Tag Archives: autism

The joy of fidgeting: how fidget spinners took over the world

Do Fidget Spinners help Children Learn?

You see them everywhere, a colourful blur right across the country, wherever there are children. Where once it was marbles or loom bands or bottle flips, the fidget spinner has become the craze of 2017. But how did this toy, designed to help children who have issues with concentrating, become the go-to gadget of our times? And have we lost sight of what they’re really meant to be used for?

The classroom can be a daunting experience for some of us. A number of conditions, including Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), attachment behaviour disorder (ABD), and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), mean that it’s harder to be “ready to learn” than your peers.

While most children (and adults) find it possible, if not always desirable, to sit in silence and focus on one other person talking, for others it’s more of a challenge. The sensory deprivation can leave some of us feeling agitated, on edge, with nervous energy that’s hard to keep in check. In a classroom environment this can manifest itself in all kinds of (for the educator) unwanted behaviour which are (for the learner) an aid to concentration. From calling out and interrupting to flipping rulers on desks or folding paper, educators find that learners’ self-therapy can be distracting and take away from the flow of a lesson. So is there another way of coping?

The theory of fidget toys is simple: if you have difficulty concentrating, it gives you something to occupy your senses. The pleasant whirr of the spinner as its outer spokes whirl around the central hub creates a light vibration. Watching the spokes slowly come to a halt – they run on ceramic or steel bearings – is a strangely satisfying experience, as it takes just that little bit longer than your brain expects.

In a classroom environment it can be easy for an educator to mistake this behaviour for disruption, whereas it is in fact an expression of unfocused energy or repetitive behaviour that the child finds useful in order to concentrate and be ready to learn, particular when around others. While some children with special educational needs find it more stressful to be in a noisy classroom, others find the silent “teacher talk, you listen” sections of a lesson to be the most challenging.

Fidget toys provide an outlet for the energy these learners – adults as well as children – need to dissipate, in such a way as to be a minimal distraction for those around them, and teachers too. It allows a child to express their needs and be as stress-free as possible, without hindering the learning of others.

Educators, learning mentors, learning support assistants and play therapists will be familiar with “busy boxes” and sensory equipment for children who have special educational needs. Traditionally, sensory toys have been cobbled together from other toys and ordinary household items, for example – but the fidget spinner, and its cousin the fidget cube, were specifically designed to help learning.

Whether that means they are more effective than what professionals have been using for years is up for debate. And whether it’s more helpful to have fidget toys to be used in the classroom, rather than during specially timetabled sensory breaks, is another issue. But there’s no debating how popular these toys have become among all kinds of children – and their purpose has changed, from their original mission to all-round craze and, as we see them now, a phenomenon.

Now you can find not just three-pronged spinners but two and four-pronged specimins, glittering colours, even with LEDs to sparkle underneath a desk or in a dim room. And so have come the tricks that have elevated these toys from their purpose to something entirely different: as the hula hoop of our times. With that popularity has come cheap imitation, of course, leading to German authorities seizing millions of potentially lethal spinners and planning to crush them.

The prevalence of spinners has led to some schools banning them outright, and others making them disappear from the classroom, allowed during breaktimes. This policy, while understandable, might be a little hasty, since the benefits of these toys are not yet fully understood. As an educator, I have seen them being used effectively already with children who have additional learning needs, to give them something to keep their hands busy and their minds occupied during teacher input. So while it might be irritating to see that blur out of the corner of our eyes, it might be best to consider they really might have a positive value to learning after all.

 

New Greeper Thomas the Tank Engine Laces

Greeper Thoman the Tank Engine Laces

Greeper Laces and The National Autistic Society have teamed up to offer Thomas the Tank Engine Laces

Greeper Laces have recently launched a new collection of Thomas the Tank Engine laces to appeal to young fans of the hugely popular TV and book character. These new Thomas the Tank Engine Laces use  the same technology as all other products in their range but have the added bonus of raising money for charity and appealing even more to young wearers of Greepers.

The new Greeper Laces have been launched with The National Autistic Society and their launch coincides with the 70th birthday of the popular engine, who is a big hit with young children around the UK and beyond. Each pair of Greeper Thomas the Tank Engine Laces raises money for the National Autistic Society. They are popular with parents of children with Autistic Spectrum disorder but many other people too, as they offer independence to children with a range of motor disabilities.

Greeper Laces have previously featured in Your Autism Magazine and have a great relationship with the National Autistic Society so supporting their work through a new product is a positive move forward.

