Fidget Spinners: sensory fidgets or just spinning toys?

image_pdfimage_print

The craze of Fidget Spinners has swept through South Australian schools but are they all they are cracked up to be?

This craze begs the questions … Are Fidget Spinners fidget toys or sensory fidgets? Sensory fidgets are typically small, silent, unobtrusive, and usually hand held items that are used to redirect a child’s fidgeting to allow the child to think effectively and to remain calmly ‘on task’. Children with sensory processing difficulties often do very well using such items.  Conversely, fidget toy are more often novel, noisy, distracting, annoying to others and keep the child from performing the task at hand.

While fidget spinners are silent, you only have to see the children using the spinners on their forehead, nose, elbow, knee, toe, finger or even tongue to see that they are in fact a distraction. Failing that, ask any parent at school pick up or any classroom teacher and they are likely to share the same opinion.

In addition to the distraction, the fact that you can buy a fidget spinner in just about every  supermarket, petrol station and airport suggests that they are not really a sensory fidget item with therapeutic intent. You Tube is well stocked with videos of ‘extreme’ spinners, and children are actively collecting spinners.

Sensory fidgets? ….I think not. A bit of fun …. sure. If they do work for your child that’s great, but if you are looking for a sensory fidget either get creative or spend a little more time researching on therapy supply websites. Cheap and easy to find sensory fidget toys might include: paperclips, small bits of scrunched paper, tiny blobs of blue-tac, a textured rock, or one of the many stress balls available.  Commercially available sensory fidgets might fidget cubes, manual spinners, or bendy smiley fidgets to name just a few. It is also worth trying a variety of fidgets as different sensory fidgets suit different children. But be sure to persist in finding the ‘just right’ sensory fidget for your child because true sensory fidget toys really do make a difference to a child with sensory processing difficulties.

We’d love to hear what sensory fidgets work for your child!

Related Blog Posts
  • Mixing Up Words: Overcoming Kid’s Language Mistakes
    Mixing Up Words: Overcoming Kid’s Language Mistakes

    Sometimes all of us get our words mixed up, but we can fix it up when we make mistakes! Kids can mix up words in a sentence when they are first learning to make longer sentences to request (e.g. ‘I can have that please?’ instead of ‘Can I have that please?’). Often it means that […]

  • NAPLAN literacy and  numeracy skills using visual supports
    NAPLAN literacy and numeracy skills using visual supports

    With the NAPLAN fast approaching it can be a good time to identify and understand how well developed your child’s literacy and numeracy skills are. However it can also be a stressful time for both the children and their families, especially for children whose skills are not developing easily. Irrespective of their NAPLAN scores, children […]

  • Surviving the Christmas Pageant
    Surviving the Christmas Pageant

    Surviving the Christmas Pageant: Top 10 tricks for with children with autism, sensory processing disorder or language difficulties The Christmas Pageant is full of fun, joy and… sensory overload for even the most typical of children.  For children with autism, sensory processing disorder or language difficulties it can be a nightmare. The great news is […]