…well, according to autism.about.com, “The term “stimming” is short for self-stimulatory behavior, sometimes also called “stereotypic” behavior. In a person with autism, stimming usually refers to specific behaviors such as flapping, rocking, spinning, or repetition of words and phrases.”
Here is a video clip of a child with autism stimming. Be prepared it is a bit screechy.
Video clip found on YouTube
Stimming and Autism go hand in hand. Most, if not all, people with Autism will engage in stimming behavior. BUT… don’t we all? Do you chew your pen lid when you think? Do you tap a pen on the table when you are working on homework or paying bills? Do you bite your fingernails when you are nervous? Do you bounce your leg when you are concentrating? We all engage in a bit of stim-like behavior from time to time.
I guess the reason people with Autism get such a bad rap for stimming is because they hand flap, screech, clap loudly, bounce… etc. Those, for some reason, are not acceptable behaviors according to society.
I see a variety of stimming in our classroom. One claps and jumps and waves his hand in front of his face, one sings to himself, and one will wave straws in front of his face. This behavior doesn’t bother me really. It is only when we are trying to work hard on a particular project that it gets in the way.
I once heard, or read, Carly Fleischmann say that she would often shriek loudly when she finally understood something. … sorry I don’t have a link.. but I am sure that it was her that said that.
So… stimming isn’t always a negative thing. They aren’t always stimming because they are stressed.
Hope this clears some of that up for you! Oh and the link up above to the definition of stimming has some interesting info as well.
Gentle hugs and happy stimming!