Published: Tue, May 16, 2017
Medicine | By Earnest Bishop

Can They Actually Help You Feel Less Anxious, More Focused — Fidget Spinners

Can They Actually Help You Feel Less Anxious, More Focused — Fidget Spinners

Fidget spinners have become quite the craze with kids in recent months.

In 2 1/2 weeks, the mall kiosk has sold more than 1,200 of them at $12.99 each. They feature center bearings that have prongs sticking out that easily spin.

In many places where fidget spinners are sold, they're touted as miracle toys that help people focus as well as aid people dealing with post-traumatic stress and other disorders, but one expert says those claims aren't backed up by science.

In these situations, a fidget toy can be highly beneficial for focusing the mind and helping the child to stay on track, whether in the classroom or at home.

While fidget spinners may seem simple and harmless, music teacher Elizabeth Maughan is not a fan.

The oblong-shaped toy has rounded edges, allowing users to do various spinning tricks with them, both on their own or with friends. "When you have 10 or 15 in a room, it's just this whirring and it's an irresistible siren call for everyone else to turn around and look at whoever has it out, and [it's] completely distracting". She says the toys appeared there in the middle of April.

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Fads typically follow a set criteria: they're cheap, they're easy to get a hold of and they're just pointless enough that adult buzzkills will complain about them. It's made up of a ball bearing surrounded by a circular pad with " blades" which spin around the bearing. "It just adds to the chaos". It spins, it's active, it makes motion and, when taken to school, a fidget spinner can be downright distracting. However, many kids are buying and bringing the devices to school. But one figure stands out - 49 of the 50 best-selling toys on Amazon being fidget spinners or their more squarish sibling, the fidget cube. But according to Scott Kollins, a clinical psychologist and professor at Duke University, "there's no evidence to support that claim".

"I was mesmerized. These things are hypnotic".

About 11 per cent of USA children between the ages of 4 and 17 - or 6.4 million kids - have been diagnosed with ADHD as of 2011, according to the Centres of Disease Control and Prevention. I've heard all kinds of answers-everything from it helps children with ADHD, PTSD and anxiety.

If you can imagine the most satisfying feeling, then you need to try a fidget spinner, "you'd be surprised at how strangely satisfying the little thingamajig is", said Wilson. "A lot of times it's trial and error, where a child and their family, and their school staff or their therapist, may help them find something that provides a good outlet for them but also isn't bothering other people", Dr. Carolyn Bridgemohan, co-director of the Autism Spectrum Center at Boston Children's Hospital, told IBT.

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