Parents with ADHD kids know the struggle of dealing with mental health and behavioral issues. It can feel like navigating through an unending series of pains and emotions. But there are sensory solutions that can help calm the nervous system: fidget toys.
Trust me, these little gadgets can be your secret weapon in supporting your child's attention, mood, stress, and behavior. And guess what? Fidget toys can be a natural solution for ADHD, sensory processing disorder, and other clinical issues where children struggle with modulating sensory input.
Understanding ADHD and Sensory Processing Disorder
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, is like a whirlwind in your child's brain. This mental health disorder makes it challenging for kids to focus, stay still, and follow instructions. On the other hand, Sensory Processing Disorder, or SPD, is a condition where everyday sounds and sensations can feel like a cosmic explosion in your kid's brain.
Picture this: a bustling classroom filled with kids buzzing like energized bumblebees. You spot your child among them, bursting with energy like a bottle of shaken soda. Since your child also has SPD, you’re almost certain his brain is on fire, processing too much information all at once. This leads to sensory overload, anxiety, and often meltdown.
For kids with ADHD and SPD, focusing in class can be as challenging as hitting a bullseye blindfolded because they're constantly battling distractions. It’s common for their minds to wander off on fantastical adventures while the teacher rambles on about long division.
That’s how I remember Hannah, a young child whose days were filled with endless energy. Because of ADHD, she often struggled to focus and find inner calm. Little did she know that her journey to discovering a balanced state of mind would involve the support of her loving parents, fidget toys, therapists, and other natural solutions.
How Sensory Fidget Toys Help Kids Stay Calm and Focused
Sensory fidget toys can help transform chaos into calm. They can help kids with ADHD and sensory processing disorders conquer daily challenges and address their wandering minds by giving their nervous system the stimuli it craves.
A sensory fidget toy can help save a child on the verge of a meltdown by calming an overstimulated brain. With a squeeze here, a squish there, and a stretchy string to distract their worries, these toys become beacons of calmness. They provide tactile stimulation, engaging the senses and soothing restless bodies.
Sensory fidget toys come in different shapes, sizes, and textures, from the flippy chain and monkey noodles to the squishy toys. The right fidget toy can match your kid's sensory preference, catering to their unique sensory needs. Regardless of whether they are sensory seekers or sensory avoiders, fidget toys can provide input that regulates the brain and body.
But as many parents would ask, are these fidget toys safe? The simple answer is to tread cautiously. While these toys offer solace, parents must be mindful of potential issues like choking hazards. Inspect the parts and materials. Choose age-appropriate fidget toys that meet safety standards. We want our kids to play and explore without worry.
However, some may doubt the effectiveness of these simple toys, dismissing them as mere distractions. But here's the good news: research and countless success stories prove otherwise. Rohrberger (2011) suggested that fidget toys are an effective strategy for decreasing off-task behavior for some students with ADHD characteristics.
Occupational therapists, educators, and parents have embraced sensory fidget toys. They have become essential in helping children with ADHD and sensory processing disorders overcome obstacles and find their path to success.
Mental healthcare providers could assist children like Hannah in improving focus and managing their energy levels. Our Ridgefield clinic advocates natural solutions, such as neurofeedback, which trains the brainwaves to reach a state of balance. We use supplements like magnesium and devices like PEMF to support brain health and calm the nervous system.
The Benefits of Fidget Toys for ADHD Symptoms
Fidget toys are unassuming gadgets that have become the saving grace for kids, teens, or adults with ADHD. The best fidget toys for ADHD can do wonders for their restless minds and sensory needs. Here are more of their benefits:
1. Creates a Calming Effect
Fidget toys are the ultimate stress busters for kids with ADHD. It helps them stay cool and collected amidst distractions and hyperactivity by giving their CNS the right input. These toys are the perfect companions for hyperactive kids and make them ready to battle stress, anxiety, and other pesky ADHD symptoms that threaten their progress.
2. Enhances Focus
These little wonders work their magic by enhancing focus and attention by meeting sensory needs, making it easier for children with ADHD to concentrate in class and complete tasks. For kids with ADHD, staying on task can feel like walking a tightrope over a sea of distractions. Fidget toys swoop into the rescue, providing a discreet outlet for excess energy while settling the mind and body.
