Trends among kids in school have been a long time tradition. In the past it used to be that Pokemon and Baseball cards were the hot thing. These days, it seems that everybody wants their hands on a Fidget Spinner. Just as it has been tradition for droves of kids to want the new hot thing, it has also been tradition for schools to ban them. But is the Fidget Spinner really as bad as everyone is making them out to be?
It turns out that Fidget Spinners are a part of what’s known as stim toys – items that are designed for individuals with autism, anxiety and ADHD for example, to feel encouraged to repetitively repeat physical movements (or “stimming”) in a way that is not distracting to those around them. Though there is no solid evidence of stim toys being a magical solution, there is arguably value in reducing the amount of distraction for those around an individual that requires increased sensory input.
The urge and need to stim in the past has been seen as something to be frowned upon or expected to grow out of. Children and adults generally stim in times of stress or fear, such as nail biting, hair pulling, face picking, pen clicking, etc. Stimming isn’t always harmful, but it can be distracting for those around the individual stimming. This is where stim toys come in.
So why the ban in schools? In a painfully ironic twist, it seems that Fidget Spinners have become a source of distraction themselves. There is no doubt that there are children and even adults who may have found great value in the use of a Fidget Spinner or Fidget Cube (another very popular stim toy). The issue is that as the trend has gotten bigger and bigger, Fidget Spinners have gone the way of Pokemon and Baseball cards of old – items to be collected and played with that disrupt the flow of learning in the classroom.
Although this may be the case with many people using them in classes, it is also important to know the original intended use of it and other stim toys, and the value they hold to it’s original intended market.
This is in no means meant to be a one stop PSA on the importance of stim toys like the Fidget Spinner, rather a starting point to better understand their uses and importance, and to decide for yourself whether you think they should continue to be banned in schools or not.