Autism from a mama who has been there. I am hoping to post every day this month. Please feel free to ask questions in the comments.
Stimming: Is that even a real word?
“Stimming” is the term used for “self-stimulatory behavior” and is sometimes also called “stereotypic” behavior. Stimming usually refers to behaviors used by a person with autism that can include hand-flapping, rocking, spinning, or the repetition of words and phrases.
Most children will practice stimming at some time or another. It is quite common and necessary for childhood development. Many children suck their thumb or rub their fingers on a favorite blanket as they learn to self-soothe or to distract the mind. It is only when they are, or become repetitive, dangerous, or socially unacceptable that they need to be addressed.
Some examples of stimming for our son where boinging the doorstop springs, pushing buzzers and bells, hand flapping, turning in circles, running into the wall with his head, and putting his finger in his belly-button. Each child is different and will find their ways of blocking stimulus and/or self-comforting.
With physical objects, it is easier to avoid or remove them: take off the doorstop springs, put bells and buttons out of your child’s reach. When it comes to their own body, it is much harder to mitigate or redirect. We found that warm blankets, firm stroking, and full body wraps helped. There are many tools specially designed for comfort available now. Try, experiment, find what works for your child.
Celebrate the small stuff. Be flexible. Laugh.