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Fidget spinner controversy: Do they really improve behavior?

Posted at 5:33 PM, May 02, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-02 17:33:27-04

The hype behind the hottest new toy is spinning out of control.

Fidget spinners are so popular that some stores are having a hard time keeping up with the demand.

"We're in the full frenzy mode where people are aware of them, people are looking for them, and there's a somewhat shortage of them in the area," said David Schueckler, Owner of the Tree House Toy Store.

It's no secret everyone wants one, but what is a fidget spinner?

"It's a ball-bearing," Schueckler explains. "Give it a flick and just keep going.

Some fidget spinners are even packaged with a claim that using the toy helps to relieve stress and anxiety, particularly for kids diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder or Autism.

But not all mental health professionals agree.

"Just sitting and fidgeting isn't going to be that beneficial for a child with hyperactivity and inattention," said Licensed Mental Health Counselor Janine Artis.

And the fidgeting is becoming a problem in schools. Saint Mark's School on Woodward Avenue has gone so far as to ban the toys altogether.

"Fidgets aren't just being used subtly under the desk, but tossed up in the air and shared between peers, said Artis. "So, now we have an extra distraction."

Artis says every child is different. She recommends that parents have their children try the fidget spinners at home first and look for any signs of improvement in behavior.

"The parent can really observe how the child is interacting with it, if it is helping them pay attention and stay focused," Artis said.

If it works, and only if it works, Artis says parents should ask a teacher to test it out in the classroom.