We have five external senses:
And three internal senses:
- Interoception our 8th sense, connects us to inner bodily awareness (e.g. pain, thirst, hunger, desire, hygiene & toilet needs, temperature, heart rate, breathing, even our bones, etc.) rather than sensations...
We engage those senses with stimming for a few reasons:
- Sensory seeking
while stimming I am able to unravel the everyday ordinary barrage of sensory and social information that becomes overwhelming.The Predictability, Pattern and Routine of Stimming | Judy Endow
Most of us stim because it calms us and helps alleviate our high levels of anxiety.Siena Castellon
We have five external senses and three internal senses. All must be processed at the same time and therefore add to the ‘sensory load’.
Understanding the sensing and perceptual world of autistic people is central to understanding Autistic ways of being are human neurological variants that can not be understood without the social model of disability.If you are wondering whether you are Autistic, spend time amongst Autistic people, online and offline. If....
Autism is viewed as a sensory processing Our friends and allies at Randimals have a saying, What makes us different, makes all the difference in the world.Randimals We agree. Randimals are made up of two different animals.... Information from all of the senses can become overwhelming and can take more time to process. This can cause Meltdowns are alarm systems to protect our brains.Without meltdowns, we autistics would have nothing to protect our neurology from the very real damage that it can accumulate.I don’t melt down... or shutdown.“It’s Not Rocket Science” – NDTi
The interconnectedness between sensory input, emotions, energy level, ongoing task and how you manage everything you have to do alongside coping with sometimes overwhelming sensory input is an experience that many autistic people are familiar with. Understanding just how much the sensory world can impact how anxious you feel, how well you can communicate, how able to do a food shop or even just enter a space is an important piece of understanding to build up. Without this understanding, from the perspective of autistic people, many may not understand how all-consuming the sensory environment can be for some and for others it is a way of being able to interact that releases anxiety and tension. Interacting with the sensory world through sensory seeking behaviours is strongly associated with stimming (self-stimulatory behaviour that helps self-regulation) which is often a really positive (as long as no one is getting hurt) way of expression that can encompass happiness, anxiety, distress and so much more.Autistic sensory experiences, in our own words — Sarah O’Brien
I will never understand how people can justify the use of “quiet hands”. If you are unaware of what this phrase means, or of the implications for autistic people, you need to read Quiet Hands by Julia Bascom.
When a parent, sibling, educator, therapist, medical professional, etc justifies the use of quiet hands, it baffles me. Do they understand what stimming is? Do they realize that my hands are the key to helping me see the world? Or do they just see my movements as separate from me, as a source of embarrassment for them? I tend to think it’s the latter, that it’s because stimming draws unwanted attention that people want to quiet my hands in the first place. They don’t understand the point of stimming, or I think (hope) they wouldn’t try and prevent it.
So this is what happens when you “quiet hands” us. It’s the equivalent to duct taping an NT person’s mouth shut or preventing a nonspeaking D/deaf person from signing. You are taking away our natural language. You make interacting with the world that much harder.On Stimming and why “quiet hands”ing an Autistic person is wrong
Autistic adults highlighted the importance of stimming as an adaptive mechanism that helps them to soothe or communicate intense emotions or thoughts and thus objected to treatment that aims to eliminate the behaviour.
Furthermore, more recent theories have suggested that stimming may provide familiar and reliable self-generated feedback in response to difficulties with unpredictable, overwhelming and novel circumstances (e.g. Lawson, Rees, & Friston, 2014; Pellicano & Burr, 2012). As such, stimming may provide not only relief from excessive sensory stimulation, but also emotional excitation such as anxiety (Leekam, Prior, & Uljarevic, 2011). Consistent with these suggestions, autistic adults report that stimming provides a soothing rhythm that helps them cope with distorted or overstimulating perception and resultant distress (Davidson, 2010) and can help manage uncertainty and anxiety (e.g. Joyce, Honey, Leekam, Barrett, & Rodgers, 2017).
