Slinky

Clicky, plasticky naffness? Find out what the humble slinky means to our Children and Young People's Services.

slinky

This, and objects like it (cubes, beads, wiggly plastic things etc etc) are scattered all over the Children and Young People’s Services office making desks look untidy, being shaped into interesting chaotic, or uniform, shapes (depending on the mindset of the staff member fiddling with them), getting broken under chairs and generally getting in the way. Since I started here I have always known they are intended as a small nod to accessibility; a little distraction to take focus away from disclosing something painful, to distract from an awkward silence or just something to soak up spare jitters to prevent them escaping through the mouth as a stutter or a wobbling lower lip. They get used a lot, and not just by the young people who use our service. Their ubiquity has led the staff team to pick them up too – clicking and twisting them in meetings, creating and destroying shapes at random to allow our brains to stay focused.

Recently, this one got picked up and used as a metaphor in a mental health awareness session for the range, or maybe amplitude, of emotions we experience in a day, and how that differs in someone with anxiety. I realised that although their clicky, plasticky naffness irritates the hell out of me, I’d come to love these little springs and strings and wiggly things because of their significance as a symbol of our commitment to accessibility in our service and the comfort of our service users. They’re little, but they’re important, and I want this one back.

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