"stimming" - Mothering Forums
Special Needs Parenting > "stimming"
bdavis337's Avatar bdavis337 11:06 AM 12-12-2007
If this is an insenstive request, I'll be glad to delete it. Mark's therapists ask me frequently "how does he self stim?" "what are his stim behaviors". I KNOW he has these, but to me so much of his behavior is just who he is that I'm not separating it out as specifically stim behavior. This is of course just fine with me, and I refuse to take away any stimming that calms him down or helps him transition. I wonder if any of you are willing to share you dc's stimulatory behaviors with me?

Mark stims visually - he watches things spin, he rolls his toy cars slowly slowly slowly at eye level and gets "sucked in" to watching the wheels. He watches the washing machine spin - we have a clear lid and it spins at 1000rpm, it's quite the ride for him, and when it's over he can really tantrum and melt down. He watches fans and tops and wheels, he could spend his entire day just watching things spin. He also makes some grunting, growly noises but only when he's playing and really involved.

logan&jordansmommy's Avatar logan&jordansmommy 12:57 PM 12-12-2007
Ah, yes the famous stimming questions from therapists. I know what you mean about not thinking of it as stimming, just who he is. I mean sometimes I know things ds does is "different" than other kids his age. Then other times his therapists seem to think he is stimming when I think he is just being a 3 year old.

So, Jordan mostly does visual stims. He loves to spin pot lids. I am pretty sure he likes to watch them spin AND hear the awful loud noise on the tile. I also think he likes to do it because he is really good at it! Man, can he spin just about anything! He likes to go up to the curtains, stare at them and jump up and down. I still am not sure what that is but I think it is something visual. Hmmm, I can't think of anything else which is funny because I am sure there are more. But like you said, it becomes who they are.
sbgrace's Avatar sbgrace 02:04 PM 12-12-2007
Andrew has some vocal stims. (repeating self, making sounds)
But primarily his stims are visual and always have been. He likes edges actually....he takes the edge of something and lines it up with the edge of something else. After about 3.5 he started walking next to things like walls watching the edge out of the corner of his eyes. He does that off and on. He likes to open and close drawers or toys watching the edges come together. That sort of thing. He gets down on the floor and studies the edge of his toy as it goes along the floor. He likes to line the edges of two things that then watch one drop beyong the egde. Hard to describe but that was his first and most lasting stim.
He's got proprioceptive issues so he does lots of crashing into people and getting himself into tight spots. Or things like last night he was repeatedly falling on the floor, up down up down with great force. It was sort of interesting to watch and he was happy! I don't know if that stuff is stimmy or just sensory seeking.
He does all that stuff more when he's tired. I think all the visual stims are calming for him. The vocal and seeking loud sounds are energizing/exciting. Proprioceptive the OT thinks is calming. I have no idea as it seems to rile him a bit.
FancyD's Avatar FancyD 02:07 PM 12-12-2007
Visual stims, like your boy. Playing cars at eye level, wheels spinning. He also bounces back and forth on the couch for hours, if you'll let him. We just got a swing, and that helps some. He has also started to jam his hands in his mouth and chew his clothes. :
Kristine233's Avatar Kristine233 02:11 PM 12-12-2007
Vocal, noises.. all.the.time.
Visual, likes to see things spin.
Tactile, carries a beanie so he can squeeze it and rolls the beans in his fingers. Does finger rolling and pinching.

Then you have large motor stimming... jumping around etc. Sometimes I think he is just one big stim machine, lol.
feebeeglee's Avatar feebeeglee 03:02 PM 12-12-2007
Bede holds his fingers in front of his eyes and peers through them. He also likes to look through anything transparent or translucent, especially to read through it.

And he likes to run back and forth and hum and warble. He makes hummy warbley squeaky noises and rocks back and forth a lot too.

