It’s time to start submitting your stims and getting the conversation rolling! The idea of this blog is to explore how stimming is experienced by autistic people, and to build a database of behaviour types. What are your stims? How do they feel? What parameters of the stim are the most relaxing? What music is best for stimming?

I want to hear how happy you all become when you do your favourite stims. I want to see diagrams of what kind of movements have the biggest effect. I want to see pictures of what you imagine when you stim. I ask not just what stims you have, but how you conceptualise stimming as a sensory experience.

I’m interested in what triggers them as well (add warnings if they’re traumatic). One of my major triggers is actually reading about stimming, so this will be an interesting blog to run!

The blog is currently run by Alyssa.


what is stimming?

There’s a lot of different ways that stimming has been defined. Here are some of them.

Autism Wiki defines stimming as:

Stimming is a repetitive body movement that self-stimulates one or more senses in a regulated manner.

Aspie Alligator defines stimming as:

Due to the nature of autism, and it’s sensory overloads, “stimming” has evolved as ways to….counteract, per se, the “negative” stimulations or emotions, through sensations (music, certain touches, certain smells or tastes, etc) which override the negative sensation and/or were previously positively reinforced, and the result creates a soothing effect. Ex: Touching cotton freaks you out, so you run your fingers on your thumb, and that soothes you, since it eliminates/overrides the feeling of the cotton.

About Autism notes that:

Stimming is almost always a symptom of autism, but it’s important to note that stimming is almost always a part of every human being’s behavior pattern. If you’ve ever tapped your pencil, bitten your nails, twirled your hair or paced, you’ve engaged in stimming.

The biggest differences between autistic and typical stimming are (1) the choice of stim and (2) the quantity of stim. While it’s at least moderately acceptable to bite one’s nails, for example, it’s absolutely unacceptable to wander around flapping one’s hands.*****

There’s really no good reason why flapping should be less acceptable than nail biting (it’s certainly more hygienic!). But in our world, the hand flappers receive negative attention while the nail biters are tolerated.

Like anyone else, people with autism stim to help themselves to manage anxiety, fear, anger, and other negative emotions. Like many people, people with autism may stim to help themselves handle overwhelming sensory input (too much noise, light, heat, etc.).

I, Alyssa, think of stimming this way.

Self-stimulatory behavior, or stimming for short, is a word that non-autistic people (probably neurotypical but I’m not sure) came up with to describe a bunch of things neurodivergent people for a bunch of different reasons, but which look kind of similar from outside.

Hand-flapping, rocking, repeating the same word over and over because it sounds cool, jumping, and spinning are all fairly common ways of stimming. Chewing is pretty common too.

Reasons include managing negative stuff, managing too much stuff, managing confusing stuff, because stimming can feel good, and because stimming can be fun. Sometimes different kinds of stimming can have the same kind of function for a neurodivergent person that different facial expressions have for most neurotypical people: it gives an idea of how we’re feeling.

Any suggested improvements to this page are greatly appreciated.

Onward to Types of Stimming!

***** JUST SO WE ARE CLEAR: Fuck Yeah, Stimming disagrees entirely with the idea that walking around flapping your hands is unacceptable. Walking or spinning around flapping your hands is actually kind of awesome.