Fidget toys represent an outlet for our bodies to move while still paying attention. Children, youth and adults with FASD often have difficulty controlling their bodies enough to convince the general public that they are listening and learning. By providing specific outlets for individuals to release energies, it creates space for the body to use other senses such as visual and auditory senses which are both necessary for learning.
It is important to understand that not every toy is a fidget toy and choosing a specific toy will determine how much of an impact it will have. Movement is always key when choosing a fidget toy. Increased movement will sometimes distract the child, youth or adult rather than help them to concentrate. Toys offer different variations in movement, visual, textiles and even sound. The child playing with the pink squishy toy below needs to use too much of her visual, physical, and textile ability to play with the toy, this allows for little to no room left for other learning. This fidget toy would best be used when the child must wait in line, finishes lunch early, or finishes an assignment early.
A “slinky”, is another example of a fidget toy. The slinky will require less movement by the child, as it can be played with in her lap. However, she will still be visually drawn to the object. Furthermore, the metal clashing together will also give it a unique sound. This toy would be well suited to a child who must remain seated at their desk during presentations, story time, and class movies.
A small ball that can be squeezed, is perfect for students who must sit and learn a lesson from the teacher, write a test, or read out loud. The squishy ball allows the student to use a limited amount of movement to control impulses and energy spikes while still maintaining focus on a necessary task.
Fidget toys are a strategy and not all strategies work, each individual is different.
Do it yourself
How to use fidget toys in the classroom, on a budget?