Fidget Toys For Neurodivergent Individuals

Fidget Toys For Neurodivergent Individuals

Studies have time and again shown signs that there are correlations between fidgeting and levels of attention and focus, and that the effects of fidgeting often are more pronounced in neurodivergent individuals with conditions such as ADHD and Autism.

One reason for this, one might guess, is because neurodivergent people often have unique sensory and motor needs, and fidget toys can provide a way to meet those needs in a discreet and constructive way.

A 2018 study (da Câmara et al., 2018) of the types of distractions preferred by children showed that they preferred to use soft squishy objects when they were angry and clickable objects when they were bored.

A study from 2006 (Stalvey and Brasell, 2006), of children in the sixth grade showed that children who used a stress ball performed better in learning to write. A 2013 study (Farley et al., 2013) of ability to maintain focus during a 40-minute lecture found a positive relationship between fidgeting and greater ability to maintain knowledge.

Graphic showing the stimulatory properties of the ratchet ring

The reason that fidgeting and fidget toys can have such an effect on concentration is because of the stimulation that they create. This stimulation can come in many forms, but most common (and the most important) is the tactile (perceived by touch) and audible (perceived by sound).

This mindless stimulation can help keep one's mind focused on the primary task at hand, and prevent our thoughts from being carried away.

The minor stimulation that we get from fidget toys such as the Ratchet Ring essentially takes the mental space that would otherwise be occupied by fleeting thoughts, or day-dreaming.

graphic showing the effect on focus when working with the ratchet ring versus without it

A different benefit of fidget toys is that they can help manage restlessness by acting as a discreet outlet of energy. Restlessness can be seen in the likes of shaking legs, tapping pens, and other forms of body movements, which is something almost everyone can relate to, but can be more pronounced in neurodivergent individuals. 

Fidget toys come in all shapes and forms, but unfortunately they tend to be big, bulky, and loud. When crafting the Ratchet Ring, we took a different approach.

We wanted to create something that was inconspicuous, discreet, and could be used in a way that allowed them to control the amount of sound generated.

This is why the Ratchet Ring assumed a minimalist design, and looks like a normal ring to the world. Only the user knows that it is much more.

Additionally, the amount of sound produced by the Ratchet Ring can be controlled by the amount of force exerted on the ring, and the speed of which one turns it with.

We wanted it to be obvious that the Ratchet Ring would be James Bond's fidget toy of choice. 

All of this said, we want to add that this is not medical advice. While some qualitative research has been done on the subject of fidgeting and its correlation with focus, science does not yet have an answer to the ultimate question if fidgeting is an expression of a feeling or if it actually has effects on that feeling.

We believe, and our experience and user testimonials points to that this is in fact the case, but there isn’t enough research and data for us to say so with certainty. If you want to read what other users of the Ratchet Ring think about it, click here and scroll to the bottom of the page. 



Stalvey, S. and Brasell, H. (2006). Using Stress Balls to Focus the Attention of Sixth-Grade Learners. Journal of At-Risk Issues, 12, 2, 7-16. Suzanne B. da Câmara, Rakshit Agrawal, Katherine Isbister. (2018). Identifying Children's Fidget Object Preferences: Toward Exploring the Impacts of Fidgeting and Fidget-Friendly Tangibles DIS '18: Proceedings of the 2018 Designing Interactive Systems Conference. June 2018 Pages 301–311.

Back to blog