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Letting kids stim - what's your approach to it?

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

I wrote an article about stimming. My opinion is to let the kid do it, as long as it's not causing harm to the child or anyone else. I hear a lot about how it's distracting, they should stop, etc., and I disagree with that, to a degree.

 

The Secret Life of Stims

 

 

post #2 of 16

I'll answer your question with a story......  

 

We were invited to a Passover Seder at our local Jewish Community Center.  It was for the families with special needs children, teens and adults.  I asked what it was all about and the person in charge described it as a place where my son could be himself without judgment from anyone.  Sign me up!  So off we went.  About half way in my son and many of other people there began to verbally stim.  I realized that the room was actually vibrating and it felt like I was in a yoga class that was doing a very hearty "Ohm".  I started to understand the stimming behavior.  The vibration they were making was so very soothing to me.  I can only imagine how it must feel from the inside.  I started to join my son when he'd stim (verbally, rolling on the floor, etc) and for the most part, his stim behaviors feel good (if I could only get him to stop picking his lip and fingers).  

 

So... when people give me the hairy eyeball because my son's stimming I just smile and tell them "try it sometime, you'd be amazed at how good it feels" then I join him. ROTFLMAO.gif

post #3 of 16
Thread Starter 


LOL Great approach! :D

It's quite relaxing for me to stim. I love rocking chairs because that enables me to stim without looking like an oddball to outsiders. I developed "secret" stimming techniques that I could do publicly without being ostracized, picked on, or made fun of. 

 

When I was little, I remember biting the insides of my cheeks as a stim, but I changed it in early childhood when I realized why the inside of my cheeks was always chewed up. :p That's a damaging stim that my mom wasn't aware of, so she couldn't redirect it, not that it would have helped anyway... lol

 

Well, she didn't know about autism then, either. :)

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SpottedFoxx View Post

I'll answer your question with a story......  

 

We were invited to a Passover Seder at our local Jewish Community Center.  It was for the families with special needs children, teens and adults.  I asked what it was all about and the person in charge described it as a place where my son could be himself without judgment from anyone.  Sign me up!  So off we went.  About half way in my son and many of other people there began to verbally stim.  I realized that the room was actually vibrating and it felt like I was in a yoga class that was doing a very hearty "Ohm".  I started to understand the stimming behavior.  The vibration they were making was so very soothing to me.  I can only imagine how it must feel from the inside.  I started to join my son when he'd stim (verbally, rolling on the floor, etc) and for the most part, his stim behaviors feel good (if I could only get him to stop picking his lip and fingers).  

 

So... when people give me the hairy eyeball because my son's stimming I just smile and tell them "try it sometime, you'd be amazed at how good it feels" then I join him. ROTFLMAO.gif



 

post #4 of 16

It's nothing I've ever considered trying to stop. My son doesn't do anything harmful though. So far his stimming is pretty benign and actually pretty cute. There's one in particular that he does when he's excited that everyone in the family will join in with on occasion, and that makes him very happy.

 

I did have to stop taking him to one particular OT who had very different views about stimming though. Apparently is wasn't productive so therefore unacceptable.  eyesroll.gif

 

 

post #5 of 16

While my son isn't autistic, he does have autistic tendencies (due to a genetic deletion - 16p11.2).  I have learned so much from the autism community.  It's interesting to me to watch how his stim behaviors grow and evolve.  I just see it as an uncontrollable form of self expression.  While he is driven to these behaviors, we are fortunate that we've been able to assist him in finding constructive and fun ways to stim.  To me... that's just part of my son.  Oh, and another oral stim that he's transitioned to is whistling.  He's pretty good at it too!  Story you'd appreciate...

 

When my son was about 2.5 he had a "thing" for legs (we didn't know it was stim behavior at the time).  If you had bare skin, particularly legs, you were getting felt up by my kid.  We were in a clothing store and my husband, being the saint he is, was following our son as he toddled around the store so I could shop.  All of a sudden I hear a loud scream.  I look over to see my husband, hands in the air but his finger pointing down at the ground shaking his head.  My sweet boy had walked up behind this poor young woman and ran his hands up her legs almost to her bottom!  blush.gif  Fortunately, she was very understanding when she realized it wasn't my husband.  

 

At school, all the ladies who are involved in my son's education have been told - if you don't want your chest felt up, please don't wear shirts with texture or sparkles or anything else as my son will feel you up.  I'm very lucky that the women understand and we haven't become some crazy news story "kid feels up teacher gets suspended".

post #6 of 16
Thread Starter 

ROFL!!!! Max used to rub my legs when I wore pantyhose. LOL!

