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Can Fidget Spinners Benefit Kids with Autism and/or Anxiety?

Move over loom bands and bottle flipping, fidget spinners are the latest fad in school playgrounds.

What are fidget spinners?

Fidget spinners have been around for a while now, but started to gain in popularity in late 2016 with Forbes magazine describing them as “the must-have office toy of 2017”. Marketed as a stress-relieving toy that helps with nervous energy, a fidget spinner is a small device you hold in the centre and then flick to make it spin rapidly. They come in variety of materials, with the body typically made from metals such as brass, copper, stainless steel and titanium. The principle is simple: the heavier the metal, the longer it spins.

Why are fidget spinners popular with kids?

fidget spinners

Who knows? This is a latest fad for kids… my own 10 year old has given these reasons for loving his

  • they are fun
  • you can do tricks with them
  • it can be challenging if you want it to be
  • they are ‘collectable’ – I want different colours
  • they can be decorated
  • my friends have them
  • we talk about them and what else we can do with them

So there you have it! This little device ticks all the ‘kid’ boxes. A marketing dream!

Watch our fidget spinners tricks video

Can fidget spinners help kids with Autism?

The spinner has also proved to be a valuable tool for those who work with special-needs students.

It has been claimed that if a child has a difficulty like ADHD, acute stress disorder or sensory-processing issues, items like this fidget spinner can also help by providing either sensory stimulation or distraction.

The spinning and twirling children (and adults) can do with fidget spinners is said to help to keep hands busy and provide a distraction or sensory stimulation for those with specific mental health issues.

Other benefits of fidget spinners

Fidget toys have also proved useful in weaning children off other habits, such as thumb-sucking, biting nails or picking at cuticles.

It also helps you and your kids to take your eyes off the smartphones and iPads for a while too.

Teachers and school responses

Teacher and school responses have been mixed. Not everyone is happy about by the craze. Some schools, locally and internationally, have banned fidget spinners, saying they are a distraction in the classroom. Other schools have welcomed them as an aid for kids in the classroom.

What do you think?

Do your kids have the fidget spinners? Do you love them or loathe them? Let us know in comments below.

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Janine Mergler

Janine Mergler is a veteran Queensland teacher, graduating from QUT with a BEd majoring in Social Sciences. After many years in the classroom, Janine moved on to academia. She has proudly trained new generations of teachers in her role as a lecturer at Queensland University of Technology Faculty of Education. She has also worked in the Queensland Government as an education specialist, developing education resources and delivering community awareness programs to help families conserve water. Currently she is the owner and editor of Families Magazine, a publication specifically targeted at parents who value a quality education for children.  Janine leads a team of professionals who write about family lifestyle, early childhood, schools and education information and family-friendly events.

1 thought on “Can Fidget Spinners Benefit Kids with Autism and/or Anxiety?”

  1. My daughter is a chronic nail biter since getting her a fidget spinner I have definitely seen a huge reduction in her nail biting!


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