Fidget spinners causing controversy in schools

'It makes me keep my cool,' says student with ADHD

LAURELDALE, Pa. - One of the hottest toys among teenagers right now is the fidget spinner. Some praise the spinning handheld toy for helping relieve stress and anxiety, while some schools are banning them.

Olenzo Valentin, a student at Muhlenberg Middle School in Laureldale, walked home with his spinner in hand Tuesday afternoon.

"They're fun," he told 69 News.

"I ended up buying one for him," said Carol Santiago, Valentin's mom.

Santiago went for it after her son told her he'd used one in school.

"It helped him focus for that day," Santiago said.

Valentin is diagnosed with ADHD.

The fidget spinner is advertised as helping with stress relief, attention disorders, autism and anxiety.

Counselor AJ Moczydlowski, who works with teens and children, said he keeps the spinners in his office, along with stress balls and other gadgets.

"People are claiming it helps relieve anxiety, tension problems, impulsivity," Moczydlowski said.

Sometimes, he said, the subtle distraction does allow children to open up in his office, but he's not sure there's strong proof that the toy does what some claim it can do.

"I think it's important to note, as of now, there is no actual research or data that really supports that these fulfill the claims people say they do," Moczydlowski said.

Some call the toys a distraction, even leading some schools to ban them without a doctor's note.

Valentin said he believes some students may say the toys help them in school as an excuse to have them.

"I'm not gonna say I think it's gonna help me learn. I'm gonna say it makes me keep my cool, and it's fun," he said.

But Valentin added that being able to keep his emotions in check does help him focus better on his school work.

"It makes me not get aggravated with the problem if I don't understand the problem. It makes me calm down," Valentin said.

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