 Thomas the Tank Engine and Autism Spectrum Disorder

Thomas the Tank Engine Laces

Thomas The Tank Engine is 70

Research from the National Autistic Society, via a survey in 2001, found evidence to suggest the perceived ‘special relationship’ those with autism spectrum disorder have with Thomas the Tank Engine is common. It found that people with autism spectrum disorders relate more closely to Thomas than other characters. The research found that 57% children on the autism spectrum related to Thomas before any other children’s character.

With this in mind it is with great timing and due to research and understanding that Greeper made the move to launch their Thomas the Tank Engine laces.

Greeper Thomas the Tank Engine Laces

Greeper Thomas the Tank Engine Laces

Greeper Thomas the Tank Engine Laces

The Greeper Thomas the Tank Engine Laces are designed to provide a fun and appealing option for younger children. They work in the same way as regular Greeper laces. Once they are applied to the shoes, they never come undone and they have the appearance of regularly tied laces. They remove the need to always choose Velcro shoes, which can feel babyish and awkward for children as they get older.

Each pair of Thomas the Tank Engine laces is black and they measures 100cm, making them suitable for up to six pairs of eyelets in children’s shoe sizes. They feature a Thomas the Tank Engine toggle at the point laces would naturally be tied and ensures they are instantly recognisable for fans of the popular train.

How do Greeper Laces work?

Greeper Laces are designed to provide a no-nonsense way of wearing shoes that require laces, with no need to tie them by hand. They are designed to be easy to loosen or tighten without untying them or needing to fiddle with their design. This video from shows exactly how they are fitted:

Once in place there is no need to mess with the fitting and as the video shows, they can be tightened and loosened via the attached toggle, which in the case of the new special edition Thomas the Tank laces, features the little Thomas charm.

Who wears Greeper Laces?

Greeper Laces for Triathletes

Greeper Laces for Triathletes

As mentioned Greeper Laces are a great choice for anybody who has difficulties with their fine or gross motor skills but they are also worn by triathletes, and have received a Best Triathlon Laces Award by 220 Triathlon Magazine. Consumers voted for Greepers as the best choice due to the strength, their polyester construction and their innovative locking system.

Greeper Laces come in a wide range of different styles and colours to ensure there is a pair for everybody. There are specific sports and hikers laces as well as those designed for everyday wear. They come in both flat and regular styles to ensure the range provides something for every individual who needs or wants to wear them.

Greeper even provide the Greeper Assist. This allows for one-handed adjustment, ideal for individuals with a weaker side or with one hand. The products have been designed with the aim of providing an easy to wear and adjust solution. It means people can stop relying on others or only wearing Velcro shoes. Greepers allow people to choose their own shoes and not have to think about making sure they only choose the ones that are easiest to wear, without thinking about personal style preferences.

Thomas the Tank Engine Laces Available Now

Greeper laces with a thomas tank engine toggle

The new, limited edition Thomas the Tank Engine Greeper Laces are available now, Their fun design is bound to be popular with children up and down the country, as a chance to enjoy their favourite character and celebrate his 70th birthday, whilst also supporting the National Autistic Society.

Buy now! We have 50 pairs of these special laces. Postage to UK only.


How many pairs?



Buy with confidence, this site is owned by Trabasack. Postage will be by Royal Mail 1st class within 2 working days.

 

Greeper Laces featured in Your Autism Magazine

Greepers featured in Your Autism Magazine

An endorsement of Greepers shoelaces has appeared in Your Autism Magazine. A brand new review of a top product for children with autism.

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Your Autism Magazine

At Living with Disability we have some products we consider our absolute favourites. One of these is Greepers shoelaces. This innovative product range should be celebrated and that’s why we’re glad to see them featured in Your Autism Magazine. We believe in this product and we’re glad to see others do.

Greeper Shoelaces for Autism

Greepers Laces Review

Greepers Laces Review

Your Autism Magazine is the quarterly publication of The National Autistic Society for their members. Their latest issue includes a fantastic, helpful review of Greepers. We firmly agree they are a great investment for children and even adults living with an Autistic Spectrum Disorder.

Your Autimsn Magazine’s review shows off the funky red Greepers Laces but the range is much wider than that. All colours from black to purple to neon green are available. Wearers can match their laces to their personality or simply choose those that complement their outfit best.

The review in the magazine highlights how beneficial Greepers can be for children with autism. It explains that, “one parent said,these laces are absolutely invaluable, especially as my son – who has autism – gets older. They mean we can choose any shoes he likes and can be confident that he can manage them.”

