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Fidget Objects


Smiley74

Question

School is trying to mandate a specific type of fidget/soothing object that may not necessarily be a preferential object for my child. (Main issue is teacher had allowed the entire class to play with putty and then some children were making popping noises with it so she put a universal ban on it including all children who had 504s and were allowed fidget objects.) I provided a formal recommendation letter of need for putty specifically as requested and still school is coming back with changing to a different fidget. Can school force an arbitrary fidget on a child or does the fidget have to provide benefit to the child?

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I would normally say you probably can't request a specific fidget, as long as others are provided that satisfy the need.  But with you having a formal recommendation letter (I assume from a provider, doctor, etc.) that does give your request more weight.  However, schools only have to consider outside evaluations and recommendations, so they may be within their rights to refuse this.  I would ask for a PWN on the school's denial.  If this truly is the only fidget that addresses your child's needs, start documenting any instances you become aware of at school where the inability to access this fidget has affected your child's FAPE.  Then you might have to request mediation to sort it out if the school doesn't budge.

Without knowing the severity of this issue, it's hard to say if this is an issue worth going to mediation over.  Maybe others will chime in.

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IEPs should be individualized to the disabled student.  If the disabled student is being distracting with using a fidget, they can be taught to use it in a way that's not distracting.  If they don't learn to do this, I can see access to this fidget being limited.

My daughter's school had a universal ban on water bottles (this was pre-pandemic, now they are allowed because there are no water fountains in the school).  Because she had a need and it was in her IEP, she was allowed to have one with her.  It didn't matter that other kids put vodka into their water bottle in the past.

I would request that the specific fidget your child gets comfort/stimulation from be mentioned in the IEP & then you can ask that the IEP gets followed.

Telling a student that they can't have a fidget due to their disability because a gen ed student abused the use of the same sort of thing doesn't follow IDEA.  Diabetic students need access to sweets even if another child made a mess with candy in the classroom.  You need to meet the need of the disabled student - not their classmates.

I would see how the alt fidget goes.  If it works, great.  If not, they need to find something that meets the student's needs like the banned fidget does.

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