This post originally started as a Facebook status, but apparently I had more to say on the subject to qualify as a status.
I decided to weigh in on the “Spinner” situation, given I do have the professional authority to speak on behalf of distracted children; I was distracted long before it was given a big fancy name, and before anybody actually cared about it.
The Spinner is actually going to create distraction when used in class. Kids who aren’t generally distracted will lose focus on the lesson in front of them, paying attention to what their Spinners are doing. Kids will be developing tricks and trying to one up each other, when they should be paying attention. Weren’t cell phones / devices taken away for this exact reason?
As for those of us who are already distracted (and demand an audience)…puhlease…this thing would only act as a prop for my distraction. As for the distracted introvert, this is only going to keep their mind focused on anything but learning. At least if you aren’t fully focused on something else, you can still absorb some of the material being taught. I always picked up a nugget or two of information while I doodled or did my own thing, sometimes I would even incorporate it into my act. Besides, It does the same thing over and over. That sounds exciting! I already have 0 excitement for being in a class, taking notes and being quiet, so unless this thing hypnotizes me into thinking I am frozen, it’s not going to offer any positive benefit to distracted children or those around them.
As for the argument that it can help treat anxiety. It’s not treating anything. It’s creating a crutch. What happens when that crutch is missing? More anxiety! Anxiety is beaten by teaching the brain that the things we fear aren’t actually scary and the feelings created by panic are natural, and there is nothing about them to fear; they are actually your bodies protection response system (fight or flight) talking out of turn. Learn not to be bothered by the sensations and feelings of panic, and you essentially defeat the anxiety itself. You look to it and laugh, do your best…I will no longer held captive!
Three words, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.