IGNIS Summer 2017 - Page 8

To Fidget, or Not to Fidg The current trend for hand-held fidget toys – spinners, cubes, spiky or foam balls, putty etc. – has focused a spotlight on the world of attention needs and sensory processing problems. For some people, these fidget toys are an essential tool to help them function, for others they are a fun toy and a distraction that has annoyed teachers to the point of banning fidget spinners in their schools. 8 IGNIS There are several theories about why we fidget. Research shows that one major reason we fidget is as a coping mechanism to self-regulate sensory needs. Life bombards you with sights, sounds, textures, tastes and smells. Some days you just can’t ignore the scratchy feeling of a label in your clothing, the flicker of fluorescent lighting, the smell of coff ee. You reject food because of its texture or look, or can’t cope with your friend’s favourite ringtone. Many people develop fidgeting mechanisms for sensory overload without realising