On the Importance of Stimming

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Artwork by Kal Lawless

The following is a popular old post from my personal blog. -Elliott

For me, it feels like stimming is something that I have to do, otherwise I feel like there is all this energy pent up inside me and it drives me nuts. I cannot imagine what it must be like for people who were/are not permitted to stim. It must be like torture. I’m 20 now and I never grew out of stimming, but my stimming has changed forms. These days, I’ll most often shake my leg, snap my fingers, twitch my hands, etc. In private, I’ll flap my hands, jump, vocalize, shake my head, and rock back and forth. It’s a dynamic thing; it changes from time to time, and environment to environment. It may seem strange to some people that Autistic people do things like this, but I think it serves an important purpose in regulation. For me, I know stimming is a way for me to express my emotions, process my feelings, concentrate better, manage my thoughts, and deal with sensory processes.

-Elliott & The Unpuzzled Project

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5 thoughts on “On the Importance of Stimming

  1. Perceptions-of-Reality

    My son when he aged 4-6 used to stim the word’peanut’ for hours on end. Our paediatrician told us to let him do it, as he was using it to de-stress and get through the day. It was regulating his mood and helping him to cope. Even now 7 years or so later I still love the word ‘peanut’, it is special to our family.

    Reply
    1. elliott Post author

      I do the same thing with the word ‘potato’! I don’t know what it is about the word itself, but it has been a vocal stim for me for many years. Glad your family and your pediatrician understood the need and purpose for stimming, as a form of self-regulation, like you said. Many people don’t understand and they try to restrict or eliminate stimming when it is an important coping skill and regulatory process. Thank you for your comment. 🙂

      Reply
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