Updated: Aug 12, 2022
Over the last few years, fidget toys have become exceedingly popular with school aged children and even adults. The first ones were mostly created for kids with ADHD who just needed to do something with their hands to keep them quiet or focused. Somewhere along the way, more and more toys were put on the market, labeled as "sensory" or "fidgets" but these toys seemed to be more distracting than helpful.
As someone who worked with kids with learning challenges, ADHD, and autism in a public school, I saw these become abused, and saw the teachers begin to not allow them in their classrooms.
Most schools have also realized the problem that fidgets are causing in class and will only allow certain ones if it is in a child's IEP or 504 plan. If you are a parent with a child who does well with fidgets, I would recommend bringing this up to your IEP team and making sure it is in their IEP or 504.
However, all this being said, there are definitely certain fidgets that were incredibly helpful to certain students who knew what they were for. Usually, before giving one of my students a new fidget, I would have a conversation with them about what it was and how they should use it. I chose quiet ones such as a squeeze ball or something that could be used in one hand, under the desk and out of site while the student was working.
I found that in some ways, a small fidget like this could help eliminate stress during a test, or just help keep them focused in class.
I found this article to be helpful on the subject.
What are your thoughts on fidgets? Do you think they are helpful?