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Thread: Stimming

  1. #1

    Default Stimming

    I noticed there's not a thread on here about stimming. (Self-stimulation).

    First of all, "stimming" is defined as "Repetitive, stereotyped behaviors whose sole purpose appears to be to stimulate ones own senses." It is common for behaviors like pen tapping, foot tapping, hair chewing, nail biting, teeth grinding, rocking, feeling objects, placing objects in mouth, etc. to become an obsessive preoccupation for individuals with Autism.

    I bring this up because to my knowledge, I have no form of Autism, yet I have recently found myself exhibiting behaviors that I have been present throughout my entire life and have identified them as stimming.

    Now, we all exhibit this type of behavior from time to time when we get bored or stressed, but there are things that are ever-present in my behavior that I would like to talk about that classify as stimming and serve the same purpose.

    There are several ways to classify stimulating behaviors:
    Excitatory:
    Excitatory (stimulating) or
    Inhibitory (calming). Both have the result of self-regulating sensory input and manage sensory integration dysfunction.

    They appeal to various senses:

    Visual staring at lights, blinking, gazing at fingers, lining up objects
    Auditory tapping fingers, snapping fingers, grunting, humming
    Smell smelling objects, sniffing people
    Taste licking objects, placing objects in mouth
    Tactile scratching, clapping, feeling objects nail biting, hair twisting, toe-walking
    Vestibular rocking, spinning, jumping, pacing
    Proprioception teeth grinding, pacing, jumping

    There's much more on this that can be covered, but I wanted to just give an introductory explanation of what stimming is so this thread can be better understood.

    I have been exhibiting visual, smell, taste, and tactile stimming as part of not only my regression, but as part of my adult life as well (in which I regress frequently in many ways).

    Click image for larger version. 

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    In this picture I am demonstrating the behavior that I am about to explain. I am holding in my hand something I refer to as a "silkie." It is a piece of satin blanket binding that, in conjunction with thumb-sucking, i rub between my fingers and against my upper-lip (and smell constantly) to achieve a calming effect. I keep it washed with Dreft baby detergent regularly so it maintains the olfactory stimulus I seek for catharsis.

    I'll break it down:

    Visual: Watching my fingers twirling my silkie, obsessively.
    Smell: Smelling the Dreft fragrance on my silkie while it's against my upper-lip.
    Taste: Sucking my thumb.
    Tactile: Feeling the smooth, cool satin in my fingers or against my upper-lip/nose.

    It doesn't matter what I'm doing, whether it be watching TV, cuddling with Mommy, hanging out with my brothers, driving my car, or shopping. I am usually sucking my thumb and playing with my silkie.

    Because it's something I find myself doing absent-mindedly and obsessively, it gets in the way of things I enjoy doing, such as playing video games or practicing the guitar. While fully aware of this impediment of sorts, I don't choose to take action toward changing this behavior because I enjoy it far more than playing video games and playing the guitar. It keeps me calm and collected. It keeps me from craving things I shouldn't have.

    It may sound unusual reading a break-down of this type of behavior, but I don't think it's weird in any way. Seldom-seen, yes, but not weird or extremely unusual. For me, it's constant positive stimulus no matter what I'm doing. I feel that rather than taking away from my experiences, it enhances them.

    What are your thoughts on this subject? Do you exhibit any of these or any other behaviors that may fit this description?

  2. #2

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    My biggest one is pacing. I pace like crazy sometimes. A lot of the time, when I've heard something big, I want to pace. It could be happy news, or it could be sad news, but I will pace. I'll pace no matter how I feel, whether I'm fresh as a daisy or my legs are about to give out. It's a real compulsion for me, and often, I'll do almost a ritual of 'running up and down' (what I've always called it) in the hall, sitting down to relax for a moment, then running up and down again. Thinking about this now, it's rather odd, but it's something I have always done.

    That's the most obvious one. Other than that, I do have other odd habits I use to soothe my senses and keep me 'sane', but I'm too sleepy to list them right now.

  3. #3

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    Whenever I was younger I used to make a "hissing" sound with my tongue that sounded a bit like a snake for a stim. But I got made fun of for it enough that I stopped it. Now the closest thing I can think of to a stim like that is when I suck on my paci.

  4. #4

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    i pretty much do it all, except for the taste thing and anything that may give me a headache.
    always got a 'feeling cloth' on me. i think i may have accidentally incorporated smoking into my stimming repertoire; it's definitely more of a tactile habit than a chemical need.
    people most hate my finger-drumming. people most puzzled to annoyance by my smelling everything (incidentally, i hate perfumes or any chemical junk like that - they hurt my nose). people most like my 'dancing' as i eat.
    i'm also synaesthetic, though not as much as when i was younger when it occassionally caused confusion upon relating sensory events (such as 'i can think better at night because it's less noisy', meaning it was less bright; or the time i tried to describe a colour in school and described it as a 'colour that tasted like....' - neat way to wind up a teacher, though).
    throw that into the bag and it's a jumble of stuff that i don't bother thinking about anymore:
    i just do it.

  5. #5

    Default



    Quote Originally Posted by ade View Post
    i pretty much do it all, except for the taste thing and anything that may give me a headache.
    always got a 'feeling cloth' on me. i think i may have accidentally incorporated smoking into my stimming repertoire; it's definitely more of a tactile habit than a chemical need.
    people most hate my finger-drumming. people most puzzled to annoyance by my smelling everything (incidentally, i hate perfumes or any chemical junk like that - they hurt my nose). people most like my 'dancing' as i eat.
    i'm also synaesthetic, though not as much as when i was younger when it occassionally caused confusion upon relating sensory events (such as 'i can think better at night because it's less noisy', meaning it was less bright; or the time i tried to describe a colour in school and described it as a 'colour that tasted like....' - neat way to wind up a teacher, though).
    throw that into the bag and it's a jumble of stuff that i don't bother thinking about anymore:
    i just do it.
    Your post reminded me that it wasn't for the longest time that I gave up thumb sucking, probably not until I was 6 or 7. Then again I had a cousin that due to being more or less ignored the first year of her life sucked her thumb until she was 16 or so.

  6. #6

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    I have some stimming behaviors that are associated with my vision loss. Many blind and low vision. People seek sensory input or stim to calm themselves. I do when I am tired, bored or stressed. I tend to put my fingers in my eyes the most. I twirl as well, but not as much.

  7. #7

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    sensory integration and aspergers lead me to stem a lot both positive and negative
    I esp run my tongue along area of mouth behind my teeth and just above the gum some how this affect my sinuses in a tingly way.
    the bad I chew pens like crazy.

  8. #8

    Default

    I pace, I flap my hands I play with my keys, rubber band, any string like object. I have mild Cerebral Palsy not sure if my stimming is related to that or not.

  9. #9

    Default

    I will suck on a pen if I'm trying to concentrate on work. I also tap my fingers/pen to a rhythm.

    Never knew it was stimming though!

  10. #10

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    for the stimmers of all sorts and extents, how do you cope with sensory deprivation?
    i had an MRI scan last year and found it much harder than i'd previously thought it'd be. i'm not claustrophobic, in any way, and am very used to being in confined and darkened spaces (like tunnels and drains), but the not being able to move nor being able to see anything other than the grey-beige walls of the scanner tunnel, coupled with the vibration of the machine really freaked me out.
    i'm definitely in a place where i wouldn't want another one, even though they're harmless (as best we know).

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