Fidget Spinners latest toy fad that could enhance learning, therapists say
By: Michael Piccoli
Fidget Spinners have been the topic of discussion among social media in recent months. Although many people have bought them for pleasure, these toys can benefit children with ADHD.
Michael Leite, a Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board supply teacher, said that students are not allowed to use the spinners during a lesson, but are free to use them on their own time.
“If they’re working on their homework, I let them play with it,” said Leite. “As long as they’re working, I’m okay with it.”
Leite said that increased concentration is a benefit.
“Some of them even do their work without noticing that they’re playing with it,” he said. “But they still do their work.”
But Jodian Daley, a Thames Valley District School Board supply teacher, had different thoughts about the toys.
“If anything, they’re more of a distraction,” said Daley. “The kids play with them on their desks and then it distracts themselves and other students, as well.”
In a classroom Daley recently taught in, the toy was banned.
John Tucker works with those in early adulthood who struggle with ADHD. For 25 years, he’s worked to modify education programs to accommodate diversity.
Tucker said that he has heard of the toy and wants to study them, as he deals with similar ‘fidget’ toys on a daily basis.
“The fidgeting process acts as stimulation,” he said. “I would absolutely give this toy to a patient because it would help with paying attention.”
A description from the the toy’s official website, says: “For some people, fidget spinner toys can provide a sense of comfort and peace in stressful situations…because our fidget toys fit in your hand and are made with the best materials, you won’t ever have to deal with a lack of tactile stimulation again.”
‘Not a black and white thing’
Tucker does not believe that the toy should be banned in the classroom.
“Education is behind on their thoughts on ADHD,” he said. “It is not a black and white thing.”
“Fidgeting can help anyone who is stressed, anxious, or nervous,” he said. “I used to be a teacher. I would sit those who had trouble learning at the back. I would give them toys to play with and it helped them pay attention.”
Tucker suggested that the classroom setting needs to be set up so that other students are not distracted by potential fidget spinners; however, the toy is beneficial for any student to use.
“I suspect it wouldn’t hurt anyone to have something to fiddle with.”
Jennifer Tiviluk, a Toronto clinical social worker, explained that there are many children that have challenges with ADHD and increased movement.
“There is a need for classrooms to be modified for kids to thrive,” said Tiviluk. “These toys may provide an outlet for children to get a better learning environment.”
Tiviluk explained that children with ADHD develop differently than others, which means they need to be accommodated.