PA Homeopathy - Dr. Bernardo A. Merizalde

PA Homeopathy Blog

Jun 7, 2017

Tool or toy?

Should spinners—otherwise known as fidget toys, fidget tools, and fidget spinners—have a place in your child’s classroom?spinner fidget tool

Log on to and select the Toy and Games category. On the day this post was written,1 game of Uno and 23 spinners, anti-spinners, and anxiety attention toys made up the first 24 recommendations for 5-7 year olds. For 8-13 year olds, spinners and their counterparts claimed 15 of the first 24 positions, with an assortment of games and arts and crafts filling the remaining 9 spots. Is this obsession with spinners good for your child?

Parents of children with ADHD, Asperger’s, and autism argue that spinners are tools that help their children deal with anxiety. A fidget tool allows these children to keep their hands busy so they can concentrate on schoolwork. Anxiety attention toys—though probably misnamed if they are serving as therapeutic tools—have also been known to keep some children so focused that they refrain from harming themselves when they are anxious.

Parents whose children do not have IEPs and do not battle anxiety see spinners as a fad, the latest in a long line of must-have toys and possessions. For those on a budget, they may be shocked to discover the amounts of money that change hands at school in order to claim or buy back a favorite fidget toy from the king or queen of the playground.

Teachers initially saw how these anti-anxiety tools helped their special needs students. Since then, they have discovered that an entire classroom full of students who are intent on operating their spinners is a whole schoolroom of learners who aren’t on task. Ownership issues have also caused fights and injuries. To remedy this, spinners should be
• Correctly named “tools” or “therapy aids” instead of “toys”
• Allowed only if a student has an IEP that stipulates use of a fidget tool for a specific medical or educational purpose
• Neither seen or heard by other students or teachers
• Confiscated if they endanger, harm, or financially target others
• A privilege that corresponds to the completion of work

Whether or not spinners, fidget toys, and fidget tools have a place in your child’s classroom, you need to be an advocate for your student. Unnecessary interruptions, distractions, bullying, and fighting because of a toy are not in the best interest of any child and his/her education.

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