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Fidgets are Tools- Graphic Edition

A few important thoughts about Fidgets are Tools- Graphic Edition.

  1. This version is designed to help support individuals who are non-speaking symbolic communicators and also those that that are not yet using symbols to communicate consistently, for example, emergent AAC users.  
  2. There are an array of tools in this edition.  The first is a basic framework for you as the partner to keep in mind when introducing fidgets to AAC users or emergent AAC users.  It can be used with individuals to support their use of fidgets and their ability to reflect on the effectiveness of various fidgets in the moment, once the person is familiar with “Fidgets are Tools.”
  3. The following pages provide further detail on the concepts within “Fidgets are Tools”:  
    • A concept web of fidget options.  There is a blank box so that any number of options can be added. This can be used to introduce the idea that there are many different types of fidgets.
    • A concept web of Fidget FeelZzz vocabulary.  This can be used by individuals to comment on their experience with a fidget.  If the individual is not yet using symbols to communicate, but their reaction seems clear to a partner, the partner might model the use of the board, e.g., “It looks like your energy ‘powered up when you did that.’”
    • A deck of Fidget FeelZzz cards. These can be printed and used in the same way as the web above.  Some will find this arrangement of the vocabulary more useful.
    • Three regulatory scales from the ‘Fidgets are Tools Regulator.’ Each one of these scales focuses on a different concept for ease of introduction when supporting someone new to the concept of Fidgets are Tools.  The scales are: 1.) How it changes my energy?, 2.) Does it help me focus?, and 3.) Do I like it?. The fidget column is left blank intentionally.  You can either show the actual fidget / object or place a graphic of it on the scale. 
    • A combined graphic version of the Fidgets are Tools Regulator. The fidget column is intentionally left blank.  See above.
  4. If the person being supported is dysregulated by the graphics, they should not be used.  The graphics are meant to increase access and promote learning.  If they do not do those things, supportive partners can use the concepts to guide fidget use without the graphic representation.

In addition, we’ve included some standard “gos’ and “nos’ for partners to heed when they are introducing Fidgets as tools to neurodivergent individuals.  They are on the first of the 7 pages.  Don’t skip them.   Highlights?

  1. You have to teach fidget use.  
  2. Different people use fidgets differently.  
  3. Sitting quietly does not equate to active engagement.
  4. A fidget that works one day to support engagement, may not work the next day.