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.
If “separate/quiet testing location” is one of the accommodations you have access to (needs paperwork, so iffy) that might be a thing.
I don’t know how much people actuallynotice those things, since I’ve never had a classmate complain about my tapping, but teachers sometimes get pissy about how I’m going to disturb my classmates. Which um the classmates have never said the thing?
Idk if I am autistic, my therapist told me she ‘strongly suspected I might be’ but I have been thinking about my behavior a lot since then and a few things really stood out to me that could be stimming, the biggest one being my pacing. I like to pace very short distances back and forth in my room (at home or my dorm) while listening to music, either to relax or when I am happy, and I can literally do this for hours. I always did it in private cause I felt it was a little strange but it was enough that my family noticed. I figure anyone might do something like this occasionally but it is really something I do so much it is like a special activity for me, enough that when I was trying to form better habits and setting up an award system for myself it just felt natural to make one of my reward activities ‘music pacing’. My first semester at college when I had a roommate and couldn’t do this anymore it literally started to drive me out of my mind with anxiety and stress and pent up feeling and I thought maybe I just needed to get out and walk, so I would go for long walks around campus with my music, but it didn’t work cause I really wanted that short back and forth pacing feeling. So it got to the point that I would stay up really late and go into one of the lounges when no one is around and do it. The other part of this is when I am REALLY happy while pacing I will start to skip or even just sort of jump around in this short pattern with a huge grin in my face. But I don’t realize I started doing it and then I’m like ‘this was kind of odd’ especially when people would notice in my home cause the floors creek. Or I would just suddenly want to run out to the living room and jump up on the fireplace and back down when overwhelmed with excitement and then I think ‘I’m 20 years old, I should be able to control the urge to jump and run around when I am happy’ but the weird thing is it happens without my realizing I am doing it. So I don’t know if all this is an autistic like thing of if I am just weird, but I am questioning a lot.
Autistic or not, that sounds a lot like stimming.
(Source: Kassiane Sibley)
It can be. I know people who do it. [Yeah um so those paper-plastic tablecloths… I destroy those…]
Including kids who do it where the rule is “just clean up when you’re done.” Which is a pretty good rule to have about it, in my opinion.
Sure, just find a stim that’s quiet.
For not-quiet stims, there might be an issue and how to handle need-for-stim vs need-for-quiet is probably going to depend on why quiet is needed and if timing/other rooms are things that can be done. (Like there being a smaller area where you can step out to do a slightly louder stim for a bit before rejoining and sticking to quieter for a bit?)
Also on how well quiet is enforced when it’s broken for non-disability reasons. Because it should get, if anything, slightly looser when disability comes into play.
Short answer: Yes, it’s OK.
Long answer: People stim for different reasons. If “reduce anxiety” is one of your big reasons and stimming in public makes you anxious, it would kind of defeat the purpose to stim in public. Many people avoid stimming in public for many different reasons, including anxiety, avoidance of abuse/bullying/etc that they might face when they stim (the fact that this winds up being needed is fucked up, by the way,) and a ton of other things.
There’s also lots of folks who do stim in public, also for lots of different reasons: not actually capable of doing otherwise, being in a position where they can afford to not give a shit what others think, as a political act even when it’s risky, and other reasons.
There’s also folks who will stim in some public places and not others, depending on the sort of publicness and who’s around.
You can and should do what works for you.
Like, possible stims to try instead? I don’t know of any that respect the person’s autonomy, but people have totally asked about replacement stims here and then gotten some suggestions before and I should maybe try compiling those.
other admin here: A slight more in depth version of replacement stims.
For me what really helped stop self harming stims was to slowly move away from them, gradually changing one sensation for another. For instance if you scratch yourself when you’re overwhelmed (something I do a lot, though much less now that I’ve been working on it) When you realize your scratching, try something that has a similar sensation but is less destructive, like rubbing or pinching your skin. Then when you have less of an urge to scratch and more of an urge to rub, move on to rubbing or pinching your clothes. That way you don’t have to quit cold turkey, but instead can still get the sensation until the sensation and movement you crave is different enough it can be moved to something completely non self injurious.
Here’s a few sort of paths I’ve used myself because self harming stims have always been a problem for me ever since I was little.
I hope this helps you nonny
STIMMING THROUGH THE SNOW
IN MY AUTIE BRAIN
O’ER THE FIELDS I GO
FLAPPING ALL THE WAY
*flap flap flap*
THERE’S SNOW ON MY KNEES
I’M STARING AT THE LIGHTS
OH WHAT FUN IT IS TO BE
IN AN AUTIE BRAIN TONIGHT
FLAPPY HANDS, FLAPPY HANDS
FLAPPING ALL THE WAY
OH WHAT FUN IT IS TO BE
IN AN AUTIE BRAIN TODAY
As to my previous question about my 5 year old son stirring, I want to understand if certain stims are for certain moods, like is he bored for one, is he anxious for another? I am not trying to “fix” him or make him stop stimming, but since he is non- verbal, I was hoping I could understand if I needed to help him as a mommy! Like, read him a story or just snuggle? Or just let him be?
We can’t answer what her son is feeling, of course, but “thing is worth a shot” or “if we’ve got a method for yes/no questions, try that question” or “X stim is one that I also do and for me it usually means Y” are all likely good things to add.