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Fidget spinners and mental health

Are fidget spinners beneficial or detrimental when it comes to mental health?


Written by Megan Stonecipher and posted in opinion


This is an opinion of a young person and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of SpunOut.ie. It is one person's experience and may be different for you. If you'd like to write something for SpunOut.ie please contact editor@spunout.ie.


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By now I am sure you have heard the craze over the new twirling toy called, the fidget spinner.  It is marketed not only as a toy but also as a gadget that can help with symptoms of anxiety, attention hyperactivity deficit disorder (ADHD), and autism.  Many people who use fidget spinners believe that they are a beneficial tool for helping relieve stress and focus during daily tasks.  Although this may be stated by many, fidget spinners have no scientific research stating that they help with anxiety, ADHD, and autism.  

Many psychologists have claimed fidget spinners should not be used and marketed as a toy that treats anxiety, ADHD, and autism, because they might actually be detrimental to people with these mental health conditions.  Psychologists believe that this toy is especially detrimental to those with ADHD, since it is more of a distraction than an aid in helping people focus.  Numerous schools and teachers have banned fidget spinners from their classrooms, because people seem to be paying more attention to their fidget spinner rather than what is going on in class.  There are however many studies which show that movement does help with autism and ADHD, but since there have been no specific studies on fidget spinners we cannot assume that people are benefitting from this toy.  Even if studies are done, it is unlikely that it is beneficial because they don’t require gross body movement, only small movement of the hand.  

As of right now fidget spinners show no effectiveness in treating stress or helping those with short attention spans focus more.  Because of this psychologists are recommending that fidget spinners should be thought of as something that is more of a coping tool for people with anxiety, ADHD, and autism; just like other coping tools such as listening to music, stress reliever balls, and so on.  Although fidget spinners aren’t recommended as a treatment for anxiety, ADHD, and autism, it has brought an important conversation to the table.  That is, what can we do or make to help those who are struggling with anxiety, ADHD, and autism?  It is a particularly interesting topic of conversation because as of right now there are no gadgets or toys that are recommended by psychologists to help relieve symptoms of these mental health conditions.  

Hopefully in the near future there will be more gadgets and toys that will be recommended by psychologists for treatment of mental health conditions, but for now just hang tight and keep spinning and fidgeting with your fidget spinner.

 

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Published June 8th, 2017
Last updated October 23rd, 2017
Tags mental health anxiety autism
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