Fidget Objects

The Strategy

Fidget objects are small tools designed to increase stimulation by means of increased movement of the hands. They may come in the form of objects such as fidget spinners, stress balls, cubes, poppers, etc.

  1. Identify periods of the day that the student has difficulty remaining on task or exhibits signs of restlessness (e.g., fidgeting; getting up a lot).
  2. Give the student the fidget object during these periods and discuss the rules associated with using the object. This should include a review of the type of object that is acceptable, when the object can be used, and expectations for the student during use of the fidget object (e.g., object must remain in hands or desk, not thrown or given to others). Provide feedback for appropriate/inappropriate use of the fidget object, and remove the object if being used inappropriately.
  3. Use Beacon progress monitoring tools to evaluate the extent to which this strategy is improving the target behaviors as intended.

  • Ensure the fidget objects is serving solely the intended purpose. Items such as handheld games or toys may provide something to fidget with, but may also be reinforcing because of their entertainment value. The object should not further distract the student from the academic material.
  • You may need to explain to other students why this student is allowed to have this object. Teachers can talk to their class about how all students have strengths and areas where they may need assistance. For example, some students need glasses to help them read, other students may need a behavior plan to help them follow rules. Some students may perform better when they can release energy through a fidget object. Thus, some students in our class will have this. Other students should try to ignore the object or tell the teacher if use of the object is bothersome.
  • If the student is becoming more distracted by the fidget object or by peer’s reactions to it, this strategy may not be the best option. Continue to monitor progress as you implement this change and adjust accordingly.

Because fidget spinners or fidget toys do not effectively build skills students need to independently meet age-appropriate expectations, it cannot be evaluated for effectiveness. The intended goal of using fidget toys is to give a student an outlet for their energy that is not disruptive to the class. However, there is evidence that suggest that the use of some of these tools may actually worsen the problem it is intended to help. Specifically, these items can provide additional distractions for the targeted student as well as their peers. Given that it is unlikely to be helpful and may be harmful, these strategies are discouraged.

Intervention Scorecard

This intervention is recommended for the following presenting problems.

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Other suitable presenting problems