As a mother, I will never give up on my child. As a mother of a child who has autism, I will never give up hope.
I look into his eyes and I see all the potential that he has to offer to this beautiful world and I just know that one day the world can see what I see.

Follow my blog as I share my life and my experiences as a person who loves someone with autism.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

What’s your stim?

Self-regulating, or ‘stimming’ is a repetitive behavior and may involve any or all of the senses in various degrees in different individuals:

  • 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

Individuals engage in stimming as a way to self-regulate sensory input and manage sensory integration dysfunction. These behaviors may be excitatory (stimulating) or inhibitory (calming) with the result of normalizing sensations.

While stimming is a more common trait for people with autism, all of us engage in some of these behaviours occasionally, especially when we are stressed, and sometimes without even knowing. The only difference between you and a person with autism is, is that a person with autism may engage in these activities excessively and it may interfere with learning or activities of daily living.

So next time you see a child flapping their arms, rocking back and forth, or doing things that society has labeled as ‘not normal’ please think about your reaction. After all, they’re not staring at you when you’re tapping your foot, or clicking your pen.

Thanks for reading,


  1. Another super post. thank you for helping people understand. Im grateful that I do have stims, that i do have sensory issues, that I do get disregulated.. all these things help me understand what my son goes through, and helping myself through them, means i'm better prepared to help him when he needs it. thanks.

  2. @Leah S Thanks so much, Leah for your kind words! I hope this blog reaches peoples hearts to be more compassionate and understanding and accept autism. I'm glad that you are able to help your son when he needs it, because you understand what he goes through too. Take care and thanks for leaving a message!


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