PTA spotlight on… fidget spinners and sensory aids

by PTAsocial in June 20, 2017

Over the years there have been many ‘fads’ seen on school playgrounds – remember Pogs? Slap bracelets? The comeback of yoyos? And who can forget the beloved Tamagotchi? More recently Match Attax cards and Shopkins have been snuck into school bags and pockets of kids up and down the country.

However, the latest craze has gone global and is driving schools up and down the country to implement a ban on them being taken into the classroom – yes, that’s right, we are talking about… Fidget Spinners!

Check out this fidget-spinning action – you can see why it’s become an obsession!:

Fidget Spinner
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Love ’em or hate ’em, virtually every child wants one. These little palm-sized toys consist of a ball bearing that sits in a plastic device, which can then be flicked and spun. To take advantage of the huge demand, there are now a huge range of styles and designs available including glow in the dark varieties.

As with most school toy fads, teachers are finding that fidget spinners are causing huge distraction and disruption in the classroom. Bans are now in place at some schools in the UK, Australia and US.

Fidget Spinners – originally a therapeutic aid for people with neurological conditions

However, fidget spinners were never intended to be a toy. Instead, they were created as a stress-relief tool meant to help children (and adults) with conditions such as autism, anxiety, sensory disorders, ADD and ADHD focus by occupying their hands, thus helping them to concentrate. Children with these conditions often impulsively and subconsciously fidget when they are learning.

The concept of fidget toys is to provide children with just the right amount of sensory input to calm their nervous system and help them to filter out excess sensory stimulation in their surroundings and own body, which is often the root cause of their distraction.

Many children and adults suffering from these types of neurological conditions have been shown to benefit from sensory outlets such as fidget toys. As such, some schools are still allowing children who require additional support to retain their fidget and sensory tools, including spinners.

How your PTA can help

Most schools, whether primary or secondary, have pupils who have neurological conditions like the ones described above. A great way to use some of your hard-raised funds would be to help supply a sensory provision for pupils that require this type of support for their learning. This is also a great step towards supporting their positive mental health.

We aren’t just talking fidget spinners – there are a range of useful tools that can be extremely beneficial for these pupils and can help them reach their full potential. You could talk to your school SENCO to find out what equipment would be most suited to the needs of the children at your school.

Bouncy bands are a popular way to help children who can’t keep their feet still while they are working:

Stability balls are also being used with great effect:

Check out this great video that explains the benefits of a sensory room for children with autism:

Delamere School held a car boot sale to help raise money for their sensory room fund:

Newtonhill School have a sensory room that looks great fun!

By providing students with neurological conditions the tools that they need to learn, your school and PTA can help them learn to concentrate, focus and reach their full potential – something every child deserves.

Over to you...

Do you have a sensory room in your school? Do you already use sensory aids? Has your school banned fidget spinners, and if so, what do you think of the ban?

As always, we would love to hear from you. Please get in touch! Email us , tweet us or use our Facebook page!.

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