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I Was Into Fidgeting Before It Was Cool

Move over, Big Pharma. There’s a new game in town: Big Fidget Spinner.

Apparently, someone finally figured out how to turn fidget toys into a five-hundred-million-dollar industry. And here we are, with major media organizations interviewing experts about whether fidget spinners are the “solution” to ADHD.

Fidget SpinnerThe good news is that for once I can claim to be an early adopter. You see, I was into fidgeting long before fidgeters became such a lucrative marketing demographic.

I fidgeted with all sorts of things. Pencils. Loose change. Gum. You see, this was back in the day, when you had to make your own fidget toys.

So I’m happy to see that fidgeting has gone mainstream. The more fidgeters, the better, if you ask me.

However, even though fidget spinners are marketed as possibly being able to help people with ADHD, I’m not sure the fidget toy fad has been accompanied by any real change in ADHD awareness, or any increase in tolerance toward fidgeting. For example, has there been any rise in the number of teachers who know that fidgeting helps students with ADHD concentrate, apparently more so than it helps other students?

In fact, the proliferation of fidget spinners has also created a backlash, a bizarre crackdown on fidgeting, with schools across the country banning fidget spinners. (Seriously, if you don’t believe me, just Google “fidget spinner crackdown” and see how many results come up.)

As for fidget toys themselves, I don’t have strong opinions either way. Fidget spinners are a luxury, not a necessity. A real fidgeter is resourceful – they can make do with what they have.

But the fidget toy craze is a good opportunity to spread awareness that fidgeting isn’t a nuisance for parents and teachers to eliminate. Fidgeting can be productive, and it can help children and adults concentrate, especially those with ADHD. Let’s do what we can to remind people of that, and maybe we can spread a more accepting attitude to fidgeting, a change in awareness that will stay around even after the last fidget spinner has spun off into the sunset.

Image: Flickr/Robert Couse-Baker

I Was Into Fidgeting Before It Was Cool

Neil Petersen

Neil Petersen writes regularly on education, learning disabilities and technology. He received his B.A. in 2014 and was diagnosed with ADHD at the beginning of his college studies. Neil also works for a music education non-profit and hopes to help create an education system that can better serve students with ADHD.

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APA Reference
Petersen, N. (2017). I Was Into Fidgeting Before It Was Cool. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 6, 2019, from


Last updated: 14 Jun 2017
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