Fidgets growing in popularity at local schools


CARMEL, Ind. (WISH) — Items that may once have been thought of as simply toys are being used as tools to help kids concentrate.

A growing number of students in Carmel Clay Schools are using fidgets.

Fidgets are items like stress balls, spinners, putty and pipe cleaners, and and using them can help students with focus, attention, calming and active listening.

In Carmel, fidgets were first used for kids with autism to help them maintain focus and reduce classroom anxiety, and teachers have found the fidgets can do the same for all students.

When kids hold the fidgets, teachers have found that they tend to listen better and seem less anxious.

There are some things you should consider before buying your child a fidget.

“My recommendation would really be to think about your child’s strengths and what they like to do,” explained Anne Sweet, autism consultant for Carmel Clay Schools. “Some students need visual stimulation, and so they might need a fidget that is a little bit more visual. Some students really like to fidget with their fingers and hands and they might need something that’s a little bit more motor-oriented.”

Of course, sometimes the fidgets can be used as toys. A few weeks ago, Clay Middle School sent out a list of rules for fidgets.

Fidgets can only be used to help students calm down and with focus and attention.

They can only be used while the students are listening, not while they are doing activities like writing, highlighting or taking notes.

The fidgets must remain out of sight and should stay under the desk or table.

And students cannot use the fidgets to get other people’s attention. They can’t throw, bounce, kick, roll, spin or share their fidget with other students.

They also cannot bring homemade putty or slime.

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