Why fidget spinners should be allowed in classrooms

We all remember the fidget spinner as a fun trend that was quickly killed in classrooms, but there’s more to the story and it’s an important one. 

Neurodiversity is a spectrum of conditions that lots of people have to deal with, and with these conditions come different needs. One of these needs is a need to self-stimulate or stim. Stimming is often a repetitive movement or sounds a person makes to regulate themselves. 

Types of stimming can vary from bouncing the leg to humming a song, and while you don’t have to be neurodiverse to stim, they are the group that does it for the majority. 

This leads to an industry of companies making “stim toys,¨ and that leads us back to fidget spinners. Fidget spinners and cubes were made by fidget360 for people with neurodiversity to quietly regulate themselves in class and in workplace settings. 

However, neurotypicals also got a hold of the stim toys. Soon schools were banning them due to them being taken apart and thrown, being a distraction to teachers and overall being “inappropriate.” 

The problem with this is that now neurodiverse students were also banned from bringing them. This isn’t the only time that something like this has happened. For years stimming has been regulated by teachers and schools due to it becoming a common occurrence. 

Drawing in class, tapping your pencil, chewing erasers and plenty of healthy stim habits have been banned or scolded due to an abundance of it happening. 

But who is to blame? The neurodiverse kids? Definitely not, they need to self-regulate to be able to learn. 

The neurotypical kids? Yes and no, because we all get overwhelmed, and we all need to stim, but some also got the stim toys banned by misusing them. 

The teachers? No, they are trying to teach, and having a class full of kids throwing things won’t help. 

The truth is there is no one person to blame. Instead, we have to blame the system. Our school system was established April 23, 1635, and was built on the thought that children should sit still and quiet all day to learn. Now it’s March 12, 2021, and we are still going on that belief. 

Well, yes, younger students in elementary schools are allowed to move around more and have more freedoms, High school students are still expected to sit down and shut up for eight hours a day. 

This isn’t right. Multiple studies done by behavioral psychiatrists have proven that to achieve a proper education, students need to be free to self stimulate during class. This means that we need to stop punishing students for “looking like they aren’t listening.” Many people never look like they are listening including teachers and students, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t. 

There is no one way to listen, so punishing students for “looking wrong” during class is feeding into a 386-year-old system made by people who didn’t even have psychology. 

You shouldn’t need a diagnosis to stim in class or to have access to stim toys, especially during this pandemic when we are all dealing with so much crap we need to be better as a school system and pay attention to mental health by removing the ban on fidget toys, and instead take steps to prevent misuse. It is essential that we make school easier in any way we can during these hard times. 

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