Kids who don’t need fidget spinners are ruining it for the rest of us

An Austin teacher shared with her parents this picture:

A drawer full of fidget spinners collected by one teacher.

Her class was overloaded in fidget spinners, and apparently, they were distracting.

RELATED: Teachers are squirming over fidget spinners

The spinners, which sell for $2 to $20+, are meant to help you maintain focus in the classroom or at work. The theory goes that if you have something like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, playing with the spinner can help you focus. Some kids really are tactile learners and they need something to help ground them and bring their minds into attention. For some kids, these sensory objects help them pay attention or ease their anxiety.

I have one of those kids. He has Silly Putty in his backpack that he’s supposed to use when he’s having anxiety or pent-up energy that needs to go somewhere. Even at 16, he still needs that sometimes, and when he doesn’t have it, up comes the anxiety that makes him want to flee.

Recently, when he was somewhere where it was difficult to pay attention, his anxiety was rising and his flight-instinct was kicking in. He soothed it by playing with a gift bag of foam packing peanuts I happened to find where we were. He just needed something tactile to focus that energy. Once he had it, he was able to re-enter the room and participate again.

So, imagine what would happen, if a school outlawed all fidget spinners or all soothing toys of any kind? What would those kids who do better academically and socially when they are touching or playing with something do?

For those kids who don’t need a coping tool, a fidget spinner could be very distracting, and when they misuse it, they ruin it for kids who do need it.

If you have a kid who doesn’t need a fidget spinner, leave it at home, with all the other toys. If your kid does need one, make sure it’s in your child’s individualized education plan and that they know not to share it with their classmates. You also might want to find a different tool until this fidget spinner craze calms down.

Author: Nicole Villalpando

Nicole Villalpando writes about families in the Raising Austin blog and the Raising Austin column on Saturdays. She also offers a weekly and monthly family calendar at She tweets at @raisingaustin.

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