The review also says “Greeper is a special type of shoelace, it looks like a regular bow-type shoelace, but will never come undone. The laces are threaded through a central aperture with four stoppers positioned in strategic places. They can easily be loosened or tightened by the wearer or their parents”.

With glowing reviews it’s clear that Greepers are on the up. Hopefully this feature in Your Autism Magazine will further their uptake and widen their appeal.

Benefits of Greepers for Children

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Greepers Laces Full Page

Greepers Laces can be great for children who have difficulty getting to grips with regular laces. They appear identical so there’s no stigma and they give children with disabilities much-needed independence when choosing footwear.

Greepers are universal as the parent above said, they can be used with any shoes of your choosing. They’re also a great solution for children who have that annoying habit of repeatedly untying their shoes. With Greepers it simply isn’t possible.

Your morning routine rush will be halved as the stress of shoelaces is removed. They are a better option than Velcro or elastic-laced shoes as the level of support is much better. We’ve looked previously at the differences between Greepers and Elastic Laces and it is pretty clear which comes out on top.

We’re always pleased when one of our favourite brands receives media coverage. Therefore we are really happy for Greepers and their appearance in Your Autism Magazine.

These are fantastic I bought them for my son who is partially sighted and has Asperger’s syndrome so getting dressed can be tricky for him but tying laces impossible! Now I have found these he had more choice for shoes and trainers and these were for his beloved boots he wears to Uni all through the winter! Fantastic invention thank-you x

Recent feedback for Greepers Hikers Laces.

Inventor of Greeper Laces gets Facebook Feedback for how useful they are for children

Peter Greedy who originally invented Greepers for his own children, gets regular feedback from parents with children with autism.

Just got this note from a customer... "I just want to say that the product is a god send, I have ordered them for my son who has Autism and just can not get the hang of tying shoes laces. As he is tall for his age, he is now in Adult shoes sizes, even though he is primary school. I have been unable to find velcro PE trainers in his size and these laces now mean he will be able to do his own shoes at PE time, without the other children noticing he can not do his laces and he will now not need to have an adult help." Love it!

 

Having just posted the note below ,within about 10 mins I also got this note... "ps Just noticed your job title - fantastic invention - so thank you on behalf of all those like my son who have impaired motor skills and can't tie laces!" Feeling very appreciated!

Two customers giving great feedback today... "ps Just noticed your job title - fantastic invention - so thank you on behalf of all those like my son who have impaired motor skills and can't tie laces! "I just want to say that the product is a god send, I have ordered them for my son who has Autism and just can not get the hang of tying shoes laces. As he is tall for his age, he is now in Adult shoes sizes, even though he is primary school. I have been unable to find velcro PE trainers in his size and these laces now mean he will be able to do his own shoes at PE time, without the other children noticing he can not do his laces and he will now not need to have an adult help."

 

The wider appeal of Greeper Laces

As we have said before, the great thing about Greepers is that they are also used by top sports people, so children can emulate their heroes too! This month also saw Greepers worn by Lucy Gossage winning Ironman UK in a pair of purple ones! This is such a fab pic we had to share it here!

Athlete Lucy Gossage celebrates the winning of the Ironman UK competiton.

Lucy Gossage winning Ironman UK wearing a pair of purple greeper laces!

UPDATE: Greepers Still in the Lead Triathlon 220 Magazine

As we mentioned above, Greepers are the best laces for athletes and have just been recommended again in the 220 Triathlon Magazine’s new edition (April 2014). They have a feature “Race Day Kit” essentials and Greeper Laces are one of the chosen products and given the top rating and the award BEST ON TEST.

laces shown with toggle that keeps them tight

Greeper Laces in Triathalon 220 Magazine

'Race day kit' showing vairous products for triathletes

Greeper Review BEST on TEST feature in Triathalon 220 magazine

The review reads:

“We’ve tested Greeper Laces before and, despite fierce competition from French outfit Xtenex and their bobbly efforts, in our eyes – and on our feet – the UK product continues to lead the way.For those new to tri or 220, the traditional lacing system is replaced with a brilliant mechanism that requires no tying. Simply guide the Greeper through eyelets in reverse before clamping in place at the toe end via a miniature plastic connector. Back at the tongue end the ingenious toggle requires a gentle tug of its protruding loops to tighten. Pull the toggle to ease pressure.
Sprinkling your shoe with talc and a modicum of practice will have you T2-ing faster than ever before. But, more importantly, your foot feels secure – unlike other systems that can leave your foot slipping about like Bambi on ice.
Verdict: Still the leader of the triathlon lacing pack. 93%.”