3. Serves as a Sensory Oasis
Many kids with ADHD struggle with attention because of sensory needs. Fidget toys offer a sensory feast for kids with ADHD. They provide sensory stimulation, like when they crave a touch or movement to soothe the senses. From the comforting softness of a stress ball to the satisfying click of an infinity cube, each fidget toy offers a unique sensory experience. It helps them regulate emotions and ease nervous energy.
4. Tames Pent-up Energy
Fidget toys channel excess energy in a safe and controlled manner, preventing restless behaviors. It allows kids with ADHD to release excess energy without disrupting the class. They provide a discreet way to channel nervous energy to get into a state of focus and productivity.
5. Improves Motor Skills
These toys are not just playthings. They also help develop fine motor skills. From manipulating small parts to gripping and squeezing, fidget toys give those little hands a workout while keeping the mind engaged.
6. Modulates Mood
Fidget toys have a remarkable ability to regulate emotions and support mood They provide comfort and relieve stress, irritation, and anxiety, helping kids with ADHD navigate big emotions and find their calm. These powerful tools decrease sensory stress and enhance the overall well-being of kids.
Going back to Hannah’s story, these benefits resonate with most of her needs. With the support of her parents and the guidance of therapists, Hannah's journey of self-discovery continued. She selected a colorful sensory fidget toy, a squishy ball with soft spikes, which she believed would provide tactile stimulation and help her stay focused. Her parents cheered her on, appreciating her determination and resilience.
Fidget Toys in the Classroom to Improve Focus and Reduce Stress
While young minds yearn to learn in the classroom, an ADHD child’s little body struggles to stay still. Fidget toys provide a solution that brings hope and relief to educators and parents of kids with ADHD.
It helps them reduce stress and improve focus stress in delightful ways. These tools can revolutionize the classroom experience, allowing learners to find their groove and unlock their potential.
Fidget toys can also be a teacher's ally. Educators create an inclusive and supportive classroom environment by offering students appropriate fidget tools. The small movements from fidget toys address restlessness, allowing a child to improve focus and attention in class (Aspiranti & Hulac, 2021). It's a win-win situation that fosters a harmonious space where everyone thrives.
Fidget toys are not just fads or the latest trend. They are a powerful tool for addressing the needs of children with ADHD and other neurodivergent conditions. It can help provide young learners with the best sensory toys that can be used daily in the classroom to create an environment where focus flourishes, stress decreases, and young minds truly come alive.
As for Hannah, her parents actively participated in her progress, attending therapy sessions and learning alongside her. They collaborated with therapists and teachers, exchanging insights and exploring natural solutions. Their dedication to Hannah's well-being and open-mindedness paved the way for a harmonious and supportive family dynamic.
Her parents became advocates for a holistic approach, combining fidget toys, natural therapy, neurofeedback, nutritional supplements, and innovative treatments like PEMF therapy. Hannah’s story reminds us that with dedication, open-mindedness, and a range of tools, we can empower ADHD children and help them unlock their full potential.
How to Choose the Best Fidget Toy for Your Child
When finding the perfect fidget toy for your child, here are some important points to consider. Remember, it's not about finding a quick fix. It's about discovering tools to make your child's ADHD journey smoother and brighter.
1. Consider the Child’s Sensory Needs
Each child has unique sensory needs, so pay attention to what sensory input your kid craves. Is it a distraction or improves attention? Do they seek tactile stimulation? Opt for squishy toys or stretchy strings. Are they drawn to visual stimuli? Fidget spinners or infinity cubes do the trick.
2. Find an Age-appropriate Toy
Keep your child's age in mind. Younger children may benefit from simpler toys like stress balls or fidget cubes, while older kids might enjoy the complexity of flippy chains or monkey noodles. The world of fidget toys has options for all ages, from the tiniest tots to the coolest teens!
3. Consult with an Occupational Therapist
Consult with occupational therapists who specialize in working with kids with ADHD. They possess a treasure trove of knowledge and can guide you toward the best fidget toy that promotes focus and fine motor skills development.