What I don't consider stims are his love of the alphabet and numbers. And I get irritated whenever any repetitive action that an autistic child does is pathologized and called a "stim". If a non-autistic child was doing the same thing it wouldn't be regarded as non-purposeful action. But that's not what you asked :P
shalena's Avatar shalena 03:27 PM 12-12-2007
Julian is a big vocal stimmer - he hardly stops. It ranges from "ummm,ummm, ummmm, ummmmm" over and over, to humming to blowing air threw his lips all day.
He also has some visual stims, for example our door knob has a mirror finish on it and he will look at it for a good 45 minutes to an hour sometimes, holding toys up to it, looking at his face, things of that sort.
Like a lot of kids in this thread he will also play cars at eye level, and then he will line them up very precisly. He does the same with blocks or pretty much any smaller toy he has a number of. Lastly, he holds his hands in peculiar positions, either firsts or somehow bends his fingers around to hold them together - hard to describe.
dianamerrell's Avatar dianamerrell 05:04 PM 12-12-2007
opening and closing doors over and over and over!

lots of visual stims here too ....

walking around and around the table with his eyes almost touching touching the edge of it

making toys "fly" by his eyes, and peering at them

shaking his head back and forth so fast it makes me dizzy
kchoffmann's Avatar kchoffmann 05:09 PM 12-12-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by feebeeglee View Post
What I don't consider stims are his love of the alphabet and numbers. And I get irritated whenever any repetitive action that an autistic child does is pathologized and called a "stim". If a non-autistic child was doing the same thing it wouldn't be regarded as non-purposeful action. But that's not what you asked :P
I agree. And yet most non-autistics have lots of stims, but we don't call them that because they're more socially acceptable - like chewing gum, smoking, tapping fingers, etc.

My son flaps his arms and sort of wiggles his whole body when excited and overly happy (which is a lot, so that's good!) He hums, but less so since talking more. Now he's just always talking to himself as he plays, usually repeating scripts that he's acting out. He used to play with cars at eye level to watch the wheels a lot. I hadn't seen him do that in about a year, and then the other day he did it. He watches videos again and again, if allowed - again, less so lately. Now it's video games, though. I think that's it.
bdavis337's Avatar bdavis337 05:11 PM 12-12-2007
Wow, so many similar "stims". I agree that it really is just part of who he is. It does sometimes prevent him from really participating in things though - at OT on Monday he got so involved in watching the heavy ball roll down the incline wedge (20 minutes of carrying it up and watching it roll down slowly, great heavy work but he was totally silent the entire time, refused to change direction or pattern and got very angry when it didn't roll precisely, etc) that we couldn't move him away from that activity, and it became all about the ball rolling, and we started to lose him when stimming was "appropriate".

He also presses his hands against his eyes, the backs of his hands, and opens his mouth wide and makes very soft sounds. He pushes very very hard when he does this.

Rachelle, Andrew and Mark have so very many similar characteristics! Mark is also very into jumping and crashing, and loves to be wedged into something tight. If he's had a really hard day, sometimes I'll just turn the washing machine on so he can "stim" for a bit - the visual stuff really calms him down and I just can't see why I should take away anything that helps him.
Brigianna's Avatar Brigianna 06:16 PM 12-12-2007
Dd1 loves to spin and talk to herself and giggle. She's fun to watch.

I used to be a chronic pacer but have been too tired to pace, which is truly a loss. Now I just fidget and talk to myself and pull my hair...

Talking to oneself is so common at our house that we regularly have to ask "are you talking to me?" when in a room with someone.
wendy1221's Avatar wendy1221 06:18 PM 12-12-2007
My kids' OT's never asked me how they stim. Is that odd? THey didn't seem to care. THey were more focused on helping them with their developmental delays and sensory issues than trying to "control" their stimming. THe only time ds1's OT commented on it was b/c he used to grab his penis a lot. Since this is a potentially embarassing stim, it's the only one she ever commented on and talked to him about stopping it.
bdavis337's Avatar bdavis337 06:37 PM 12-12-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brigianna View Post
Dd1 loves to spin and talk to herself and giggle. She's fun to watch.

I used to be a chronic pacer but have been too tired to pace, which is truly a loss. Now I just fidget and talk to myself and pull my hair...

Talking to oneself is so common at our house that we regularly have to ask "are you talking to me?" when in a room with someone.
That's cool! I'd love to be in a room full of people and none of them were speaking to me, asking me anything, needing anything.............

