Wednesday, April 22, 2015
S is for Stimming
On Day 19 of the A - Z Challenge S is for Stimming
Stimming, self-stimulating behavior is very common for autistic children although non-autistic individuals may also perform these behavioral patterns.
It is believed to be a protective response to over-sensitivity to stimuli, and also a way to relieve anxiety and other emotions.
Since Michael and David were in classrooms with other autistic children, I noticed many of them had some sort of stimming behaviors.
Michael had a lot of stimming issues. He used to do this tick of moving his neck which almost looked like a seizure. He would pull up the collar of his shirt over and over and one of our friends started calling him "Drac" (Dracula). He would also stare at wheels and anything in motion and flap his hands. We kept saying he was going to fly away. He used to line his cars up from the living room to his bedroom. David used to balance a ring on his finger when he was small and watch it go back and forth. He also used to wave his finger around, faster that I ever thought was humanly possible.
The behaviors have become less frequent as they are getting older. They both have stimming pretty well under control at school. I notice David and Michael falling back on them when they get really excited about something. If David is really excited he has this way of tapping a pencil so fast it looks like a film in fast motion. We all laugh about it, including him. From what I've read, we're not supposed to draw attention to it or tell them to stop. But we do.
Stimming behaviors in some cases can cause injury, such as head-banding and self-rubbing and scratching. In some individuals, drugs are prescribed. Thankfully, David and Michael's stimming behaviors were harmless and we have again been extremely lucky.