Stimming… what the heck is Stimming?

…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!

~Kari

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2 Comments

Filed under Behaviors

2 responses to “Stimming… what the heck is Stimming?

  1. Funny you wrote about this today. Last night my daughter and I were just commenting that we felt like we had autism too…we both ‘drift’ away when it’s just too much noise or we are overtired…she fights flapping her own arms and shouting out when she is happy or excited and has taught herself to tap her wiggle her toes instead. My husband has said before that I can’t stop moving my feet. I rub them like a cricket or wiggle my toes when I am thinking, when I am upset or at any moment that I find I need to calm down. I hope we can teach Connor to stop flapping his tiny little body so hard as he grows but for now, I personally think it is adorable!

  2. I find that a lot of us have similar behaviors to those with Autism. We just aren’t as obvious about it, or our “stims” are more socially acceptable.

    My partner will often look over at me and say “Relax your toes!”
    I flex my toes when I am thinking really hard. LOL

    Thanks for the comment!

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