— What is stimming? —
“Self-stimulatory behavior, also known as stimming, is the repetition of physical movements, sounds, or repetitive movement of objects common in Autistic individuals.” – Wikipedia Definition
Stimming helps us regulate sensory issues, helps us show our emotions, and is also quite fun sometimes!
— What is the first stim you can recall having? —
Spinning or twirling! I loved to spin as a kid and still do. I remember wanting to play with the Sit n’ Spin all the time. I also loved going to the fair or amusement parks that had rides that went in circles. In fact I still get quite happy flappy when I get to go ride those kinds of rides now. They are the best!
Another early one I had mentioned in another post was swings. One of my favorite rides at fairs and amusement parks are the swings, where you also spin. Best thing ever!
— How do you usually stim? Are you a tactile stimmer, pressure stimmer etc.? —
It really depends on what I need sensory wise, my mood, or if I am just doing it because it’s fun. I enjoy most types of stimming. So my answer is: many different ways!
— What’s your current favorite stim? —
That is a hard one to answer. Lately I have been stimming a lot with my Fidget Cube. My other favorite stims are playing with any of the jewelry I wear when I leave the house and, of course, swaying side to side or twirling (though I call that whooshing).
— Do you have different stims for when you are happy or agitated? —
Yes, yes I do. I tend to flap to express my emotions. Where I hold my hands and arms in relation to my body to flap depends on my mood. If I am happy/excited my arms are up in front of my chest and face flapping. If I am agitated or angry I have my hands and arms at my sides and flap near my waist.
When out in public and I start to have anxiety issues I usually stim with any of the jewelry I am wearing, pull out my fidget cube, or maybe even carry a small plushie to pet.
— Do you stim in public? —
Yes, as I would rather look a bit strange to others over having a shutdown or meltdown. If someone asks what I am doing I can educate them about stimming (or have whoever I am with explain, if I am non-verbal).
Please do not try to stop an Autistic person from stimming, unless it’s harming them or someone else or it’s disrupting many people. We stim because it’s a NEED; it helps us regulate and focus ourselves. Otherwise we are too busy focusing on the sensory issue, the anxiety issue, or whatever else is causing the need to stim in the first place. And yes, sometimes there isn’t a need and we just stim for fun as well. To an Autistic person, stimming for fun can feel amazing and make us happy.
I will be doing another post soon on types of stim toys and showing off my collection of them!