SPONSORED: Mom Creates Products to Help 'Fidgety' Students - MetroFamily Magazine
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SPONSORED: Mom Creates Products to Help ‘Fidgety’ Students

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With school right around the corner, Kari Rains worried how her soon-to-be third grade son, Nick, would manage in the classroom. As a student with ADHD and sensory processing issues, Nick had a propensity to be easily distracted. Through a conversation with her friend and colleague Dr. Jane Humphries, an adjunct professor at several Oklahoma City area universities, an idea was born. That idea soon became a reality with her company, Creative Educational Strategies & Services and the development of Fiddle Focus® products. 

The Oklahoma-owned company provides products, training and resources for educators, parents, administrators and caregivers working or living with children, particularly those with special needs. The products were created to assist children who struggle with social and emotional regulation.

Kayden Murphy is an 11 year old who suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) at age 7. Her TBI caused her to have double vision, letter and word blindness, making school work difficult. Her anxiety level also went up due to this learning disability at school. Kayden's mom purchased the Fiddle Focus Busy Fingers and a package of BOINKS Fidgets and the products helped calm her anxiety in the classroom. Kayden has been using the products for a few years now and loves how they can calm her anxious mind during school and testing. Her mom reports these products have made a big difference for her family. (Watch a video of Kayden at p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 8.0px 0.0px; font: 11.0px ‘Trebuchet MS’; color: #000000; -webkit-text-stroke: #000000} span.s1 {font-kerning: none} https://youtu.be/doZQNl4BMMA.)

“Children specifically with this sensory sensitivity have a difficult time focusing on tasks or stopping themselves because they just have to touch and feel,” Dr. Humphries said. “Sensory processing goes back to a neurological process. If you think about it, we are all seeking something from the environment all of the time."

“Because it involves the neurological process, and the brain is constantly gathering sensory information, by fiddling, this helps a child's brain to organize the information being given to them, and that helps them to respond and enhances their learning,” she said.

Dr. Humphries’ mother created the first of what would become several products the company now offers through its website, fiddlefocus.com. The advantage for children dealing with sensory processing or other “fidgety” behaviors is that these products, along with others that have been carefully selected, are quiet and discreet. This has been found to be an advantage for teachers who have tried to find ways to curb pencil and foot tapping in the classroom.

“Made with a multitude of touch and textures, these products are small enough to be carried and used when a child feels overwhelmed, or located in a space for the child to access, such as a school desk,” Dr. Humphries said. “‘Busy’ children love the products because they are able to ‘fiddle’ while still learning, without distracting other students, and are much more productive in the classroom or home environment. Whether children are on the autism spectrum, ADD/ADHD, have sensory processing issues or those that are typically developing learners that must move and touch, use of the Fiddle Focus® products and other featured items within the Creative Educational Strategies & Services online store has made a great impact.”

The Fiddle Focus® for Busy Hands and Busy Fingers are made in Oklahoma by a family-owned business—another important aspect to Humphries in keeping it “Made in the USA.” But she had no idea a product made for one young boy would take off as it has. As Nick finished his 5th grade year this spring, his Fiddle Focus® for Busy Fingers was still tucked away under his desk or in his backpack as he moved from room to room. 

Humphries and Rains have since spoken at numerous conferences across the United States, attending trade shows and promoting the product. To their delight the products won a Teacher Trendsetter Product Award in February 2015 as one of the Top 10 Products chosen by educators at the ED Expo Trade Show in Atlanta, Georgia. In March 2015, they were awarded the AblePlay Great Finds seals which provides specific star ratings in the areas of cognitive, sensory, physical, social/emotional and communicative benefits. This was followed by the products becoming GEI Endorsed. GEI recognizes the very best in classroom-tested, teacher-approved learning products using a vigorous assessment process. Products bearing the GEI Seal of Endorsement have earned the distinction for improving learning and the learning environment. Through the certification process both products were endorsed for helping children maintain focus and attention while not disturbing others.  

Recently, the company received notice that their products had been named as a 2016 Family Choice Award. This award recognizes the best in children’s and parenting products. 

“This success was not on the radar screen at all,” Humphries said. “I really thought it would just help a child in school, that’s really where it all started.” 


Fiddle Focus® products are available online at www.fiddlefocus.com.

What others are saying about Fiddle Focus® products:

“Just found a new fidget tool that is discrete and fabulous. It goes under the child’s desk for busy fingers and has different textures for them to fidget with as they use their brain to learn. The BOINKS® finger fidget would work well as a fidget too. My rules for fidget tools are (a) one handed, (b) quiet, (c) stays with student, and (d) helps student pay attention. Both of these tools would fit all four categories quite nicely.” –Dr. Laura Riffel/Behavior Doctor Seminars 

“We have a busy 3 year old at our center. We decided to give him a Fiddle Focus® for Busy Hands. He was immediately engaged and carried it around with him. When he started to get upset, we would suggest he get his Busy Hands (out of his cubby). A few days later, we were all amazed that he sat with the Busy Hands at the table and put a simple puzzle together. Every piece touched the Busy Hands and then he rubbed his face with the Busy Hands. The mom paid us the cost of the product and it is now his all the time.” –Director/Child Care Program  

“We purchased a Fiddle Focus® for Busy Fingers with BOINKS® Fidget™ 3-Pack for our daughter and she loves her products from you. She tells us that it helps her by squeezing and feeling the different textures when she’s stressed. She likes to squeeze it when she gets over stimulated due to class noise, the lights in the room and other issues that sometimes arise in a classroom environment. Thank you!” –Mother of a Third Grader

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