What is a fidget spinner? How does it help kids with ADHD and Autism?

A fidget spinner is a toy that consists of a ball-bearing in the center of a multi-lobed flat structure made from metal or plastic designed to spin along its axis with little effort. Fidget spinners became popular toys in April 2017, although similar devices had been invented as early as 1993. The popularity of the toy among children and teenagers has led some schools to ban use of the spinners in class for being a distraction, while other schools have allowed the toy to be used discreetly.

The toy has been advertised as helping people who have trouble with focusing or fidgeting by relieving nervous energy or psychological stress. There are claims that a fidget spinner can be used to help calm people down who suffer from anxiety and other neurological disorders like ADHD and autism. However, as of May 2017, there is no scientific evidence that they are effective as a treatment for autism or ADHD.

With the rapid increase in the spinner's popularity in 2017, many children and teenagers began using it in school, and some schools also reported that kids were trading and selling the spinner toys.

As a result of their frequent use by schoolchildren, many school districts banned the toy. Some teachers argued that the spinners distracted students from their schoolwork. According to a survey conducted by Alexi Roy and published in May 2017, 32% of the largest 200 American public and private high schools had banned spinners on campus.

When fidget spinners rose in popularity in 2017, many publications in the popular press discussed the marketing claims made about them for people with ADHD, autism, or anxiety. However, there is no scientific evidence that fidget spinners are effective as a treatment for children with autism or ADHD.

Like all toy fads, fidget spinners will come and go, so it's important to remember two things: One, that fidget spinners had a real, productive purpose before they became a fad; and two, that they are part of a larger trend of fidget gadgets that also has more mature followers
Products like fidget cubes are also seeing a surge in demand. These cubes look like very large dice and have different "functions" on each side that can be pressed, flicked or clicked to relieve nervous energy. They are often marketed to adults as well as children.