 

 

post #7 of 16

Generally, if my daughter is feeling a need to stim, it means she has stress or anxiety she's trying to manage. I'm not going to stop her from that. Her stimming is not usually destructive. There are times, like when I'm driving, when it can get somewhat distracting for me (noise) and in those situations I may try to redirect her. But I'm not about to take away her coping mechanisms just because they fit into a label called "stimming".

post #8 of 16

http://juststimming.wordpress.com/2011/10/05/quiet-hands/

 

This blog post really changed the way I look at stimming and convinced me that I would never stop it unless absolutely neccessary.  My DS doesn't have any stims right now but he used to when he was younger and I always let him do it since I have my own (I have a ribbon I pull through my fingers and I CAN NOT concentrate without it). 

post #9 of 16

have you heard of the son-rise program?  they refer to stims as "-ism's", and their approach to ism's is called "joining" where you join your child in their stimming repetitive behaviors to make a connection with them...to enter their world and show them your love is unconditional....instead of trying/forcing them to enter our world.....mimicing their behavior and joining is supposed to result in emotional connections and hence, want to step out and join our world.  there are lots of videos to see "joining" on their website and it's pretty fascinating to see kids respond.

post #10 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by friendly fire View Post

have you heard of the son-rise program?  they refer to stims as "-ism's", and their approach to ism's is called "joining" where you join your child in their stimming repetitive behaviors to make a connection with them...to enter their world and show them your love is unconditional....instead of trying/forcing them to enter our world.....mimicing their behavior and joining is supposed to result in emotional connections and hence, want to step out and join our world.  there are lots of videos to see "joining" on their website and it's pretty fascinating to see kids respond.

 

Oh Friendly I love that!  Yes, I do feel more connected to my son when I join him.  
 

 

post #11 of 16

I'm pretty comfortable with my DD's stims. Climbing and perching are big things for her, and she routinely makes other people very nervous with her high-scaling hijinx.

 

The only stim that I will try to redirect (in public) is when she splays herself on the floor and rocks her genital area against the carpet  - it's pretty obvious that she's stimming her private area and I just don't want people looking at her funny for it. A lot of times she is more subtle with it - rocking against a chair seat or the strap of a carseat. Talk about a stim that is soothing and feels good! orngtongue.gif At home I just redirect her to her bedroom (and if she's been doing it a lot, I will try to redirect her to a different stim so she doesn't hurt her genitals). 

post #12 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by beachcomber View Post

Generally, if my daughter is feeling a need to stim, it means she has stress or anxiety she's trying to manage. I'm not going to stop her from that. Her stimming is not usually destructive.


I agree.

 

When possible, I tried to figure out what is causing the stress or anxiety and go from that direction. Not seeing the stemming as something bad that needs to be stopped, but rather like my child getting my attention to tell me she is overwhelmed.

 

As she got older, we worked to channel the stems into more socially acceptable options.

 

Between the two approaches -- making her life work for her AND working on socially acceptable options, my DD now (age 15) doesn't do anything that looks like stemming to others, which makes some things in life easier for her (like being in public, since she's a teenager and doesn't want to be weird)

 

Yet, oddly, I love it when I see other kids stem. I see them as little kindred souls. When I see a small child stemming, I smile at the mom and say Hi. When we were looking at schools and walked into the one she goes to now, I saw a boy flapping his hands while happily participating in a class and it made me happy because I knew that they could handle a child like my DD. It was a sign that she would be OK there.

 

post #13 of 16

Stimming is not something I've even considered to stop. It's soothing and helps self-regulate. DS has gone through many different stims, but his most evident is swinging and pouring water. 

post #14 of 16

     Quote:

Originally Posted by IxIa View Post

DS has gone through many different stims, but his most evident is swinging and pouring water. 


This post just reminded me that I did actually intervene on some water pouring stimming my son was doing around this time last year.  I guess I forgot because it was pre-evaluation/diagnosis and before I knew exactly what stimming was. It was one of the many things that made me wonder if he had autism though. 

 

The reason I intervened was because it was starting to get messy and things were starting to get ruined. So, I just removed temptation which were the play kitchen dishes he was spitting water into and started putting only a little water in his straw cup at a time. I also gave him ample opportunity to play with water in more appropriate ways like at the water table outside. He seemed fine with all this and a few months later I slowly started bring out the dishes again without a problem. So far, so good.  

post #15 of 16

Hmm. We have a lot of verbal stims in our house. I admit to redirecting sometimes... I happen to be super overloaded by noise! Most of the time the boys are completely unaware that they are doing it at all( If I mention it they deny it!) . I have taken a bit of a different approach though... unusual! I have encouraged the things that they find self soothing, and try to find a close " socially acceptable " match.Like finding a spinning toy that matched the need to whip things around or spin them. For the constant verbal stimming, the family watched a ton of beatboxing videos and tutorials. Now my youngest stims with beatbox sounds and wicked rhythms. I manipulated the stimming! Am I horrible? It is much nicer to listen to now!

post #16 of 16
Thread Starter 

You did manipulate it. You made it work for your family without forcing them to stop completely. I think that's great! Max has some verbal stims that send me right over the edge! I used to verbally stim as a kid, too, but my parents always yelled at me for it. :p
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Village Mama View Post

Hmm. We have a lot of verbal stims in our house. I admit to redirecting sometimes... I happen to be super overloaded by noise! Most of the time the boys are completely unaware that they are doing it at all( If I mention it they deny it!) . I have taken a bit of a different approach though... unusual! I have encouraged the things that they find self soothing, and try to find a close " socially acceptable " match.Like finding a spinning toy that matched the need to whip things around or spin them. For the constant verbal stimming, the family watched a ton of beatboxing videos and tutorials. Now my youngest stims with beatbox sounds and wicked rhythms. I manipulated the stimming! Am I horrible? It is much nicer to listen to now!



 

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