He also hits himself in the head, and bangs his head on the floor. This particular behavior I really could do without.
logan&jordansmommy's Avatar logan&jordansmommy 07:50 PM 12-12-2007
Quote:
I agree. And yet most non-autistics have lots of stims, but we don't call them that because they're more socially acceptable - like chewing gum, smoking, tapping fingers, etc.
No kidding! The other day I was studying for a test and I was having a hard time with a particular problem. So I found myself stopping for a moment and tracing over some letters over and over and messing with my hair. It cleared my mind and I was able to go on. I thought it was interesting that I did this and more interesting that I now notice it.
DaughterOfKali's Avatar DaughterOfKali 08:12 PM 12-12-2007
Ds has soooooo many stims that I'd be here forever if I tried listing them.

One thing that he has been doing constantly is holding his figurines (always Prince Charming and Cinderella) out at eye level and have them walk/dance (etc) in a line. He tilts his head just so. He's been holding them out in front of the tv and then I realized what he was doing. He was putting them in the tv show. LOL.
harpertrance's Avatar harpertrance 10:35 PM 12-12-2007
my son will line up toys over and over again in the same manner

he will repeat the names of things, like shapes, animals, whatever, over and over and over and over and ooooovvveeerrrr

he loves to watch things spin

and he twirls his hair, and my hair when he can get it, all the time, as well as string and stuff like that
shalena's Avatar shalena 10:52 PM 12-12-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by bdavis337 View Post

He also hits himself in the head, and bangs his head on the floor. This particular behavior I really could do without.
Julian does that too. All the time, all day, hitting him self with his hands, objects, banging his head on the floor. He really craves the pressure on his head. I try to give him "head hugs" as often as I can, but its just not enough.
mamocak's Avatar mamocak 11:21 PM 12-12-2007
I don't know if these are considered stims or not, but here goes:
She picks her belly button-it is calloused and sometimes bleeds
sucks her thumb at 5
will hold an object in one hand and hit it repeatedly with the other hand
will sometimes bang head with her hand repeatedly
chews
some flapping and tiptoe walking
Adamsmama's Avatar Adamsmama 11:35 PM 12-12-2007
My son does vocal stimming -- very very loud noise in a monotone type voice, hand flapping, toe walking while dancing around in a circle, mouthing objects/biting.
Nature's Avatar Nature 12:37 AM 12-13-2007
I have quite a few things that I do myself. I repeat the last words in my head over and over, sometimes outloud but quietly. Sometimes I trace letters or numbers, or whatever the last thing on my mind on the desk or on paper. I can remember when I was about 14, I used to lay in bed falling asleep and I would type with my fingers on an invisible keyboard. I would spell out things over and over until I fell asleep. Sometimes I still hum the last 3 or 4 notes of a song, which is embarassing when I realize I've been walking around dd's school humming Elmos World or something.

I also clear my throat and make some noise in my throat before I speak to someone. Well .. not right in front of them, but like.. before I dial the phone, or before I knock on a door. I still pace a lot.

As I child I twirled in circles everywhere. I was a spinner. I also loved christmas lights so much that my grandmother kept them up all year for me so that I could look at them all the time. I could watch them blink on and off all night. I still could. I kinda tap my fingers together, alternating them, thumb to pinky, thumb to ring finger, thumb to middle finger, etc.. I do that quite a bit.

I see a lot of me in my daughter. Even some of her language issues I realize that I still have. Losing words and not being able to remember nouns. Reversing word orders etc. Even her sensitivity to noise and the way she gets overloaded easily..

I often wonder if her issues are largely because of me and whatever it is I passed down to her.

Yikes! Thread derailment there! sorry
Jenifer76's Avatar Jenifer76 12:45 AM 12-13-2007
If I reflect, I have some myself. As a child, I would visually trace patterns while riding in the car. It was very calming for me. Nowadays, I rub my feet together when I am tense or in pain (like during labor). I don't plan to do it, it just a natural reaction.
Nature's Avatar Nature 12:51 AM 12-13-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jenifer76 View Post
If I reflect, I have some myself. As a child, I would visually trace patterns while riding in the car. It was very calming for me. Nowadays, I rub my feet together when I am tense or in pain (like during labor). I don't plan to do it, it just a natural reaction.
I do this one too! Its bizarre really how many there probably are that our kids do, or that we do.. some we don't even realize because they are just a part of us.
logan&jordansmommy's Avatar logan&jordansmommy 02:21 AM 12-13-2007
Quote:
I would type with my fingers on an invisible keyboard
I do this! I always found it odd that I did this and still I am not sure why.
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