Autism and Aspergers
By: Kasia Broz
Is nothing to be feared of.
It is just a different operating system.
Many individuals on the Autism Spectrum
Behave differently and get easily overwhelmed
With all of their quirks and sensitivities.
There are many reasons
For their quirky behaviors.
They need a form of release
When they just can't contain themselves.
That is when stimming occurs.
When they are happy, frustrated, anxious, and upset.
Some spin and flap their hands when they are excited and happy,
As well as squeal from excitement.
As far as anxiety goes,
They tend to fidget.
They show frustrations by having meltdowns.
Especially if they are being misunderstood
Or are having change in routine.
We Autistics thrive on routine
Because we like and feel comfortable with predictability.
The uncertainty and not knowing as to what will happen in advance
Induces our anxiety.
There is and will always be a reason for our behaviors
That trigger our meltdowns.
The best thing you can do is help identify
What may have caused the meltdowns in the first place,
And find a way to either prevent the trigger
From happening in the first place.
Or to help us better cope with the trigger.
We are more than a label.
We are all human beings.
If you look past our diagnosis
You will see just how full of awesomeness we really are.
Just like you,
A way for us to blossom
Is not to discourage our obsessions.
But to use our obsessions and passions
For further learning.
Because you never know
Our obsessions and passions
Could lead us to our career.
And thus succeed in life.
We may be on the spectrum,
We may be different
But we are not less.
We matter too in this world.
Many of us with and without Autism
Can contribute to this world.
There needs no cure for Autism.
The only cure we need is for ignorance.
We also need awareness, acceptance, and understanding
In this world.
** Stimming is another word for Self-Stimulation.
Autism West Midlands has a helpful information sheet that explains what stimming is and has some tips on helping an autistic individual redirect self-injurious stims. It's formatted as a 2-page PDF, making it easy to share by email or in printed form.
Welcome to the Stimming! Blog, where we share articles, blog posts, videos and artwork that celebrate stimming. Is there something you'd like us to feature here? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We're looking for links to published videos, art or writing that are stimming positive as well as original art, photos or writing. If you send us something original to publish on the Stimming! Blog, be sure that it's your own work and mention in the email that we have your permission to share it here.
It’s sad but I’ve never had putty
Not even when I was a child
Maybe my parents thought that having such fun
Would be too much and just send me wild
Now books I had in abundance
And now I have even more
I arrange them by colour for it makes me smile
And to leave them would make my brain sore
(Yes seriously – how can anyone live with messy shelves??)
I’ve bought a chain bracelet to put on my wrist
It’s there in a comforting way
But you know I bought more, from your fabulous store
And now I just sit here and play!
Thank you to extendedexile for granting permission to share this here.
I have been thinking a lot lately about my stimming, or rather my lack of stimming. I have come to the conclusion that I have been suppressing my stims for very many years, and that this has been extremely detrimental. All my life, I have been described as ‘highly strung’, ‘like a coiled spring’. Massage therapists have commented on how much tension I store in my body, my pilates teacher talks about the ‘ropes of steel’ in my neck. About ten years ago, I developed costocondritis (inflammation of the connective tissue in the rib cage) which is known to be stress and tension related.
When I first figured out that I’m autistic, I was rather puzzled by my apparent lack of stims. Then I became aware that I tend to sit hunched with my legs crossed and any free hands wedged between or under them. And I realised that certain activities, which I find very soothing, could perhaps be viewed as a form of stimming – for example, pilates exercises, knitting, spending hours picking the varnish off an old table with my fingernail(!)
Since then, I have begun to allow myself to stim a little. At first, as soon as I became aware that I was doing it, I stopped myself – I couldn’t help it, I just had to stop. Gradually I am learning to let it happen. And the tension in my body is gradually subsiding. And the costocondritis is easing up. And I am feeling very much better for it!
My daughter’s stims are a delight! I am learning from her all the time…
Annabelle Listic has made a series of "Way to Stim Wednesday" videos in which she demonstrates and talks about different ways to stim. Below is an example - you can see the rest on her youtube channel.
The Stimming Checklist is a huge list of different types of stims submitted by autistic people from all over the world. Started by Autisticook, it is currently maintained by three autistic adults as a way to increase knowledge, acceptance and awareness of stimming.
If you stim, you can Add a Stim to the Checklist
Stimming isn’t just a coping mechanism. It’s much more than that. Stimming is a positive part of autistic experience, not an unfortunate-but-functionally-important thing we have to do.
This post on the Real Social Skills Tumblr compares stimming to facial expressions and tone of voice as a way to help readers understand that stimming is more than just a coping mechanism.