No: fidget spinners nothing more than toys

Sam Wichhart, Focus Editor

The first semester of the 2017-18 school year is now in full swing and students are begging to buckle down and focus in order to achieve the highest grades. While some may find this transition easy, it is a clear struggle for certain students with mental disorders like Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Students affected can feel on the ropes and at a loss for a solution.

Fidget spinners, spinning toys that rely on ball bearings, have become popular among children and teens due to their advertisement and claim to increase focus, but are they effective?

Simply, no. The packaging on these toys is riddled with advertisements that claim that they will help people with ADHD, ASD and other disorders. But it’s been a struggle to find any studies to back this statement. A common claim is that fidget spinners are included in the category of “fidgets,” the same category as stress balls, which therapists use on a regular basis. The drawback to this argument is that most effective fidgets create some sort of movement from the people using them, but fidget spinners do not. This may be one of the main reasons why the big companies retailing the spinners to stores such as Walmart haven’t released any studies that specifically target the popular commodity.

Another issue with the effectiveness is that the device is noisy while whirling in the hands of students. Not only is this distracting for people or students around them, but this also draws the person to dedicate their visual focus toward the spinner. Removing the visual sense that a person uses to focus eliminates the purpose of the spinner.

For a final scenario, imagine a classroom or a work setting with many students or employees who have ASD or ADHD and use fidget spinners because of the ASD or ADHD. This situation would result in very low productivity from the constant distraction of spinners spinning around and around.

This example may seem far-fetched, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a study in 2011 claiming that about 11 percent of people in the U.S. aged 4-17 years old have been diagnosed with ADHD at least once.

The fidget spinner fad was very exciting and entertaining. However, contrary to what the advertisements claim, fidget spinners are not a reliable aid for people suffering from mental focus disorders and are best left as toys to play with.