Adapted James makes a variety of fiddle puzzles and fiddle mats to help with concentration and anxiety.
They are made out of different textures, complexities and patterns to suit the individual. Some are different shapes such as clouds or sunshines, some have beads on the outside, and some have ribbons to play with too.
Why use fiddle puzzles?
Contrary to what logic seems to suggest, encouraging neurodiverse children to fiddle with things (which is a form of stimming -self stimulatory behaviour-) helps them to concentrate.
Stimming helps to regulate oneself which in turn helps to improve focus. Even if someone can make themselves sit still and silent, this often will use up most of the concentration to stay still.
This means that having something sensory such as using a fiddle puzzle, fidget spinner, or putty to play with in school or at work will help neurodivergent (especially autistic or SPD people) to concentrate whilst the same may be opposite for neurotypical peers.
Another reason to use fiddle puzzles besides improving concentration, is to help with anxiety. They can be helpful for anyone with anxiety, autistic or not.
The stimulation of running the smooth marble through the material helps your brain to regulate the overload of emotion.
A lot of people (including myself) use the puzzles when doing therapy, appointments, or going to other anxiety inducing places.
How fiddling helps me to concentrate
An example of how stimming helps me to concentrate is:
Because I am needing to concentrate to think of the words and write this up, I am sitting in a chair that bounces slightly and so I am bouncing up and down writing this (when I am reading, sometimes I concentrate better when shaking my head.
When I am needing to listen to something and my hands aren't required (like they are for typing) I need to constantly do some kind of movement, either with a fiddle or by doing sewing. I can't concentrate to watch television without doing something with my hands at the same time.