Let’s Talk About Super Special Kids & Cake Podcast [Episode 003]
Who remembers the fidget spinner craze that swept the nation as few months back? They were everywhere and the craze spread like wildfire! I get it, one child has one and then another child wants it too and before you know it, all the parents also want their child to have one and so we all rush to the stores to get one too!
My problem with the fidget spinners however; was that they were marketed as aides for individuals with anxiety, autism and ADHD to name a few conditions. Some retailers described the product as providing “greater concentration for people with those conditions”.
However, many medical professionals and experts in the field including Mark Rapport, a clinical psychologist at the University of Central Florida who has studied the benefits of movement on attention in people with ADHD concluded that “using a spinner-like gadget is more likely to serve as a distraction than a benefit for the individual” with such conditions including ASD. Not only that, but there were no peer-reviewed studies at all on fidget spinners. With this lack of research, manufacturers’ claims about the usefulness of fidget spinners are “baseless” according to many scientists.
As such, what I would stress to parents is that we must be careful with toys and gadgets that are purported to help special children. Parents need to be wary of gimmicky toys that are advertised as being beneficial to a special child, which are actually just marketing ploys to sell products to vulnerable parents; desperate to find a solution to their child’s condition.
This doesn’t mean that all products on the market are deceptive or not beneficial. There are many that have been tried and tested and do show some benefit to children with ASD. However, each person’s experience will be different and so we must consider the needs of each individual child; rather than following the masses next time there’s a craze!