My Take on the Spinner

I remember the “must-have toys” back in my day were the hula hoop, mood rings, and the slinky, to name a few.  I remember the cabbage patch doll rage when my nieces and nephew were in school.  Then, there is the Pokemon phase which as far as I know hasn’t faded yet.

It seems a new toy fad has appeared.  Amazingly, with all the super-tech toys on the store shelves, the new “must-have” toy is a simple one.   All it can do is “spin”.  Beats me as to why a spinning toy has spun so many fans.

It is so popular it has its own Wikipedia page.  According to the page, the spinner is a type of stress-relieving toy. A basic fidget spinner consists of a bearing in the center of a design made from any of a variety of materials including brass, stainless steel, titanium, copper, and plastic.  It has been advertised as helping people who have trouble with focusing or fidgeting (such as those with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Autism, or Anxiety Disorder) by acting as a release mechanism for nervous energy or psychological stress. Experts were divided on this claim, with some supporting it while others disputed its scientific basis and argued the toy may actually be more distracting.

It can be debated as to whether it lives up to its stress-relieving application, but there’s no doubt the spinner is an eyesore to school staff.  I work in that environment as a substitute teacher’s aide.  Teachers don’t mind their students having such, but do object to having to compete with a spinner for their attention.

I am a member of two groups it is advertised as supposedly aiming to help.  I have both Autism and Anxiety Disorder.  I first bought a fidget cube, the spinner’s cousin, to see if the cube would help me with focusing and fidgeting.  Since it cost me more to have it mailed than its price, it was a small investment.  I was delighted the cube lived up to its billing.  I fidget away with it while at home.  I keep the cube in my pocket at work and fidget as needed.  Since it is easy to hide, I can fidget away with no one catching me in the act.

It is a common Autism trait to be more attached to things instead of people.  Well, I have become attached to my cube like I am attached to my favorite pillow and faded jeans.  After becoming attached to the cube, I had the urge to purchase a spinner too.  I reckon “fidget toys” is a new one to add to my list of obsessive interests.

As of this writing, I have had a spinner for two weeks.  It has earned a place on my list of favorite things.  I take it with when I go walking at the park, or fidget with it while I am jogging in place in my room or while staring at my computer screen with a case of writer’s block.

As far as the cube and spinner being distractions, that’s not a problem for me.  My Autism strength is being routine-oriented.  There isn’t a toy invented that will distract me from my chores or get in the way of following my daily routine.  I’m a “work first, play later” person.

In conclusion, I’m a fidget spinner fan.  It’s only because I have an uncontrollable need to fidget that I bought it.  The spinner isn’t for everybody.  I showed my spinner to a handful of students I work with who are on the spectrum and judging from their reactions, they gave it a thumbs down.  Some find it an annoyance or a distraction, but it is a soothing treasure for me.





My Dear Cube

I can click on it as if it was a pen.  I can glide on it as if it was a joystick.  I can flip on it as if it were a light switch.  I can roll on it as if it were a combination lock.  I can rub on it as if it were a rubber ducky.  It is my fidget cube.

It is the newest gadget to my growing herd of gadgets.  Some people on the spectrum collect stamps, rock, calendars, etc.; I collect gadgets.  One of my favorite stores is the utopia of gadget merchandise:  “As Seen on TV”.  Most of their products I haven’t seen on TV but that’s beside the point.  Some gadgets are practical and some are strictly for fun.  My newest gadget is a fidget cube that is both a toy and a practical tool for my autistic need to fidget to focus.

My first sighting of this cube was a Facebook (FB) ad.  I don’t usually pay attention to ads on (FB) any more than I do on the TV tube, but this ad caught my eye because it claimed to be helpful to those with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Autism.  Since I’m on the spectrum and I do fidget, I clicked on the picture to learn more about this cube.  I got hooked, lined, and sinkered into ordering one from Amazon.  I was dismayed that it took an entire month before I’d get my hands on one.  It was like back in the day when I waited for Santa.

The cube is selling like hot cakes along with its cousin, the fidget spinner.  My grandniece introduced me to the spinner and she wouldn’t sell it to me. HA! So I had to continue to wait for the cube.

Its ad claimed a total of six sensory tools on all its six sides: an on/off- switch resembling a light switch, gears, a rolling ball, a small joystick, a spinning disc, a rubbing pad, and depressible buttons.  All of these fidgeting options on one cube!  Since it can easily fit in my pocket, I can twiddle with the cube without public knowledge.

I have had the cube a few months now.  It has lived up to its billing in the FB ad.  I keep it with me pretty much all the time except I don’t take it to bed with me.  I take it to school with me and fidget as needed in my pocket.  It helps keep me cool, calm and collected when in the midst of chaos such as in the school gym/playground where 30-something or more sets of lungs or going off.

When I go for walks or jog in place, I take it along and click on its buttons creating a rhythm to step or jog to.  Or, use it to count steps as I’m walking or jogging.  While I am at a desk in writing mode, I will fiddle with the cube when needing a “brain break.”

I never thought I’d be attached to a cube but that’s the kick about life.  It has its surprises.  Sometimes those surprises come in small packages.  With living on the autism spectrum, I’m open-minded to any gadget or app that can lighten the sensory load.  With all the options on the cube, I just may give up my other fidgeting activities such as stretching a rubber band, playing with a paper clip or biting my fingernails.