Monday, March 14, 2016


Self-stimulatory behavior, also known as stimming and self-stimulation, is the repetition of physical movements, sounds, or repetitive movement of objects common in individuals with developmental disabilities, but most prevalent in people with autistic spectrum disorders. - Wikipedia
Stimming! It's one of my least favorite aspects of Autism. It can show up in various forms depending on the child, and there are as many ways to stim as there are kids on the spectrum. It's painful to watch a child HAVE to do something with his body, a toy, a random object, etc.

Our son used to have far more stims than he does now. But, he still has very obvious and prevalent stims, even in public. He swishes his hands back and forth through his hair, runs a lot (not away or to places, just like pacing on fast forward), and makes some barely discernible noises while he runs. We have yet to stop this activity or turn it into a more subtle form so he can do it privately when in public to help him focus and feel comfortable but not need to be up and moving so much.

He says he's happy when he's doing it. He tells me he's thinking about things he wants to create or things that he's happy about. So, in that regard I never want him to stop stimming. But, I also know that, as an adult, he's not going to be able to hold down a job if he has to do these things as much as he does now, so we have to help him move from that need in a way that doesn't hurt his creativity and flow but also helps him be able to function in the real world. It's a very fine line you have to walk as a parent of a child with Autism.

So, a post that all rounds up with "I have no idea what the answer is". I love those. I want him to be himself. But I also want him to be the self that can accomplish anything he wants to accomplish in life. I want him to be comfortable in his own skin and also know that if he wants a job, situation in life, or goal something like a behavior won't stop him or slow him down. It's one thing to stim if you want (and we let him have total control of that as long as it's not dangerous for him to do the behavior - i.e. running stim while in a store or parking lot is not safe), it's another to HAVE to do it. That second part s what we are trying to help him with in his daily life. The quest is an honorable one, but one that is very hard to win.



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