Saturday, November 29, 2008

Everybody Stims...Sometimes!

At the encouragement of my husband, we went out on this busy shopping weekend to do, well, some shopping. If you're a regular reader of this blog, you know I'm not a fan of shopping.

As we were checking out at the store, I noticed that the clerk would repeatedly squeeze a small ball while waiting for customers to scan their credit cards, take items out of their carts, etc. This, to me, seemed like a form of stimming.

I belive that stimming is something that we all do. How many people do you know who drum their fingers on tables, twirl their hair, and shake their leg while sitting? These are just a few of the ways that people can "stim." Because people with autism sometimes stim in different ways, such as flapping their hands or jumping and spinning, does that make them that unusual? No.

My stim is that I always need to be doing something with my hands. So, I do needle point. If that's not available, I like to stretch a deflated balloon. :)

We need to be careful when we try to "stop" stimming. It does serve a sensory purpose. If it is a stim that is very disruptive or harmful, try to find something that the autistic person can do that will give them a similar sensory experience.

Please share your thoughts and ideas about how to do this. Thanks!



CS said...

You might appreciate this video which covers the subject of cross-neurological stimming

It covers what you wrote in a visual demonstration.

China said...

I think the difference between NT stimming and ASD stimming is that most of us NTs recognize that we should keep our stimming low key and not take it too far so as not to irritate or upset others. I may jiggle my leg or twirl the ends of my hair a bit, but I don't get on my hands and knees and rock back and forth on the top of my head or spin is fast cirles with my arms outstretched in the middle of the grocery aisle.
But I agree, encouraging the socially insensitive stimmer to take it down a notch and giving something to replace a particular stim rather than just saying "STOP!" is more reasonable and kind.

Sharon daVanport said...

Great blog! I will be checking back for more posts from you.

AspieMama said...

Thanks for the comments everyone! There's always such great discussion here.

Julie Fletcher said...

I found this blog through AutismList. com and I am so glad I did. My daughter is High Functioning Autistic/Fragile-X. I worry constantly about her quality of life when she is older.

On stimmimg: My daughter is almost 7 and has always thrown herself around. She will jump up and then hit the florr/wall/ground. It scares her father and me to no end, wondering about injuries. ToysRUs had a sale on inflateable bouncehouses, so I bought one. She can fall or jump all over and I can breathe easy.

She also picks things. She tears paper, too. It wouldn't be so bad if she'd clean up! But the picking is very annoying because she'll pinch or scratch you without realizing it, even after repeated "Please don't, that hurts". I hate being annoyed with her, especially when I know she can't help it.

I'm pretty sure her dad is an Aspie, his one brother is and his mother seems very Aspie-like. Gosh, too much to say, just so happy to find your blog!

Anonymous said...

hi all
i am in the early process of being diagnosed with asperges and this info really helps i am now 40 and think i have been living with this for soooooooooo long. it just makes sense at last

Anna said...

I have been selling to the market of Autism and Aspergers for 18 years. Many therapist keep sensory toys close by for calming stimming and to give the hands something to work with. Thanks for your helps so to share experiences.

Anonymous said...

My aspie son and aspie husband both have some unhealthy stimming, but I have found some alternatives. Son was chewing on his shirt necks every day, so I did some research and found "chewlery"- safe chewable jewelry designed for children who have a need to stim. He seemed pleased. After a few months, he doesn't seem to need to chew all the time, but it's there when he needs it.

My husband will scratch a spot on the back of his head (he has constant sores there), bite his fingernails or pick at his toenails- especially annoying when we're watching TV in bed! I have found that if I rub his arm, hold his hand, or put my head on his lap for him to "pet" me, he stops. It's a win-win: he still gets to stim and I get some sweet affection!