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No Research Shows Fidget Spinners Effective

Posted by on June 1st, 2017


fidget spinner

Product photo from Amazon.com.

If you have young children, you may have noticed the latest toy craze that is fidget spinners. Except the toy hasn’t been marketed as a toy–marketers said the contraption was supposed to help kids with autism, anxiety or ADHD because it would keep them calm and help them focus. However, according Dr. Louise Krause, chief of child and adolescent psychiatry for the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, Ill., in a MedlinePlus article, “there’s no science behind what they’re advertising.”

Krause said in the article she suspects the creators of the fidget spinner base their claims on smaller studies that show that kids with ADHD pay better attention when they’re allowed to fidget. But given the distracting nature of the toy, fidget spinners actually do very little to help kids pay attention in a classroom setting.

Beside just being distracting, Dr. Andrew Adesman, chief of developmental and behavioral pediatrics at Cohen Children’s Medical Center in New Hyde Park, N.Y., said he worried that kids wouldn’t be able to take notes or do other written assignments while playing with them.

One benefit the fidget spinners could have is rewarding children with autism who use sensory stimulating behaviors (such as clapping or spinning around), according to Thomas Frazier, chief science officer at Autism Speaks. Frazier recommended rewarding an autistic child who exhibits good behavior, as the fidget spinner may be less stigmatizing.

To read more about if fidget spinners actually help children focus, please visit “Are All Those ‘Fidget Spinners’ Really Helping Kids?

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