Fidget spinners are helping people with autism concentrate on tasks and remain focused
You may be surprised to learn that those small and bright toys that children love spinning around playing with really could help children struggling with ADD, ADHD, autism spectrum disorder or sensory processing disorder. Fidget spinners can be a great way to help children focus while they are trying to listen to people speak, watch demonstrations, and focus on a task. While we’ve all seen the fidget spinners, there is also a wide variety of other available for children.
, who is an occupational therapist at Mercy Medical Center’s Pediatric Therapy Clinic, explained that some children and adults love to naturally move their hands while they’re trying to concentrate. Things like tapping your fingers, moving your hands, and doodling are all things which people do while they’re trying to concentrate.
“Children who are constantly moving and have that difficulty with attention, they’re not sinking into their chair, they’re having trouble attending because they’re constantly thinking about what they want to do next,” she said. The biggest issue she had with fidget spinners were that they had evolved to a point where they could be more of a distraction than originally intended.
“Maybe more appropriate for school is something like a stress ball or a squish ball. It’s not going to get messy. It’s something that can be hidden,” said Hightree, who said that some children, who may need more tactile stimulation, could benefit more from handling a toy with a spiky texture. It’s important to remember that different children will require different methods of stimulation to help them concentrate. No two children are the same, and all require different levels of stimulation. “Sometimes parents have found out that a trampoline was a wonderful purchase to let their child go out and get that 20 minutes of intense movement and deep pressure for their body to help them calm down and focus,” she said.