One of the Amazon’s top selling toys is currently claiming to be a therapeutic device for children with ADHD, anxiety, autism and its users claims to have better focus and concentration post its usage. A craze that has been sweeping American adults and children is slowly and steadily getting its own fan-base in India. In today’s culture Yo-Yo, it gives your hand something to be occupied while providing good source of visual and tactile incentive. A small hand-held toy, it comes in wide range of colors, material and number of blades. Its basic shape is three-blade joined by a ball in the center and ball bearings from each blade. What do they do? They spin.
But do fidget spinners claims are sustained by science? Despite the overzealous behaviour shown by its manufacturers, data that supports it is nonexistent. Some product manufacturers go as far as calling it a medical intervention. Researchers and behavioral scientists are debunking its claim to reduce fidgeting in children with Autism and ADHD. Some scientific studies, on the other hand, are discussing about benefits of fidgeting for children with autism and ADHD. Dr Mark Rapport from University of Central Florida discussed that children with ADHD performed better during memory tasks when some form of movement was allowed as compared to sitting still. However, using a spinner like gadget is “more likely to serve as a distraction than a benefit for individuals with ADHD” since it simply outsources the action. More so, such product claims only paints the picture of fidgeting to be undesirable and inappropriate and further stigmatizes it. As much as it is a fun and affordable toy for the adults, parents with ADHD and autistic children desperate eagerness is building around a product that has no scientific backing.
But what is it about the fidget spinner that fascinates both children and adults? The popularity of spinners grew as videos showing creative tricks received widespread attention on Youtube. Overall, fidget spinners are affordable toys and light to carry. Its users have claimed that it helped them reduce habits like nail biting since it keeps their hands occupied. They have also claimed that it helps them de-stress themselves as they are able to channelize their frustration into spinning the toy. The spinning itself can be visually stimulating and the sensation of spinning under the thumb can give certain tactile stimulation.
So folks, there is no harm in dipping into a trend that has caught on like wildfire to see if it works for you or not. However, from a mental health standpoint, the science still has to back up its uses.
As a fun game, keep on spinning it up!