Fidget Spinners: Toy or Therapy?

Author: Melissa Chan

In the past few months, one toy has swept the nation: fidget spinners. If you’ve never heard of them, or if you’ve heard of them but aren’t sure what they look like, this is the toy everyone’s been talking about:

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These spinning toys have a simple structure and concept, yet they have become one of the most popular toys this year. Though its audience has expanded to the ordinary person, fidget spinners have been continuously advertised as being able to relieve stress, increase focus, and even relieve symptoms of anxiety, ADHD, and autism. But, do these claims hold true? According to experts, these claims have no scientific evidence. Scott Kollins, a clinical psychologist and professor at Duke University, shared, “I know there's lots of similar toys, just like there's lots of other games and products marketed toward individuals who have ADHD, and there's basically no scientific evidence that those things work across the board.” In other words, fidget spinners may work for some, but ultimately, there is no scientific evidence to support the idea that they have therapeutic qualities.

With more than six million children in the United States diagnosed with ADHD, there is a huge market for therapy/treatments to help these children cope with their ADHD symptoms. Fidget spinners are relatively cheap and if buying one is helpful, then that’s great. However, people shouldn’t jump to the conclusion that these toys are a replacement for therapy or treatment. As Dr. David Anderson, a clinical psychologist and senior director of the ADHD and Behavioral Disorders Center at the New York-based nonprofit Child Mind Institute, put it, “Mental illness is difficult to treat, and it’s not something for which there are simple solutions.”

On another note, if you’re looking for a fun toy this summer and want to understand the craze around fidget spinners, buy one and see for yourself! You never know, it might just be the perfect stress reliever for you...

Sources: http://www.newsweek.com/fidget-spinners-help-anxiety-adhd-609307 http://www.npr.org/2017/05/14/527988954/whirring-purring-fidget-spinners-provide-entertainment-not-adhd-help