👋 Stimming & Coping

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.

‘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

Self-stimulatory behavior, also known as stimming and self-stimulation, is the repetition of physical movements, sounds, or words, or the repetitive movement of objects

 Stimming – Wikipedia

We have five external senses:

  1. Taste
  2. Smell
  3. Touch
  4. Sight
  5. Hearing

And three internal senses:

  1. Proprioception
  2. Vestibular
  3. Interoception

We engage those senses with stimming for a few reasons:

  1. Self-regulation
  2. Sensory seeking
  3. Expression

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 autism.

Autism is viewed as a sensory processing difference. Information from all of the senses can become overwhelming and can take more time to process. This can cause meltdown 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

Calming, Soothing, Focusing, Joy-Inducing

“Stimming is a way that we can help ourselves feel calm, soothed, or focused, but it can also be a huge source of joy and beauty.”

What Applied Behavioral Analysis Gets Wrong About Stimming and Children – Pacific Standard

Here are some stims we enjoy, most of them made by Stimpunks. Mix them together however you like.

✈️ Fractal Foam for Airports

Listen to this:

And watch this:

Fractal Foam by Stimpunk AJ

🐦 Ambient Bird Calls

Bobwhite Quail

Channel City Camera Club from Santa Barbara, US, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Brown Thrasher

Rhododendrites, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Canyon Wren

Amado Demesa from DF, México, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Carolina Wren

Dan Pancamo, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Eastern Meadowlark

gary_leavens, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Great Horned Owl

Bubo virginianus – Grand-duc d’Amérique ou Grand-duc de Virginie.

Loon

Cephas, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Wood Thrush

Photo by David J. Stang, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Western Meadowlark

USFWS Mountain-Prairie, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Ambient Bird Calls by Stimpunk AJ

🌊 Ocean Waves

The swells and textures of nature follow patterns that resonate with the human body through its ability to hear sound. Ocean Waves is a wonderful way to easily immerse yourself in a lush, and relaxing natural sounding sonic environment, anytime! The swells are specially timed to encourage the body to breathe more slowly and more deeply. The sound spectrum is full and is matched to the powerful release of deep sound energy of the Earth’s beautiful shores. Have access to a comforting sound which has the added benefit of helping to block outside annoying sounds. Enjoy a sonic tribute to one of nature’s most wonderful experiences, the sound of the ocean’s waves, to feel more refreshed and invigorated.

Ocean Waves

Play Ocean Waves

Ocean Waves by Stimpunk AJ
Water Simulated Fractal Foam Fractal Brownian by Stimpunk AJ

🕳🌎 Perspective Curling

🫠 Molten Lattice

Lattice B-6b by Stimpunk AJ

💆‍♀️🐈 Breath Nurby Percussive Purr Massage

This pairs well with a neckband speaker or subwoofer.

Breath Nurby Louder Mixed by Stimpunk AJ

🔔 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 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

The artist hopes to convey this: that the universe is given forth folded and unfolded. Although explicit understanding helps, it is too cumbersome, and should only provide refinement to something already greater that exists.

That greater thing is what was given to the artist first by the practice of origami. An enlivening of the intuitive mind, experience with a universe of many dimensions, and the promise of creation revealed when one folds a flat square into the likeness of a higher dimensional thing. That inspiration reaches a young mind in a powerful way.

The artist wants the viewer to see proof of what their intuitive mind already knows is true, the universe is a multidimensional phenomenon and the ability to understand its nature already exists within us each.

The artist hopes the viewer will be inspired to seek the understanding of freedoms available to the individual inspired by the exposure to artistic expressions, and of a nature of dimensionality unimaginably greater than the object presented here.

Adriel Jeremiah Wool

👋🧷 Our Stims

Ryan

  • 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 – Ryan Boren

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.

Slouchy beanie with a loose weave and variable pink and green coloring sitting on a table

Here are my two of my favorite stimming and coping playlists.

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