Children's Hospitals Today - Fall 2017 - 8

ROUNDS / COMMENTARY

Distraction therapy
Fidget spinners are a hugely popular toy, but do
they have therapeutic benefits?
BY BELA SOOD, M.D.

F

idget spinner has quickly become a household term-
you probably have one or more of these little gadgets in
your home. In case you've been out of the loop, a fidget spinner is a small, non-digital device with a ball-bearing that allows the user to rotate the device between his or her fingers.
The idea behind them is that they help kids stop fidgeting
and focus their attention on the task at hand.
Manufacturers have even promoted them as having
health benefits for children with a variety of conditions,
including ADHD. But do they? I call it the "smart phone
phenomenon." Kids become so focused on these gadgets to
the detriment of everything else.
In theory, fidget spinners provide an outlet for motor overflow, but in reality, not enough research has been conducted
to examine if they truly provide benefit for children with
ADHD. One thing is for certain: Fidget spinners have gained
a great following, in part because they're fun to use, and the
toy industry has been successful in making parents feel like
they need to get them for their children. On the other hand,
the educational setting has seen quite a bit of controversy
over this craze.
Generally with ADHD, or any other condition with a mental
health impact, we work with schools to provide accommodations. A structured way to do this is to allow children with
hyperactivity to get up and move around every 10 minutes in a
useful manner. Make them the teacher's helper and have them
take things from one place in the classroom to another. Fidget
spinners are the latest in what I call "community trends," and
school leaders are being forced to make a determination on

DATA DIVE

 If fidget spinners are used in the classroom as a
therapeutic tool, are they actually contributing to
improvements in performance?
 Which children in particular benefit from them? Are they
the only ones who should use them?
 Are fidget spinners distracting the users and other
students more than they're helping?
 Should they be allowed only during certain times
throughout the school day?
Due to the lack of research in this area, fidget spinners should
be used with a very limited population for therapeutic purposes at this point. For the general population, it's a toy and
families should treat it as such with regard to access and how
much time they allow their children to use it.
Not all brains respond to the same things in the same
manner. There may be a time and place for the fidget spinner, but if it is to have staying power, it will have to go
through scientific investigation.
Bela Sood, M.D., is a child and adolescent psychiatrist and
ADHD expert with Children's Hospital of Richmond's Virginia
Treatment Center for Children. This was originally published
at advancingchildrenshealth.org.
Share your opinion. Email magazine@childrenshospitals.org.

Leading causes of data breaches

BREACHES ON THE RISE

The number of U.S. data breaches tracked
through the end of June hit a half-year
record high of 791 incidents-a jump of 29
percent since 2016. The business sector
topped the list with the most breaches,
followed by the health care/medical
industry, education, banking/credit/financial
industry and the government/military.

how to deal with them. These leaders are faced with what
seems like an endless stream of questions, including:

Hacking (phishing, ransomware, malware and skimming)
Employee error or negligence

63%

9%
6%

Accidental web or internet exposure

Sources: Identity Theft Resource Center and CyberScout

8

CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL S TODAY Fall 2017


http://www.advancingchildrenshealth.org

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