"The research confirms that fidgeting is helpful and can be an essential tool for many children who have sensory processing and/or autism spectrum disorders, ADD, or ADHD. What an "easy" tool to enhance the focus, concentration, and cognitive performance of individuals who are challenged in these areas! It is hoped that this research summary will be used to help educate those who might perceive fidgets as just being "toys" – or for those who don't realize that fidgeting can actually facilitate changes in brain chemicals. We all fidget – research supports that it can be a very beneficial activity for children who have unique needs that sometimes go hand-in-hand with disabilities."
– Dr. Carol Claflin, March 12, 2017
How to Use Fidget Tools in the Classroom
Fidgets can be successfully introduced into classrooms with some basic rules. Before introducing fidget tools in your classroom, create some rules that are custom-tailored for your specific class and grade. Be sure to explain that fidgets are a learning tool and are not a toy. Perhaps use the analogy that some students need glasses to be able to function and focus better in the classroom; while other students need a fidget tool to help them pay attention better. It can also be helpful to model how to use specific fidgets. Include that if the rules are broken, you have the right to temporarily take away a fidget until the user can demonstrate that they can use it according to the rules.
Potential rules might include:
• Fidget tools are to be used during listening activities and may only be used to help you focus and attend better, or to help your body feel calmer.
• Fidget tools are to be held in your hands and not tossed in the air, dropped, juggled, thrown, or bounced.
• Your fidget tools are for you only, and should not distract or interfere with your or other students' learning.
• When fidgets are not in use, they need to be kept out of sight (inside your desk) or in a designated space where they belong – such as a fidget box by the teacher's desk.