When it comes to identifying autistic symptoms, most of the time, we look for things that are behavior- or development-based. The question now is, what about stimming? Even if you may have caught yourself engaging in a few activities that may be categorized as “stimming” behaviors, this does not indicate that you should immediately begin to worry about the situation. Keep in mind that it is extremely important to address with an expert any concerns that you may have regarding your health or behavior. In this way, you won’t receive anything but sound guidance, which will, in turn, put your mind at ease.
Let’s go deeper into the topic and determine the extent to which stimming is associated with autism.
Could Stimming Be an Indicator of Autism?
First things first, let’s get the definition of stimming out of the way. Stimming, aka self-stimulating activities, can refer to repetitive motions of the body or movements of items. Stimming can take place in either a person or an object. Stimming is a behavior that is common among people on the autism spectrum and can have a variety of purposes. And do you have any idea as to why, exactly?
One of the reasons is that it assists in the regulation of sensory input by either boosting stimulation or lowering sensory overload. Another reason is that it provides some kind of sensory reinforcement.
What are the various forms that stimming can take?
Stimming may take on a variety of forms, each of which is related to a particular sensory system. These include:
- Motions that support the vestibular sensory system, which helps control the balance and orientation of the body; or more isolated motions, such as hand flapping, rubbing, or stroking particular textures, and looking at rotating objects;
- Full body motions, such as spinning or rocking; these motions benefit the vestibular sensory system.
Does Stimming Always Indicate Autism Spectrum Disorder?
The short answer is: no. Stimming is a behavior that, contrary to popular belief, is rather common in young children (say, infants and toddlers) who are actually growing normally. These habits, on the other hand, frequently fade as babies get older.
Nevertheless, stimming is a behavior that may be shown by individuals who are not on the autism spectrum. For example, when was the last time you gave your hair a little twist?
Stimming is a common behavior for people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD); however, not all people with ASD engage in it to the extent where they hurt themselves or even where it becomes disruptive. However, when it does become problematic, that is when parents and support workers may question what they may do to cease the stimming behavior.
Why do people who have autism engage in stimming behaviors?
It’s not hard to comprehend the rationale behind it. A significant number of people who identify as being on the autism spectrum claim that they stim as this assists them in coping with and adjusting to their surroundings. In other instances, the habit may be utilized to retain focus and attention, while at other times, it may serve to relax the individual.