In recent months, fidget devices, most notably the fidget spinner, have taken the worldwide web by storm. I’ve seen everything from fidget spinner phone cases to edible pizza fidget spinners. Suddenly, everyone has one. Or has eaten one for lunch because you can do that. Or are joking that they are the new currency of millennials, along with avocados. (That’s actually pretty pathetic.)
Before fidgets became so popular, I remember a couple of my friends on the autism spectrum, who have ADD/ADHD, or OCPD, expressed interest in these devices or were open about using them. That’s how I first heard of them.
In general, fidget devices are said to be beneficial to people who have trouble focusing, or are compelled to do repetitive things that happen to irritate those around them, like kicking table legs or clicking pens. Fidget devices, being small and quiet, are way less disruptive, but they help to relieve that urge to repetitively do something.
Basically, fidgets are, among other things, therapeutic, therapy devices for people with special needs. As far as I know, I think that’s how they started out.
I really shouldn’t get offended on behalf of communities I’m not part of, especially if they don’t seem to care. Others look very silly and ignorant when they do that. But I can’t help but question why “regular” people without special needs are using fidgets like toys now. Is being a member of the ADD Generation an automatic license to fidget? (Now I really want to see a poster of that James Bond movie where his gun is replaced with a fidget spinner but I’m too lazy to make one, titled License to Fidget.)
To be honest, selling fidgets as toys for the masses feels to me a bit like encouraging able-bodied people to take the motorized shopping carts for a spin through the grocery store when they’re doing their shopping, when there are disabled people who actually need these special carts. If that became a fad, wouldn’t you be disconcerted too?
For the most part, I’m not an advocate of restricting the use of a culture/group-specific element from people outside those communities. If “regular” people have discovered that fidgets are helpful or therapeutic or simply really fun to play with, I’m not going to stop them from consuming these devices. It’s true, they’re toyetic and mass-producable, but they’re more than just toys. I don’t want the world to lose sight of that.