, in her head she’s only concentrating on that one thing instead of a hundred things so she can comprehend what she is reading and stay involved in the story.
I don’t fully understand how it works. And I’ll probably never know. I know even if I am distracted by one thing, I’m not going to be able to concentrate much. When she’s only distracted by one or two things, she can concentrate because she has to deal with the “noise” in her head on a daily basis.
So do Fidget Spinners help with autism? Yes and no. Again, I will not use a blanket statement and say “Yes, they help those with autism.” But I will say after ours and our daughter’s experiences, they may be able help some individuals with autism.
Disclaimer: This is not a paid or sponsored post.