Fidget spinner: Tool or toy?

13News Now Kristina Zverjako talked to psychologist about whether or not the latest toy craze, Fidget Spinners, actually help adults and kids with ADD and ADHD.

(WVEC) -- It's a fad that's spinning out of control. So called 'fidget spinners' come in all shapes and sizes and are the new 'it' gadget kids just have to get their hands on. But is it a useful tool, or just another toy?

They are advertised as stress reducers, anxiety relievers, great for adults and kids with ADD and ADHD. These claims have sold millions of parents. 

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"I think it's just a toy that's really cool right now," said Nikita Crissinger, a mother of two. 

Crissinger says her son loves the fidget spinner, but she doesn't allow him to bring it to school because she has first handedly seen what happens in the classroom. 

“I’m a substitute teacher, so all the kids at schools have them, and they are extremely distracting,” she explained. 

Crissinger says she's seen kids trade them, fight over them, and ultimately not pay attention to their work. 

"It's just a distraction in the classroom," said Crissinger. 

But how can a tool that so many parents now swear helps their kids with different behavioral issues be considered nothing more than a toy by others?

13News Now sat down with Dr. Jeffrey Katz, who specializes in ADHD. 

“Why they think it helps, I think it’s a sales thing. I think people were smart enough to attach ADHD and ADD to it," Dr. Katz explained. 

Dr. Katz says he has not seen any research that proves the fidget spinners to be useful in helping people with ADHD or ADD. 

Yet, stores can't keep their shelves stocked. The demand for fidget spinners seems to be at an all time high, and saying 'no' to a child isn't always easy. 

Dr. Katz says parents have an opportunity to use the toy to their advantage. 

“You use it so that it’s an incentive for children to get their work done, when you get this much work done you get a star, and when you collect 12 of them that will get you the fidget spinner you want,” explained Dr. Katz. 

Some schools around the nation have banned fidget spinners. 13News Now reached out to school districts in Hampton Roads for their policies. 

Virginia Beach

Virginia Beach City Public Schools does not have a policy that specifically addresses fidget spinners. We rely on the best judgment of our teachers and principals to determine if student possession of or use of a spinner has become a distraction to classroom instruction or the school environment. In those instances, the student will be asked to put the device away or it may be collected by the teacher or administrator.

Suffolk

There is no SPS policy addressing this specific type of item. Instead, we expect our staff to use their best judgment to minimize distractions in the classroom. The item might be collected from the student by staff, or the student might be asked to put it away. 

Hampton

At this time, Hampton City Schools does not have a policy that specifically addresses fidget spinners. However, we trust that our administrators and teachers will use their best judgment if the fidget spinners create a disruption to the learning environment or pose any type of safety hazard.

Norfolk

At this time Norfolk Public Schools does not have a policy that specifically addresses fidget spinners. Our teachers and administrators will rely on their best judgment in making any determinations on banning these devices or requiring students to put them away should they become a distraction to the learning environment. 

Chesapeake

Chesapeake Public Schools does not have a School Board Policy that specifically addresses fidget spinners. 

Our Student Conduct Policy Guidelines does state that “students have the responsibility to ensure that their actions do not disrupt the classroom or school activities and that they must abide by the laws of the United States, Virginia, and the City of Chesapeake, as well as the regulations and policies of the Chesapeake School Board and the individual school.” 

If such a device becomes a distraction to classroom instruction or the educational environment, teachers and/or administrators have the authority to ask a student to put the device away or collect the device.

Portsmouth 

We don’t have a specific policy on fidget spinners. In our schools, principals and teachers can direct the student to put the spinner away if the object becomes a distraction or impedes student learning. 

Newport News

The NNPS Code of Conduct (which each family receives) states that “no student, unless authorized by the school principal/designee, shall bring or possess any object that has no educational purpose and may distract from teaching and learning (i.e., Toys, iPads, Kindles, Nooks….)…These items may be confiscated and sanctions for violating these guidelines are the same as outlined above…”

Newport News Public Schools does not have a policy specifically addressing fidget spinners, but as you can see from the statement above, toys are not permitted at school. Teachers and other educators can prohibit fidget spinners and other toys. Possession of toys is also specifically addressed in the rules and sanctions section of the handbook. The sanction can include a conference with the student, or the student and the parent, or an intervention (referral, time out, contract with student to avoid reoccurrence). Most of the time, teachers will ask them to put the items away and avoid playing with them at school.
 

 

 

© 2017 WVEC-TV


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