Like many trends that take the world by storm for no clear reason, fidget spinners have become all the rage amongst children and adults alike in the first half of 2017. These small colored objects are exactly what their name implies—three-pronged rotators perfect for anyone needing a means to channel nervous or excess energy. But aside from being temporarily entertaining and fun to play around with, do fidget spinners have any additional health effects? Let’s find out.
Since the rise of their popularity, many sellers have suggested that fidget spinners are useful for children with attention difficulties, such as those that diagnosed with autism and ADHD. The spinners, created by engineer Catherine Hettinger in the 1990s, are thought to work by occupying the hands, and in turn, allowing the user to redirect their attention to better concentrate on mental tasks. However, medical professionals have been quick to debunk these claims, stating that fidget spinners are not an FDA approved form of treatment. On the other hand, experts also acknowledge that these devices display no inherent harm or negative effect, and thus may be used at a parent’s or child supervisor’s discretion.
Image source: Emely
While some schools have gone as far as to ban fidget spinners as distracting and even dangerous if accidentally spun out of control, special education teacher Rebekah Poe has noticed improvements in one student with what she describes as “severe ADHD and behavior problems.” What acts as a toy for other students serves a much greater purpose for the boy in Poe’s classroom, highlighting a necessary exception. Dr. Pillar Trelles, MD, supports this notion, citing fidget spinners as one of many potential rapid stress management techniques (RSMTs) for ADHD and anxiety sufferers.
Ultimately, fidget spinners seem to be another fad with no real purpose, but certain cases may warrant their use beyond basic amusement. While the devices will likely fall out of favor before any concrete evidence of their benefits can be compiled, positive effects on individuals with conditions such as autism and ADHD should be considered on a case-by-case basis.
Feature Image Source: 029/365: by Myriams-Fotos