Stimming is defined by odd and repeating movements and gestures. The people that do it might often make strange noises. It allows some people with autism, namely children and adolescents, to better control their emotions and cope with their surroundings.
In the chance the stimming impacts a child in a way that's undermining, options should be considered by parents on how to lower stimming. Lifestyle changes or even a quick switch up to one's environment could help.
Stimming is consistent and repeating gestures that people with autism sometimes do to help them calm down, particularly during a situation where they may feel helpless or nervous.
Additionally, stimming is characterized by the following actions:
Stimming is more common than some may realize. Both people with and without autism do it for self-regulatory purposes.
Still, it's not always easily noticeable most of the time. Some might not use stimming very often, only on rare occasions. Others learn how to maintain their behavior to stop themselves from repeating it over and over.
Individuals with autism are more frequent and severe. They take in sensory input differently from others, having experiences that are far more intense than common folk with no disorders.
They might engage in frequent jumping and hand flapping during bouts of excitement, particularly when there's something around that piques their interest. The behavior isn't thought of as typical since many learn it over an extended period, and how to control their reaction and feeling through it.
Here are more frequent stimming behaviors.
This list isn't exhaustive. There are more behaviors related to stimming, such as rocking back and forth. Rocking people has to be done in a chair but can take place anywhere, even when sitting down on a floor.
Rocking back and forth can temporarily lower one's anxiety and stress levels, so it's a common stim for those with autism to do as a coping mechanism. Bouncing around is another or jumping and twirling around in places when happy, excited, or even upset.
Pacing and walking on tiptoe may occur when there's a need for someone to feel not noticed, whether in public or at home. During very high-stress levels, hair twirling could turn into hair pulling, enough for such to pull the roots out.
There's also repetition in phrases used, where someone compulsively blurts out something repeatedly, loudly, or as a whisper, helping them to ease up the agitation.
Repetition of phrases is common when someone says something that the person with autism might want to remember, or that sounds appealing to them. Scratching and skin rubbing are commonly seen also, pushing into self-harm when excessively done.
This can develop into rash or skin problems if the behavior isn't addressed especially in young people with the disorder. Blinking repeatedly is common since it distracts when it is a situation where one meets their gaze, is talking to them, or is being talked about by someone else.
An intense stare down with oscillating objects, like fans, has been documented, as have the random rearrangement of different objects that are close by.
Additionally, autistic kids could spend much of their time arranging their possessions, like toys, instead of entertaining themselves with figurines. Strange obsessions over things that others wouldn't give much thought into have been noted.
Some behaviors deemed repetitive can lead to harm and injury.
Head banging is common in small children and could be repeated until their parents force them to stop. Punching and biting at objects and other people can happen when tantrums and preset, or even usual screaming. Picking at scabs from previous bouts of self-harm could occur, resulting in permanent scarring.
The most common place for this is the arms and legs, but someone even the face. Attempts to swallow dangerous objects can end up in serious risk to a child's health, and this has unfortunately been linked to the most extreme forms of stimming in autistic people.
Examples of stimming include a child being placed in a setting where they begin to feel anxious, leading them to distract from the experience by forcefully bending their arms in a way that causes pain.
Since it's characterized by repetition, these instances can carry on long after the person engaged in them is taken out of the situation that started it in the first place.
Some of what they do can be seen as normal. Many people with hair that's long enough will twirl it, whether they're nervous or not.
It helps keep them distracted from the things they don't find interesting, or in situations, they want to get out of.
Another example of timing is opening and closing doors. Moving the door also counts as this but is done numerous times, even until exhaustion from the experience.
Flipping lights on and off may keep someone distracted, especially when close to a sensory overload when in a bright room. Some take their hands and place them over their ears in a motion that creates a whooshing noise, yet another distraction from their settings.
Stemming can be caused by numerous things. Here they are as follows:
Stimming can allow for better self-regulation. It allows those with autism, and the public in general, to better regulate their feelings in different situations they come across.
When a person with the disorder has the feeling of rush, their energy has to go into something. So long as what it goes into isn't harmful, like gently tapping on something, it's not of too much concern. It also can be a boost to one's mental state.
The best way to manage stimming is by understanding the reason for it occurring. As behavior is a type of communication, other people nearby can help the person doing it by knowing what it is they're trying to convey.
Although stimming isn't always a bad thing for people with autism to do, it can make it harder for some children and teenagers to find friends when the behavior appears odd to their peers.
If the people they associate with know why they're doing it, they become a great asset to their self-esteem.
Autistic people are sometimes encouraged to stim since it helps in the management of overwhelming emotions. Yet if the timing is becoming excessive to the point of self-harm, parents should look into changing the environment they're in.
Stimming isn't a form of autism, but it is a symptom. However, since stimming is found in individuals that don't have the disorder, it's a feature of the general public.
Although stimming isn't always dangerous, it can result in lasting emotional, physical, and social damage. This is considering that the stimming done is violent, like banning the head and pulling out hair.
Stimming is a feature found in autistic individuals but not used to diagnose any condition. For autism to be diagnosed requires numerous tests that have nothing to do with stimming.
Yes, stimming can occur in people that don't have autism. While people on the spectrum do it more often, others diagnosed with similar disorders engage in it as well. Stimming is also a feature found in those with ADHD.
Stimming can be noticed when people resort to repetitive behaviors that tend to involve them doing something to cope with where they are.
It's sometimes hard for people to see themselves stem, though others around might be able to help since they're more likely to notice the repetition.
Stimming isn't a part of anxiety. Instead, it's used as a way to avoid anxiety coming forth. However, some forms of stimming can lead to anxious feelings since constant motion may result in irrational fear.
It's a coping mechanism that's done for numerous reasons, most often to stimulate senses or lower their threshold to an overload of senses.