Autistic Stimming & Hand Flapping

“If you’re happy and you know it flap your hands.” Anybody else flap their hands like a little chicken when they are really happy or get startled / surprised?

Until I learned what stimmig was I had no clue I was even stimming – and I stim all the time, a LOT. Most of the time I don’t even realize I am stimming.

Stimming is something that Autistic people do to help them regulate the constant onslaught by the environment on their senses. My brain is constantly flooded by the unfiltered information poring into it.

When I stim, I am able to tun out some of the extra noise, calm down, distress, relax, and focus.

Society tends to want people to sit still quietly, something I struggled with as a child. I remember fighting with my teachers, who wanted me to sit still. When I could not move paying attention in the classroom was impossible.

Autistic people need to stim, in a way it is a lot like breathing for me.

I have a friend who has Turrets. She told me that she can hold in her ticks but they build up and doing so feels horrible for her. This is definitely how I feel about stimming. It is like an itch that won’t go away – I have to scratch it and eventually I will no matter what.

I used to stop myself from stimming and would try to hide my stims. Now that I know why I stim and how it helps me to regulate myself.

If a stim is not appropriate (too loud or harmful) I try to switch it for something positive.  

Below are just a few of my own stimming behaviors. 

Finger Rubs / Silent Snaps

Finger Snaps

Tongue Flicking

Finger Snaps

Stim Toys / Jewelry

Look Out a Window

Sniff Something Nice

Listen to the Same Song for an hour over and over.

Dance

Hum

Hand Flapping

Rocking

Bouncing

Verbal Stimming / Mouth Clicks & Noises

Hand Rubbing

Hand Tapping

Foot / Leg Tapping

Skin Picking / Pinching

Body Tightening and Relaxing

Stimming is self care – don’t stifle the stim!

He’s Back! The Aspie World, one of my favorite Vlogers on YouTube is back this week talking about  Autism, stimming, and hand flapping. I can take NO credit for the video below PLEASE check out and subscribe to The Aspie World on YouTube for more amazing content.

Link to video HERE.

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34 thoughts on “Autistic Stimming & Hand Flapping”

  1. when I was litte my mom told me I use to flap a lot still Rofk but not as much the only time I might hand flap is when I’m getting up set or on sencorey over loud an I’m told to stop becuse I look like a bird about to fly away lol my mom say that all the time when I was litte .i had a lot of therhies as a child to work on behaviors an as my language got better some of those behavior got better to.my mom said when I was a tolllder lite kid I use to stim on shoe lace an like to spin in circle on my toy car an stuff

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yep, I do it all the time. I’m a hand flapper, pacer, bouncer, fidgeter, lip flicker, etc, Some people are understanding of my need to do those things. Some people tell me constantly how annoying I am. Some people ask me why I do those things. I might as well ask them why they don’t. I just don’t know what it’s like to not feel the urge to stim constantly. I’ve had those urges from day one.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Good timing for sharing your perspective on flapping. My little girl who is six was asked by one of her brother’s friends “why does Johnny flap his hands.?” She knows why (it feels good Mommy) but she didn’t answer the boy because she said she felt her brother should explain or she should ask me first because its Autism and she wants to protect her brother’s privacy. “Mommy…he can talk plus I just want people to treat him like a kid…not the autistic kid and he flaps and its just what he does.” Very mature I know but she truly accepts him and she says she flaps when she gets excited because it releases her excitement she says and maybe all kids should try it instead of “running wild” when you are not suppose to. Wow right? Sadly the teachers are all about sitting still so recess becomes the release zone.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. The ability of “unlearn” is a good thing. Unfortunately school tends to teach to one segment of the school population and the rest of the kids have to “endure.” The world needs all different kinds of minds…

        Liked by 1 person

  4. My 11 year-old son has Asperger’s syndrome and he’s quite restless in school, but by nature he’s very calm and kind. He just can’t hold his legs and hands still and he has a really unusual body postures. One day I noticed that sometimes when I’m feeling bad or troubled, I do exactly the same movements and postures what my son is doing (I don’t have Asperger). Rocking my hands and feet, hanging head down on the couch etc. helps me to calm down. The difference between me and my son is the fact that I understand how my actions would appear to the outsiders, and my son can’t see it. In any case I love my son more than anything. He’s perfect just as he is.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I think now as an adult, you actually have a choice as to how to react to the “world” that thinks you do “strange” things. Unlike a child who cannot understand that “world” and would feel bad if he’s looked at differently, you can choose (and I think you have chosen) to be yourself and not care what they think. It is liberating to know what they think and not give a hoot about it. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  5. This is a bit tricky to explain. I rub the teeth on either side of my mouth together, and always in the same pattern: right-left-left-right. I do it this way to maintain perfect symmetry and order. Sometimes, if I’m thinking of a song, I will get locked into the rhythm of the song, which is only distressing if the last few notes start repeating themselves, in which case I wind up rubbing my teeth together for longer than is comfortable.
    I also rock back and forth and bounce my right leg when I’m nervous, but I reall have no idea what hand flapping even is.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I am a rocker. If I don’t have a rocking chair handy, I will rock in place. The car is not a problem for sitting still as the motion of the car soothes me. I have verbal stims that come out when I am nervous. Saying the name of someone or something who soothes me over and over helps. I don’t want to distract from others when I stim, but neither will I hide them.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I fidget a lot for different reasons (mostly pain and anxiety) and people constantly give me those questionable looks. The idea of sitting still is so archaic, and what most people don’t understand is that the harder I focus to sit still the LESS attention I’m paying to what I am supposed to. Kids in school who have Autism, AD(H)D, anxiety or chronic pain issues and are constantly yelled at or reprimanded just break my heart. I wish I could tell them it is okay, they’re not weird, and that they’re okay to get it out. Like you said, don’t stifle the stim, or force down the fidgets ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  8. it’s so nice to “meet” you. Thank you for stopping by my blog. It gave me the opportunity to find you. Autism is very close to my heart, My friend’s child is autistic. I am paralyzed, confined to bed, and I fidget with my hands, Thank you for your transparency and sharing vital information with us.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. OMG I’ve never even heard of stimming till I read this but I do the toe bouncing, leg/foot jiggling, finger snapping, singing and so on all the time. I just thought it was me being me and I used to try hard not to do it in public. It’s kind of nice to know it’s not just an odd quirk I have there’s a reason behind it. Although I really need to learn to filter thought before speaking because some comments should apparently not be said

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Great Post!!! My son flaps and it is loud and aggressive and causes people to stop whatever they are doing to look at him. I really need to share that video.

    Liked by 1 person

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