On my last post I was asked ” What is Stimming”? ( Thank you Aunt Pat!) The best definition I could find is “the repetition of physical movements, sounds, or the repetitive movement of objects common in individuals with developmental disabilities, and most prevalent in those with autism spectrum disorders.”(Wikipedia link)
In our case, as I have described in the past, when Sean is very excited or overwhelmed by the sights and sounds around him he will sit on the floor kick his heels on the floor, flap his hands/flick his fingers, and yell as loud as he possibly can. Mind you all of these actions happen simultaneously. It can get very loud very quickly. The best thong we can try to do is redirect his focus but we have found this behavior very difficult to stop once he starts to do it.
As far as moving objects, most individuals ( that I have seen videos or pictures of) will line things up or sort things in to very organized piles. Examples being, you might find a little boy “playing” with his trains but really he is lining them up in straight lines, or he has them sorted by size or color. These are all things that can start at a very early age. Some individuals also do different things with their eyes. Wave their fingers in front of them or look very sharply out of the corners of their eyes. Sean did do something similar, but his scared us for a long time, he would roll his eyes to the back of his head. He will still do this from time to time when he seems overwhelmed, tired, or stressed. ( I have attached a video of Sean stimming around 9 months old img_1569 )
Sean did not necessarily line things up or group them, but he would dig toys out of his toy box. Seemingly looking for something, he would always just throw the toys behind himself. He would then turn around to the pile he created and do this whole action again. He could do this repetitively for hours. (Thanks to E.I. this habit has gotten better.) Sean would also repeatedly turn pages in books. He would never look at the pages and would never let me read to him. He would rather sit with the book on the floor and turn the pages as fast as he could and the shut the book. Then he would flip the book over and do the whole motion over again. Thanks again to therapy he has slowed down and will stop on a few pages here and there and look at the pictures.
Some other examples of stimming are:
- staring at lights or spinning objects ( like in a trance)
- repeating words or phrases or questions
Unfortunately stimming can also become thigs that can harm the individual or the individuals around them. These types of stimming can be anything from head banging ( literally hitting their head on the floor or walls), hitting, biting, or even scratching themselves or others.
I hope this helps explain what stimming is and what it looks like. It can look different to each person or child. Until next time I hope each and everyone of you has a beautiful day. I look forward to seeing you all next week!
Katlyn- A Gulf Coast Mommy