Gets me all flappy just thinking about it!
Stimming is sort for self stimulatory behaviour. It is literally anything that results in sensory input so there are just so many! The one I’m doing above is the legendary handflapping- the apparent trademark of autistic kids. If you haven’t tried it, I suggest you try it now! It’s super fun!
And it’s not just autistics who stim. Other neurodivergent people stim and even neurotypicals stim sometimes
One suuuuper important thing before we continue: please don’t stop an autistic person from stimming, unless it is a harmful stim. It can make us really uncomfortable and stress us out.
Why do People Stim?
People stim for different reasons and often have different stims for each one
- Regulation and Stress Relief: It’s a good way to regulate yourself and lower the frequency of meltdowns/shutdowns.
- Anxiety and Negative Sensory Input: Helps you deal with that stuff
- Communication and Expression: A way to communicate with others and express your feelings(e.g. handflapping could mean: “I’m excited!”)
- Concentration: Sometimes I constantly click my pen when in deep thought.
- For Fun: It’s fun and it feels good!!
How do you Stim?
There are a multitude of ways to stim, and while I can’t list them all, I can list the main types with a few examples
Types of Stims
A stim that introduces visual sensory input. One thing I want is a stim jar full of glitter and colourful transparent beads.
I can just stare at this for hours…
I can’t find credits for this but it’s probably from Tumblr or Pinterest
Watching the change between light and dark is also a stim
Involves sound. This can be listening to the pitter-patter of rainfall, having one song on replay for hours. Tapping makes a nice sound. Some people have stimmy voices.
I love staying up and listening to the thunder and rain
One of my favourite songs to stim with. I like to accompany this with some SERIOUS vestibular stimming. Forget handflapping, I’ll be handFLAILING!! If you’re used to singing in Japanese, sing along to the lyric! Do it! Do it right now! 😀
I put this separate from auditory stimming because it’s related, but a different type altogether. Singing and echolalia fall under this category. If you sang along to the song above- congrats! You vocal stimmed. Right now I’m stimming with echolalia saying “Go happy happy stim stim stim go happy happy stim stim”
Humming is vocal stim and something I tend to do a lot without realising it. I put this video because this little girl seems so happy eating that sandwich and it made me smile 🙂
Stimming with your skin! Touching stimmy things with your fingertips and even your face can be so pleasant! When they’re bodily tactile stims, sometimes you can do them without noticing. I had a tendency in high school to put my hand over my mouth. To this day I don’t know why I did that.
Credit to Pukakke and their wonderful Amethyst Stim Board!
As the name suggests, it’s stim that involves applying pressure sensory input. Autistics usually find pets are the best stim toys because they provide a multitude of different types of stims including the ever beloved pressure stim. I hear a lot of autistics are fans of weighted blankets. There are also weighted hoodies too which is really cool.
すてき！Credit to autisticpika!
One of my favourites! It involve the sense of movement. Spinning! Handflapping! Nodding! Running! Rocking! Dancing! So many to choose from and all so powerful and exciting!
Credit to teapotsandroses! …probably I found this on their tumblr so I hope it’s theirs…
Amythest‘s stimming gifs give me life
MainJelly/Anabellistic posts awesome stimming videos on youtube- check them out!
These are stims which involve just your body. They aren’t so much a separate group as bodily stims can involve different senses. It’s mostly vestibular or tactile. Chewing is also another one. Some autistics (including me) have chew jewelry. I have a lilac donut one, I make a post about that another time.
Bodily stims are the stims I tend to use as regulatory/anxiety stims- mostly when I’m in public because they can be discrete.
I mentioned this earlier. Dangerous stims are stims that are or can be potentially harmful either to the stimmer or those around them. They can include:
- skin biting
- head banging
- skin picking
These stims should be replaced with safer once. Skin biting can be replaced with chewing chewy jewellery, and head banging can be replaced by hitting your head with a light pillow.
Of course, it’s not always that easy replace these stims. Sometimes the stim arises because of the sensation a person may feel rather than the feeling of doing the action
…okay I didn’t explain that well, here’s an example:
I’m guilty of hair/skin picking/peeling. People have suggested peeling glue off my hand, but in the end, it’s not the act of peeling that provides the stim- it’s the feeling of having my hair pulled off/skin peeled off. I still do that stim. It’s really hard to shake off…
So these aren’t all the stims, but I’ll be sure to add more over time