Fidget spinners: Could toy craze have benefits for kids with autism, ADHD?

Posted at 7:27 PM, May 02, 2017

You may not have heard of them yet, but kids can't wait to get their hands on them: fidget spinners.

The popular new toy is a simple gadget that you hold in your hand, spin, and watch whirl -- and it could have potential health benefits. 

“My 12-year-old brought one home. His friend let him use it,” said Valley mother Natasha Hayes.

The newest toy craze has parents rushing to figure out where to find them.

Locally, we searched several toys stores and only found them online and at a Phoenix 7-Eleven.

“I think I ordered eight of them. So I ordered them for the next day, and they came in the mail, but when I came down here to the store (7-Eleven), they had them at the cash register,” Hayes said.

It’s not just a boredom buster, or a stress and anxiety reliever; there are claims that the toy can help kids with attention deficit and hyperactivity disorders, and even autism.

“I do have one (child) that’s autistic, and it keeps him pretty occupied, but in a mellow kind of way,” Hayes said.

While the toy may keep kids in their seats and their minds off anxieties, Janine Artis, a mental health counselor told affiliate WKBW that she isn’t convinced.

“Just sitting and fidgeting with something is not going to be that beneficial to a child with hyperactivity and inattention,” Artis said.

And some critics say they need scientific evidence before they can say the toy is actually beneficial to those with autism.

The toys have become so popular, that some schools around the U.S. have banned them for being distracting.

ABC15 checked with some Valley districts. We didn’t find any districts that banned the toy, but some say they deal with them on a case-by-case basis and that kids should leave the toys at home.