We went bowling today, something the kids really wanted to do. Harry was super excited and loved watching the score board numbers change and each time it did, he stimmed.
He was rapidly blinking, whilst slightly leaning over to one side and raising his arm on the side that wasn’t leaned and waving his hand back and fourth, followed by a few spins. He was excited, but to onlookers we did have a few sniggers & stares.
Harrys stims are not always the same, but I have become in tune to the characteristics during the stims, that coincide with an emotion. But one thing that is the same is they are always repetitive, all of these I have listed below he does over and over.
• When he is angry or frustrated, he tends to tap sides of his head using fingertips or palms. He tends to hard blink, like a blink that then forms into a squint.
• When he is sad, he tends to rub his head into me or the sofa. He can also tend to tap the front of his head with his fingertips. As well as pace the same trail, like a map that’s in his mind.
• When he is anxious, he tends to bite his bottom lip/ suck his bottom lip in a hold it with his teeth over and over. He tends to repeat words or phrases. Chewing his fingers/ and grabbing his tongue with his fingers.
• When he is happy or excited, he tends to rub his feet together. He increases the volume in his voice and tends to shout words/ repeating words. He spins/ twirls and will also throw himself on the floor too and rolls around.
In the photo above he is mushing his head into Jess another stim.
When Harry was younger he did use to bang his head off things like the sofa and he use to drag his face along the carpet. Which took me a while to help him divert onto other stims that are less damaging to him.
A misconception we face is that because Harry speaks about how he feels at times, that he won’t stim too. And because his stims are not always something people would look out for in him, they miss cues about how he is feeling.
Stimming isn’t something that’s often talked about, especially if a stim is a behaviour that may go against society’s expectations. But to be aware of stimming, can help give an insight into how the child is feeling.
Not all stims are written in medical text books. Because it’s a personal behaviour, meaning an individual will find a way that’s best suited to them because they are in control of their bodies.