• Kelly

Our Autism Story – Day 8 – “Stimming”

Per Wikipedia…Stimming is the repetition of physical movements, sounds, or repetitive movement of objects common in individuals with developmental disabilities, but most prevalent in people with autism. It is considered a way individuals with autism calm and stimulate themselves and may be a protective response to being overly sensitive to stimuli or a way to relieve anxiety. Common stimming behaviors include hand flapping, rocking, excessive or hard blinking, pacing, head banging, repeating noises or words, snapping fingers, and spinning objects. Stimming can, in some cases, be a self-injurious behavior. Common forms of these behaviors include head-banging, hand-biting, and excessive self-rubbing and scratching.

Brahm has a lot of stimming behaviors and they’ve evolved over the years. When he was younger, he would make “fan” hands by spinning his hands and stand with his arms straight out and spin to be a fan (he used to love fans!). Brahm’s current stimming includes snapping his hands, repeating words and sounds over and over (he has this amazing ability to “click” his mouth without ever moving it, and it makes me so happy to hear him do it – I can’t help but smile), and spin any and all objects. Brahm has had some self-injurious stimming behaviors including head banging (to the point he had bruising and swelling on his face) and rubbing his wrists and scratching his legs until they were raw.

Other than Brahm’s self-injurious stimming, we really don’t care about stimming. He clearly uses it to try to calm himself down and ease his anxiety. We are so used to it now that it doesn’t seem unusual. We don’t even realize Brahm is making loud repetitive noises when we are out in public until we feel the stares from other people. We usually look over, give them a smile, and continue on with our business. Because honestly, if it makes Brahm happy, we’re happy! And let’s be real…we can be WAY more annoying in public than a little bit of stimming (more to come on that later)!!!

P.S. – The attached video is an example of Brahm repeating phrases over and over.

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