Fidget Spinners and ADHD – What Does the Research Say?

Fidget Spinners and ADHD - What Does the Research Say?Fidget Spinners and ADHD – What Does the Research Say?

Do you have students who are still crazy about fidget spinners?  Perhaps you have teachers asking what is the benefit to the fidget spinners?  Or maybe you have teachers ready to take the fidget spinners and throw them in the garbage!  The Journal of Attention Disorders published research to determine how fidget spinners affect children with ADHD.  More specifically, the researchers looked at the extent to which fidget spinners (a) increase gross motor activity, (b) improve children’s behavioral and attentional functioning in class, and (c) distract other children in class.  Sixty children diagnosed with ADHD participated in the study on fidget spinners and ADHD.

Children from different classrooms wore accelerometers and were videotaped for 5 min and attentional data was coded.  In addition to the use of fidget spinners the students also participated in an intensive, evidence-based, multimodal behavior modification program for children with ADHD and related problems. The results of the study on fidget spinners and ADHD indicated the following:

  • the use of fidget spinners was associated with a decrease in activity levels only during the initial phase of treatment.
  • children’s use of fidget spinners was associated with poorer attention across both phases of treatment (children committed more than double the number of “attention” violations when using the fidget spinner compared with their baseline functioning).
  • use of fidget spinners did not appear to affect other children in the classroom.

The researchers concluded that fidget spinners negatively influence young children with ADHD’s attentional functioning, even in the context of an evidence-based classroom intervention.

Put your fidget spinners to better use with these fun printables to get kids moving during a brain break or anytime:

Fidget Spinner Yoga

Fidget Spinner Workout

Read more on increasing attention span:

10 Sensory Quick Fixes to Increase Attention Span

Auditory and Visual Attention in Children with ADHD

Reference:  Graziano, P. A., Garcia, A. M., & Landis, T. D. (2018). To Fidget or Not to Fidget, That Is the Question: A Systematic Classroom Evaluation of Fidget Spinners Among Young Children With ADHD. Journal of Attention Disorders, 1087054718770009.

Do you need ideas to teach self-regulation skills to children?  Check out the Self Regulation Skills Curriculum.


Self- Regulation Skills Taught: This curriculum provides an effective, time-efficient structured system to provide classroom breaks, improve self-awareness and self advocacy and teach specific self-regulation skills so that kids have tools to use in their classrooms. This system will get kids moving, give them the benefits of a brain power boost [from getting their heart rate up], give them heavy work and isometrics to help them calm down, and help them learn techniques to quiet and control their bodies in order to return to their academic work.  FIND OUT MORE.

Fidget Spinners and ADHD - What Does the Research Say?