4. Safety First
Safety is paramount. Be aware of choking hazards and small parts. Opt for fidget toys for young children or those with sensory processing disorders. Keep your kids safe while they conquer the world of fidgeting!
5. Consider Personal Preferences
Remember, it's all about personal choices. Involve your child in the decision-making process. Take them on a fidget toy adventure, and let them explore the different shapes, colors, and textures. It's a great opportunity for them to discover the best fidget toy and connect to what actually improves attention.
6. Do Some Trial and Error
Don't be discouraged if the first fidget toy doesn't hit the mark. Finding the right fidget toy can be a trial-and-error process. Testing what improves attention is important. The perfect fidget toy for your child is out there, waiting to be discovered!
7. Embrace Variety
Don't limit yourself to just one type of fidget toy. There are many options to explore. Go for variety and indulge in the marvelous world of fidgeting possibilities for your kids. Students may even create a fidget toy that suits them best (Hansen et al., 2017).
Incorporating Fidget Toys into Therapy and Treatment Plans
In the realm of therapy, treatment options, or school accommodation plans for kids with ADHD and other neurodivergent conditions, incorporating fidget toys can be a game-changer. These seemingly simple gadgets can transform therapeutic sessions into moments of empowerment and progress.
Fidget toys like fidget spinners and fidget cubes are invaluable therapy tools. They create a safe and engaging space for children to express themselves, explore their sensory needs, and develop fine motor skills.
Therapy sessions can be overwhelming for children, especially those with ADHD or sensory processing disorder. Fidget toys offer a discreet and effective way to manage anxiety, reduce stress, and channel excess energy. These toys become therapeutic companions on the path to emotional well-being.
They become a bridge between the mind and body, allowing children to stay present and engaged in the therapeutic process. The benefits of fidget toys extend beyond therapy sessions as well, as they can be incorporated into daily routines to promote self-regulation and manage symptoms of ADHD.
It's not just the little ones who benefit from fidget toys. Teens and adults with ADHD or other attention disorders can also find solace in their discreet and versatile nature. They unlock new avenues of exploration, allowing therapists to engage with patients in innovative and interactive ways. By embracing the therapeutic potential of fidget toys, therapists open doors to breakthroughs and empower their clients to navigate the complexities of their minds confidently.
Unlocking your child’s full potential can be achieved through the BrainBehaviorResetTM Program. The program combines neuroscience and other holistic approaches to transform your child’s mental health. Expert behavior and mental health assessments plus neurofeedback training will empower your child to regain control over their thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. Say goodbye to limitations and hello to a life of renewed focus, improved mood, and enhanced cognitive abilities.
Parent Action Steps:
☐ Learn more about fidget toys, what they do, and how they can benefit your child.
☐ Find the best fidget toy that can improve your child’s attention.
☐ Explore neurofeedback, magnesium, PEMF, and other natural solutions to ADHD.
☐ Engage in therapy sessions to address behavior issues.
☐ Take our Solution Matcher to get science-backed solutions to help your child today.
☐ Answer the ADHD quiz to know if your child has ADHD or something else.
Aspiranti, K. B., & Hulac, D. M. (2021). Using Fidget Spinners to Improve On-Task Classroom Behavior for Students With ADHD. Behavior Analysis in Practice, 15(2). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40617-021-00588-2
Hansen, A. K., Hansen, E. R., Hall, T., Fixler, M., & Harlow, D. (2017). Fidgeting with Fabrication. Proceedings of the 7th Annual Conference on Creativity and Fabrication in Education. https://doi.org/10.1145/3141798.3141812
Rohrberger, A. (2011). The Efficacy of Fidget Toys in a School Setting for Children with Attention Difficulties and Hyperactivity. https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/217299391.pdf
Always remember… “Calm Brain, Happy Family™”
Disclaimer: This article is not intended to give health advice and it is recommended to consult with a physician before beginning any new wellness regime. *The effectiveness of diagnosis and treatment vary by patient and condition. Dr. Roseann Capanna-Hodge, LLC does not guarantee certain results.
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