Many children with attention disorders find it difficult to sit still for any length of time. In a traditional classroom setting, this is often expected, and any fidgeting is discouraged. As you may know or can imagine, this can be a very challenging environment for a child with an attention disorder, often resulting in anxiety or disciplinary consequences if not managed properly, making school life very difficult. At the school where I work, we allowed Fidget Spinners for children with attention disorders, autism and anxiety. Unfortunately, they soon became popular with the students without an attention disorder, and so we had to ban them from school – understandable but a bit harsh for those students who found them useful. In my experience, they didn’t work well, mainly because of the interest they stirred in the other children, but they also seemed to be more of a distraction. I am not sure they worked any better than fidgeting with a pen or piece of classroom equipment and I have read that the Fidget Cube is a better idea for a classroom setting as it doesn’t require visual attention. In my opinion, the vital detail is that the school needs to ensure ALL the staff are aware that a child with an attention disorder needs to be given a bit of slack.
What is your experience of them? This article from Live Science was released recently. It explains what they are and the controversy they have created, but I would be interested to hear what your experiences of them have been. Do they work for you or a child you know? Do they work well out of the classroom setting? Are there any other devices that have helped? I have heard so many conflicting opinions. The National Autistic Society sell them from their online shop, but I have also read articles claiming they have not been evaluated in proper research. We would love to be able to share tips and advice to help others, so please leave your comments below.