Just in case you have not heard, the Fidget Spinner is a viral phenomenon. Its popularity as a toy craze is a given, however, its application as a suitable fidget for children with special needs is a debated topic with both sides weighing in. Some schools are banning fidget spinners while others are advocating their use as a tool for students with ADHD issues. Anecdotally, fidgets are felt to often help children with focus/attention and calming issues and there is some research data to support this including the Use of Stress Balls for Focus and more generally, the effects of Doodling and Auditory Processing as well as overall Body Fidgeting (active movement).
The American Occupational Therapy Association’s (AOTA) pediatric program manager Sandra Schefkind, OTD, OTR/L, FAOTA is quoted stating: “….It needs to be monitored. We are all diverse learners so tools should be customized rather than one-size-fits-all. Hopefully, the toys are used with educators and occupational therapists as part of the team.”
While the debate marches on, here are 5 Alternatives to the Fidget Spinner to consider:
1. Finger Squash-It
Finger Squash-It: its non -toxic gel filling provides a tactile sensory input while the glitter sparkles mixed in are subtle and not overwhelming. The hourglass shape makes it a good two-hand fidget for bilateral motor coordination/midline orientation, while the overall design keeps it socially appropriate and a low profile tool.
Gel-E-Fidget: Nontoxic gel filled squares give a denser tactile/proprioceptive input than the Finger Squash-Its listed above. This fidget comes with a ring to clip onto a key chain, backpack or belt loop.
3. Tangle Therapy
Tangle Therapy: a member of the original Tangle family of products this version has a textured nubby design for additional sensory input.
4. Bug-Out Bob
Bug-Out Bob and Poppin’ Peepers: These vintage classics have stayed around for a reason, as they are durable, lightweight and easy to activate. Squeeze the air filled body and watch the eyes pop out and back! (Contains latex).
Yuk-E-Ball: Designed by our product engineers responding to customer feedback that standard stress/fidget balls were breaking too easily for many children with special needs. This version has a more durable outer phthalate free latex free cover design while inside, the pvc balls and non- toxic gel still provide suitable sensory input.
Do you have a favorite fidget tool? Please share with us and/or check out ablitations.com for more ideas.