Are fidget spinners making you dizzy? Originally meant to help kids with ADHD, autism or anxiety, they’ve become a fad, with kids learning spinner tricks on YouTube and schools banning them as a distraction.
Still, experts like Professor Kristie Koenig, department chair of occupational therapy at New York University, say fidget devices can help some kids.
“Our brains can’t just focus on auditory and visual challenges,” says Koenig. “It’s the same reason why recess helps.” Koenig says educators have long included tools to enhance learning in classrooms, from stretching and water breaks to gum chewing during tests.”You only have so much time to (spend sitting and listening or reading), then you get up to sharpen your pencil.”
Some schools provide other tools children can manipulate, like a squeeze ball or a rubber band underneath their desk, notes elementary school principal Kate Ellison.
And what’s one tool for kids with ADHD, autism or emotional issues that can be taken anywhere and is quiet? Mindfulness, a meditation practice that begins with concentrating on breathing, is increasingly being taught to children. In fact, a recent study showed that after eight weeks of mindfulness training, children had decreased anxiety, had improvements in attention and were more able to handle daily challenges.
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