Autistic people have become increasingly mobilised and vocal in defence of stimming. Autism rights or Neurodiversity is the diversity of human minds, the infinite variation in neurocognitive functioning within our species.NEURODIVERSITY: SOME BASIC TERMS & DEFINITIONS Neurodiversity is a biological fact. It’s not a perspective, an approach, a... activists believe that stims may serve as coping mechanisms, thus opposing attempts to eliminate non-injurious forms of stimming (e.g. Orsini & Smith, 2010). They decry practices such as ‘quiet hands’ (which teaches the suppression of hand flapping), instead using ‘loud hands’ as a metaphor both for using such non-verbal behaviour to communicate and for cultural resistance more broadly (Bascom, 2012). In addition, autistic scholar-activists denounce attempts to reduce their The right of people to control what happens to their bodies. Bodily autonomy means people get to make their own decisions about their bodies.Our Bodies, Our Rights: What’s Going On... (Nolan & McBride, 2015; Richter, 2017) and declarations of their stimming as unacceptable or as necessarily involuntary (Yergeau, 2016).‘People should be allowed to do what they like’: Autistic adults’ views and experiences of stimming – Steven K Kapp, Robyn Steward, Laura Crane, Daisy Elliott, Chris Elphick, Elizabeth Pellicano, Ginny Russell, 2019
My son stims. He performs repetitive motions in order to generate sensory inputs that he experiences as fun, aesthetically pleasing, soothing, exciting, or otherwise necessary. The word comes from the clinical term, “self-stimulatory behavior,” but there’s no need to be that clinical about it. His stimming is beautiful. To get him to stop stimming would require intensive coercion that, even if successful, would likely result in irreparable psychological harm.What Applied Behavioral Analysis Gets Wrong About Stimming and Children – Pacific Standard
Calming, Soothing, Focusing, Joy-Inducing
The first part is in my “native language,” and then the second part provides a translation, or at least an explanation.
But my language is not about designing words or even visual symbols for people to interpret. It is about being in a constant conversation with every aspect of my environment. Reacting physically to all parts of my surroundings.In My Language
Many people with autism are stressed individuals who find the world a confusing place (Vermeulen, 2013). So how does someone with autism achieve a sense of Monotropism is a theory of autism developed by autistic people, initially by Dinah Murray and Wenn Lawson.Monotropic minds tend to have their attention pulled more strongly towards a smaller number of interests at...? McDonnell & Milton (2014) have argued that many repetitive activities may achieve a flow state. One obvious area where flow can be achieved is when engaging in I don’t know who invented the phrase “special interest.” Probably some researcher. Autistic people don’t really love the term because the term “special” has become tied so closely with terms.... Special interests allow people to become absorbed in an area that gives them specialist knowledge and a sense of achievement. In addition, certain repetitive tasks can help people achieve a flow like state of mind. These tasks can become absorbing and are an important part of people’s lives. The next time you see an individual with autism engaging in a repetitive task (like stacking Lego or There is nothing more human than play. Humans were designed to learn in play. In fact, nearly all mammals evolved this way.Play's Power At our learning space, we provide learners fresh... a computer game), remember that these are not in themselves negative activities, they may well be reducing stress.
If you want to improve your supports to people with autism from a stress perspective, a useful tool is to identify Monotropism is a theory of autism developed by autistic people, initially by Dinah Murray and Wenn Lawson.Monotropic minds tend to have their attention pulled more strongly towards a smaller number of interests at... for that person and try to develop a flow plan. Remember, the next time you see a person repeating seemingly meaningless behaviours, do not assume that this is always unpleasant for them – it might be a flow state, and beneficial for reducing stress.What is ‘flow’?
Here are some stimmy things we enjoy, most of them made by Stimpunk combines “stimming” + “punk” to evoke open and proud stimming, resistance to neurotypicalization, and the DIY culture of punk, disabled, and neurodivergent communities. Instead of hiding our stims, we.... Mix them together however you like.
