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What is Stimming?

Stimming, also known as self-stimulating behaviors or stereotypy, are repetitive body movements or repetitive movements of objects. Many individuals on the autism spectrum engage in routine stimming. Stimming behaviors in individuals on the autism spectrum may include full-body or more isolated motions.

These may include, but are not limited to:

  • Hand and Finger Mannerisms (Finger flicking and hand flapping can lead to tactile mannerisms)

  • Tactile Mannerisms (Fist clenching, skin rubbing or scratching, with the hands or objects)

  • Upper Body Momentums (Rocking the body back and forth while sitting or standing, spinning, jumping, and pacing)

  • Visual Stimulation (Looking at something sideways, moving fingers in front of the eyes)

  • Taste and Smell Stimulation (A person's sense of smell and taste, sniffing or smelling people or objects, licking/tasting objects by placing them in the mouth.

What other stims can be added to this list?

In this short clip, First Responder Trainer, Margie Headlund, explains what stimming can look like and how to communicate calmly with visibly distressed individuals who are stimming during an emergency.


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