Kids fidget for a variety of reasons – that need for stimulation doesn’t change as they grow. If you have a tween with sensory needs or anxiety, check out online retailer Patti+Ricky. They carry fashionable, functional clothing, jewelry, and accessories for people of all abilities.
This post was sponsored by Patti+Ricky. I received three pieces of jewelry in exchange for an honest review.
A dozen years of parenting and there’s one thing I can say for certain: children have this crazy habit of growing up overnight.
I’m aware it sounds cliche, but the tiny baby they placed in my arms on the most unbelievable day of my life has become a young lady in the blink of an eye. She has conquered setbacks, created masterpieces, and generally set our world on fire.
Her road has not been an easy one: sensory processing disorder and giftedness have made the life most kids take for granted an exercise in tremendous effort.
- At three, she stymied her peers and frustrated adults with her tendency for immeasurable focus.
- At five, she walked into the classroom reading novels assigned in ninth grade.
- At six, she was the only kindergartener to experience intense, hour-long meltdowns on multiple occasions through the school day.
- At nine, she was arguing animal rights with co-op mentors and running headlong from the hybrid school doors.
Now my brave, beautiful daughter stands on the cusp of 12. She has learned to cope with sensory overload and found positive outlets for her multiple passions. She fits the very definition of the words a well-meaning school psychologist spoke years ago regarding her diagnosis:
“If you don’t know, you don’t know.”
But I know, and so does she.
Recognizing Differences And Learning (Once Again) to Cope
The tween years are a universal torture, but negotiating them with a neurological difference is a special kind of hell. My daughter’s giftedness makes her more observant and more focused on the nuances of human behavior. Her sensory processing disorder makes large social situations a challenge no matter how poised and mature she might seem.
My daughter is not alone. Tweens with SPD, ASD, anxiety and the like may have brains wired differently from the rest of the peers, but the desire to fit in remains strong. There are 6.7 million children with various special needs in the United States, and every single one of them is going to grow up. They all need age-appropriate, sophisticated tools to help them grow, develop, and cope with the challenges they are facing.
I was ecstatic to find ours at the beginning of the summer. My daughter now has a set of elegant fidget jewelry as beautiful as it is functional and fun.
Anxiety, Sensory Processing Disorder, and the Role of Fidget Jewelry
Kids fidget for all sorts of reasons. Some have a typical need for movement as a tool for learning; others have proprioceptive or emotional reasons for seeking physical stimuli. Either way, our current societal expectations and educational models tend to ignore this aspect of a child’s development. It can be a struggle for a typical kid on a good day.
For an exceptional child, it’s downright war.
As a variety of occupational therapists and experts in child development have argued, tactile sensation can assist children in ordering the body and the mind.
The hands can be very good regulators for attention and modulation in an environment…The concept of fidget toys is based on this, where children are seeking things to touch and feel, to provide the ‘just right’ amount of sensory input, to calm their nervous system.”
What’s more, fidget items, including toys and jewelry, “can help improve concentration and attention to tasks by allowing the brain to filter out the extra sensory information…a child may be able to better ‘filter out’ excess sensory information in their surroundings and their own body, which is causing distraction, and encouraging this sensory information to be focused on a toy in the hands.”
And here’s the kicker:
From a Sensory perspective, given how dominant the hand representation is to the body, it makes sense that the hands, with lots of neurological and sensory input, can be effective regulators of the body’s nervous system.
Fidgeting, then, is an excellent coping mechanism for kids who need assistance regulating the brain/body connection. But some of the standard options (bean bags, fidget spinners, fidget cubes, etc.) can be quite obvious.
For a tween girl who’s last desire is to draw unwanted attention to herself, fidget jewelry is an excellent option.
Finding the Perfect Fidget Jewelry at Patti+Ricky
A number of stores offer fidget jewelry, but we found a host of reasonably-priced, gorgeous pieces at online retailer Patti+Ricky. Founded by entrepreneur Alexandra Connell in honor of her mother (Patti) and cousin (Ricky), Patti+Ricky offers clothing and accessories “for people of all abilities.” Ms. Connell hand-selects every item in the shop and works directly with small business creatives to serve individuals across the ability spectrum, from fidget and braille jewelry to ear cuffs for hearing aids, fashionable eye patch and PICC line covers, and smart-looking easy-entry clothes for those with limited mobility.
When I first learned of Patti+Ricky, I asked my daughter to come and peruse the site. She navigated to the fidget jewelry with ease, browsed the 26 pieces available, and then picked out one necklace and two rings. We measured her finger, sent off our order, and in a week had three beautiful pieces in hand.
A Close-Up Look at our Fidget Jewelry
Crafted by the talented Dawne McGregor of Love, Dawne, Patti+Ricky’s fidget jewelry appeals to a variety of tastes and price points. Available in sterling silver and rose gold, the fidget rings and necklaces add a level of sophistication to a very basic need.
The Uma Fidget Ring (25.00)
As intricate as it is delicate, the Uma fidget ring is handcrafted from heavy gauge rose gold wire and sterling silver beads. The wire band arcs around itself to nest the three-tiered collection of beads, all of which move freely along their designated wire.
The Lilias Fidget Ring (28.00)
Simple and sophisticated, the Lilias Fidget ring features an 18 gauge sterling silver band and three metal beads – one each silver, gold, and rose gold. The beads move freely around the band.
The Harmony Fidget Necklace (33.00)
Elegant and functional, the Harmony Fidget Necklace features a sterling silver horseshoe-and-ball charm. The ball spins around its axis with the slightest flick of a finger and the charm hangs on your choice of three silver chain lengths.
Finding Confidence and Peace with Fidget Jewelry
My daughter loves her fidget jewelry, and I have to be honest – so do I! Fortunately for her, the rings were made on demand to fit her finger, so I can’t wear them at all. She relies on the pieces several times a week, even wearing the necklace to a friend’s birthday party. She was able to fidget with the necklace discretely and keep her brain and body organized.
Plus, she got tons of compliments on it to boot!
Exceptional children do grow up, and we want their coping mechanism and support to grow up with them. Fortunately, Ms. Connell’s efforts to bring high quality, functional clothing and accessories to people of all abilities facilitate that, and I couldn’t be more thrilled.
It’s not only given my daughter some beautiful jewelry, it’s given her confidence back.