- 💃 Stim Dancing and Bodily Survival Knowledge
- ✈️ Fractal Foam for Airports
- 🐦 Ambient Bird Calls
- 🌊 Ocean Waves
- 🕳🌎 Perspective Curling
- Molten Lattice
- 💆♀️🐈 Breath Nurby Percussive Purr Massage
- 🔔 Bellflower: Flaws to the Front, Bounce and Strut
- 🫁 My Ty She
- 🌌 The Universe Is Given Forth Folded and Unfolded
- 👋🧷 Our Stims
💃 Stim Dancing and Bodily Survival Knowledge
I'm dancing on my own (dancing on my own) I make the moves up as I go (moves up as I go) And that's what they don't know, mmm-mmm That's what they don't know, mmm-mmm But I keep cruising Can't stop, won't stop grooving It's like I got this music In my mind Saying, "It's gonna be alright." Baby, I'm just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake I shake it off, I shake it off --Shake It Off
Let’s get unapologetically, autistically wild.
Monkey Mind It's just my monkey mind Monkey Mind It's just my I take him out, and then I sit him down I look him in the eye, and say no more monkeying around Now you look-y here, you gonna leave me alone Cause there's no room here for a little monkey in my home Monkey Mind It's just my monkey mind Monkey Mind It's just my That monkey mind, he likes to eat himself alive Think he's done, and then he takes another bite Now see, I gotta learn to be kind To my monkey mind, cause he'll be with me till I die Monkey Mind It's just my monkey mind Monkey Mind It's just my Monkey Mind by The Bobby Lees
Let’s bolster against stress and pass survival knowledge down.
…flamenco is in itself a ballistic activity with its own built-in reward system that can then bolster the brain against When something happens which makes us feel unsafe, our brains respond by going into survival mode. Your brain sees something frightening, feels you are in life threatening danger and it... stress.
…not only can traumatic knowledge be passed down, so can bodily survival knowledge-knowledge about how to survive the debilitating effects and symptoms of When something happens which makes us feel unsafe, our brains respond by going into survival mode. Your brain sees something frightening, feels you are in life threatening danger and it....
If your “threat to life” responses are being re-associated on a regular basis with flamenco responses, slowly, like polishing stone, flamenco has the potential to be an asset for people who are working through PTSD.Because We Have To: Flamenco as Survival Strategy against Detrimental Effects of Post- Traumatic Stress Disorder
Stimming is beautiful.
✈️ Fractal Foam for Airports
Listen to this:
And watch this:
🐦 Ambient Bird Calls
Great Horned Owl
Ambient Bird Calls by Stimpunk combines “stimming” + “punk” to evoke open and proud stimming, resistance to neurotypicalization, and the DIY culture of punk, disabled, and neurodivergent communities. Instead of hiding our stims, we... AJ
🌊 Ocean Waves
There is nothing more human than play. Humans were designed to learn in play. In fact, nearly all mammals evolved this way.Play's Power At our learning space, we provide learners fresh... Ocean Waves
🕳🌎 Perspective Curling
💆♀️🐈 Breath Nurby Percussive Purr Massage
This pairs well with a neckband speaker or subwoofer.
🔔 Bellflower: Flaws to the Front, Bounce and Strut
🫁 My Ty She
I like what that song does with my breathing. I feel like part of the song, a consenting instrument both playing and being played.Ryan
Yes! The Care work makes all other work possible. Putting care—not just care work, but care—at the center of our economy, our politics, is to orient ourselves around our interdependence. Care is... and beauty of the song felt like a metronome or beauty-beacon. I felt it too in my mind’s eye, a calling to open myself wider, but calling with beauty as if to say ‘it’s safe to be beautiful.’AJ
🌌 The Universe Is Given Forth Folded and Unfolded
👋🧷 Our Stims
- Picking my scalp
- Pulling my hair
- Pacing back and forth and in circles (when I could walk)
- Wheelchair pacing
- Wheelchair stim dancing
- Music, music, music
I love scratching my head. Love, love, love. The feel from both head and hand is satisfying, comforting, and necessary. Life is more bearable with the pressure of fingernail on scalp. Life is better when I can scratch, pick, peel, and pull.The Self-injurious Stims that I Love
Slouchy beanies with an open pattern are my go to for sensory regulation because they allow me to scratch and pick my scalp without taking the beanie off. I can go through the holes, or I can get my hand up under the hat since it’s slouchy.
Here are my two of my favorite stimming and coping playlists.