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Fidget spinners flying off shelves, more than a toy to some

ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind. -

Local stores can’t keep them in stock, and it seems like every kid has one in hand. But the most talked about toy of the moment, isn’t just a toy for some.

While the fidget spinner didn’t become popular until recently, it was created years ago to help kids with autism, anxiety, and ADHD.

“Right now this is what everybody wants. We have been selling a lot of them. We can’t keep them in stock. It seems like every time we get them in stock they are gone,” says Donald Willman, manager of Imagine That! In Mishawaka.

Willman says they’ve sold thousands of fidget spinners in the last couple of months.

“They are a phenomenon that hit. It’s just unbelievable that kids have caught on to them,” says Willman.

One of those kids is 10-year-old Elijah Coker of Mishawaka.

“It helps me stay focused in class when I’m off track looking out the doors and out the windows and stuff, I just play with this and it keeps me occupied and all my friends have it so I think that it’s cool,” says Elijah.

Fidget gadgets are often used by kids with autism, anxiety or attention disorders to help them focus.

Stephanie Proudfoot, a behavior analyst with the Logan Center in South Bend, says they work well for people who might need more stimulation than others to concentrate.

“They can really help you regulate those senses so you can really focus better on whatever it is you’re doing, whether it’s to calm you down enough to focus on your work or to keep you awake,” says Proudfoot.

Some school districts in the country have banned the toy from classrooms, saying it’s more distracting than helpful.

Proudfoot says it really depends on the child and their needs.

“I would say to a parent just keep monitoring your child’s behavior and their performance in class. If it’s obvious that its becoming too distracting than you may want to look into some other alternatives. I actually find it very useful for building socialization and reaching out to peers and talking about these things together and sharing that experience,” says Proudfoot.

We checked in with local school districts School City of Mishawaka, Penn--Harris-Madison School, and South Bend Community Schools. None of them have banned the tool, but it's up to the teacher to decide if it becomes to distracting in the classroom.

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