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Fidget spinners much more than just a toy for Utah family

Fidget spinners much more than just a toy for Utah family. (KUTV)
Fidget spinners much more than just a toy for Utah family. (KUTV)
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(KUTV) Have you heard of them?

Fidget spinners are the latest toy craze, taking over tweens and more in 2017. Forbes named the fidget spinner the hottest office toy of the new year, while educators are now weighing the benefits of these spinning gadgets against the possible distraction the tiny toys can cause in the classroom. Online there are tutorials and tricks, but for one family in northern Utah, it's not just fun and games.

The Cottles say fidget spinners have changed their lives for the better.

"It calms me down when I get stressed out," Kylee Cottle, 10, said Friday from inside the library at her school, the Spectrum Academy Charter School in North Salt Lake.

She said they are soothing and fun and help break the ice when in situations that could typically cause her panic attacks.

"Sometimes I'll have my fidget spinner and I'll see someone and they'll ask about it and we just start up a conversation," she said.

Her mom said Kylee suffers from anxiety and has seen a lot of relief using fidget spinners. Kylee's brother Chase, 12, is also an avid fidget spinner user and his mother says it has helped immensely.

"It's very calming to me when I'm at home and he's at school, because I know he's able to focus a little bit better," Janel Cottle said.

Chase, who is on the autism spectrum, said he had tried multiple devices and gadgets to try and help soothe him and keep his hands occupied, allowing his mind to focus. He said this is the first thing that really worked for him.

"It's really quiet. Its helpful and it's just fun to play around with," he said.

The Cottles said they wanted to help others in similar situations and decided to start their own Facebook page where they would only sell their favorites.

"We weren't actually quite honestly aware it was as big as it is when we started it," Janel Cottle said.

They've only been running their business for about a month and have already restocked with 500 in their latest shipment.

Kylee said friends are always approaching her asking about them. They ask about the colors and styles and she said it has been fun to be able to test them and share these with everyone.

"I hope it helps others like it has helped us because it really has been helpful," Chase said.

And while some schools aren't so sure about kids using their fidget spinners in class, at the Spectrum Academy they welcome it.

Director Brad Nelson said he is a fan of fidget spinners and sees it as an educational tool for his students.

"This has turned out to be such an incredible device because it has such a great appeal, so many different uses and angles and all these things going on at the same time. It helps them focus on their education, really - it's an educational tool, really," he said.

At their school, with 1,100 students on campuses in North Salt Lake and Pleasant Grove, he said students are often dealing with multiple challenges and are invited to use any sort of item that helps them focus.

"It might be looked at in the classroom as a distraction, but if you if you look at the individual, and if this is something that works for the individual as something calming - an accommodation that would help them focus - then I think it's something educators need to look at."

"I know there are teachers who are frustrated with it and there are those who love it, but if it is used appropriately, it can't be anything but a positive experience," Janel Cottle said.

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She added it has been very positive for her children and she is grateful they found this new tool.

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