Just a little opinion- Stimming is like, the best thing ever!
Stimming is a term that refers to self-stimulation and it usually involves repetitive movements, sounds or habits. There are forms of stimming that look less obvious and forms of stimming that look more obvious. With regards to the Spectrum, some forms of stimming seem to be more obvious such as hand-flapping or rocking back and forth. It’s not really a concern when someone on the Spectrum stims. If anything, it’s a good thing because it can calm a person down during stressful situations. However, there are some rare cases where stimming can cause harm to either the individual or someone else. If that is the case, I would definitely seek advice from a professional. Otherwise, here are some common forms of stimming! A quick disclaimer beforehand. Even if people who are not on the Spectrum are prone to doing a few of these. Please remember that just because you do one of these, it does not mean you are on the Spectrum. Do your research and do appropriate research at that. Also, a lot of people percieve Autistic people stimming and running around and flapping their hands around (thanks media stereotyping). This is the case for some but not for everyone. So without further ado, here are just some of the common forms of stimming for people on the Spectrum!
– If you have piercings, twisting them or playing with the piercing is also a form of stimming.
– Clicking your pen in class.
– Playing with your hair.
– Cracking bones (more so with your knuckles and fingers, which I also do. I also used to crack my jaw.)
– Drumming your fingers against a desk or a hard surface.
– Jiggling your leg or your foot.
– Rocking back and forth.
– Flicking or snapping fingers.
– Bouncing, jumping or twirling.
– Pacing or walking tip-toe.
– Pulling hair.
– Repeating words or phrases.
– Rubbing or scratching skin.
– Repetitive blinking.
– Staring at lights and moving objects.
– Rearranging objects.
– Basically using all of the five senses on a particular object. For example, a soft teddy bear.
Some forms of stimming that can appear to be a lot more harmful are:
– Head banging (not in the rock and roll type of way people. Some people on the Spectrum literally bang their heads against a wall to stim.)
– Punching or biting either themselves or someone else.
– Picking at scabs or sores.
– Swallowing dangerous items or small toys such as Lego.- Biting your finger nails. (or picking at them and tearing them off, which I am 100% guilty for)
If you or someone you know uses any of these harmful forms of stimming, again, I would maybe advise you to seek help from a professional. It’s hard to make someone stop doing something that calms them down. But there may be ways to make what they’re doing less harmful or introduce new ways of stimming instead.
I like to stim by twisting my piercings, cracking my knuckles and squishing a really soft teddy. When I’m on my own, I pace around my room or look up at my ceiling and try to make shapes (my ceiling has this weird design that’s meant to be for insulation purposes but it looks like you’re looking up at stars!). I also click my pen when I’m writing. Unfortunately, I have stimmed by picking scabs as well and it has caused a few scars in the long run and like I mentioned, I do bite my nails and pick at them. I have really stubby nails now.
Like I said, stimming isn’t always a concern unless it’s causing harm but some forms of stimming that appear to be more obvious can, unfortunately, cause situations such as social exclusion or bullying. It’s upsetting to see really. Some people on the Spectrum (again not everyone as everyone is on the Spectrum is different hence why it’s called the Spectrum), may not be socially aware, so they may not realize that they’re annoying people. If you have a family member or friend on the Spectrum that is experiencing bullying or social exclusion, don’t try to change their way of stimming unless you’ve been told to otherwise by a professional. Also, if you have a work colleague or a classmate that stims, don’t ever go as far as bullying or socially excluding them over it. If it helps them, then it’s none of your business and if it’s distracting you either get over it or go to a teacher or a higher-up person and talk about moving desks or changing departments/rooms.
As always, we need to be a lot more aware and accepting.