Wednesday, August 11, 2010
What is a Fidget Toy?
Have you heard of fidget toys? They are great tools for those children who just cant seem to sit still.
Children with forms of autism, ADHD and sensory processing dysfunction often fidget especially during times when they are required to concentrate. They wiggle, kick around, chew their fingers and become totally distracted from the topic they are supposed to be working on.
A fidget toy is something small, like a pliable ball, that the child can fiddle with to satisfy their needs without distracting others. Doodling while you are on the telephone or chewing a pen while you are thinking both work in the same manner. The brain is focused and the hands are occupied.
Research has shown that fidget toys seem to distract that part of the brain that makes kids squirm and fiddle. Once the brain is occupied the child can start to contentrate on their work. For adults, stress balls and executive desk toys have the same function.
Children with ADHD and forms of autism sometimes seem slow to react to their surroundings. Some researchers think that they are are "overreactive to high stimulation and under-react to low levels of stimulation." A fidget toy is designed to be enough to increase the childs awareness of the environment but not so exciting that it causes an overreaction.
For children who have trouble focusing, a fidget toy can calm them so much that there is a marked increase in their ability to learn and absorb information. It might be that this is what your child needs to help them through the long school days.
Finding the right fidget toy will be trial and error for every child is different. Look for something that is small enough to be portable and pliable enough to be squeezed and reshaped. Something like our Squishy Farm Critters would be perfect.