Fidget Spinner: Toy or therapy tool?

Published: May. 7, 2017 at 11:32 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 1, 2017 at 12:22 PM CDT
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BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Fidget spinners are the latest toy craze flying off shelves everywhere.

Videos on the internet show people doing tricks with the gadgets, but that's not their only use. Ashley Wainwright says the toy is meant to be enjoyed by people of all ages, but has noticed a trend in buyers.

"Mainly kids with ADHD, ADD, autism, kids who have trouble studying a lot at home, or they get test anxiety or school anxiety about a certain subject," said Wainwright, who sells spinners are Edgewater Mall. "It really helps to calm them down and keep them distracted."

Dr. Donna Burrowes, psychologist at Bridgewater Psychiatry, says similar toys have been around for years. They are often used by occupational therapists.

"It's meant to have some kind of sensory input to help you maintain focus and keep you alert at an adequate level of regulation," said Burrowes.

But, there is a downside to the craze. According to some teachers, kids are becoming too distracted by the spinning toys. Some teachers have even gone so far as to ban them.

"The idea is to help them pay attention, and if it becomes a distraction for other kids or for the child then it defeats the purpose," said Burrowes.

If a parent feels their child needs the device for medical reasons, Dr. Burrows recommends documenting how they benefit from the device and getting a doctor's note that might permit the student to use it in class.

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