Sharing: Stimming vs Fidgeting…

Yes!  I wholeheartedly agree.   Stimming may be embarrassing to some, or maybe to others around them, but if this applies to you, please, please consider giving yourself permission to do so whenever you need to.  It’s a natural and healthy activity.   Excellent post that goes into much better–and much clearer–detail than any of my posts on this topic.   Liberty of Thinking is a fabulous blogger of a fabulous blog.  One of my earliest friends on the Asperger’s/autism spectrum.   I find his balance of logic and feeling very cool (for lack of a better word! I’ll try to come up with a better one ASAP).  🙂  ❤

Aspergreatness - Liberty of Thinking

MagnificentHummingbird flapping is living

I personally think it is unfortunate that many NDs have so easily accepted that stimming is “just” the autistic version of fidgeting, because as I see it, the difference is actually neurobiological.

The problem starts with wrongly associating stimming with anxiety relief, concentration and other similar, secondary types of human behaviour, because while fidgeting does certainly and most of the time unconsciously assist with especially concentration or stress relief, stimming, as a behaviour sequence mostly specific to autistic conditions, is actually a primary neurobiological undertaking, with a very clear role in an autistic individual’s life.

If an autistic person would observe themselves while stimming, they would notice that the stimming activity they are engaged in, requires their dedicated attention, through which the stimming routine is carried out according to a deeply ingrained routine. Stimming is as important as any other autistic routine, probably even more important, because…

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22 Comments

  1. Meh; I try to keep it to a minimum in public if at all possible because as you mentioned, it’s kind of embarrassing and people think you’re just weird. Alas, sometimes you just have to get it out. I imagine it’s similar for people with Tourettes trying to control their tics as much as possible.

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    1. Yep 🙂 I can definitely relate! For me, it depends on the stim (I have a little stim tool box to choose from lol). Wiggling my foot = definitely OK; I’m a bit more selective about when/where I start looking for those hair split-ends, though. 😉 ❤

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    2. I honestly hope that a day may come when no one with Asperger’s/HFA would need to hide their specific stimms because of embarrassment fears…
      That day would probably coincide with the day when publicly rolling a mini rugby ball between one’s two index fingers, of humming elaborate symphonies while conducting an unseen neural orchestra, flapping around in a shop, drawing and painting on the air sheet covering the fixed gaze of one’s eyes, or listening to music while pursuing complicated hand and finger choreographies would stop being “weird” for NT people, just because they do none of these…
      Best wishes 👾🖖

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Totally agreed, MBY/LOT! I love how you put that, too – “publicly rolling a mini rugby ball between one’s two index fingers, of humming elaborate symphonies while conducting an unseen neural orchestra, flapping around in a shop, drawing and painting on the air sheet covering the fixed gaze of one’s eyes, or listening to music while pursuing complicated hand and finger choreographies would stop being “weird” for NT people” – awesome, awesome, AWESOME ❤ xxx

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        1. Yay, thank you 🤗
          That’s the perks of being 2E, actually 4E, Asperger’s/dyslexia/dyspraxia/dyscalculia which means my “genius” is a melting pot of contradictions, resulting in a capacity to think and compose syntactical sequences of words thinking through the rules of 6 languages I use, similar to choreographies, but using image-like words which seek their own connexions between each other, where my mind is both the stage, the conductor and the orchestra…
          But I can’t find the right change in my own hand without the cashier’s help 🤓

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  2. I am convinced that all humans stim to some degree or other. Anyone with anxiety issues uses repetitive actions to sooth. It’s simply that autistics have higher levels of anxiety than the general population and also can find it harder to maintain emotional control, so the self soothing actions rise to the surface more. How many people bite nails, shake their legs or feet, twiddle finger and thumb, etc. Even smoking can be seen as a form of stimming I believe. But NTs have a greater ability to rein it in when necessary, in social settings, at work etc, whereas autistics don’t. Also the level of stim can be much more intense in autistics due to uneven sensory sensitivity issues (hyper or hypo). Not every self harmer is autistic, not every finger twiddler is autistic, not every rhythmic teeth grinder (that’s me) is autistic, but they can hide it better than us.

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      1. All points of view are welcome, however I believe it’s a question of degree and intensity. Nail biting, hair twirling and foot tapping are also considered stims and are common in NTs. It’s not hard to find references to these as stims. Stroking a pet is known to lower blood pressure and as such could be considered a form of stim, stimulation via repeated touch in order to sooth. That last one is simply my opinion though.

        Liked by 3 people

      1. I have had multiple ulcers and cysts on the inside of my lower lip from chewing and biting there. My jaw really aches after a stressful day and my teeth are all ground down flatter, even the front ones. Dentist has suggested a soft bite guard, but I can’t bring myself to get one as it’s a daytime habit, not night.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Ouch! I guess my hypersensitivity has helped me a bit since I just have some scarring and cracked molars but no ulcers, cysts, etc. (Connective tissue disorder makes my tissues uber delicate) I used to chew gum incessantly but had to stop when my teeth became too soft. Have you tried gum chewing?

          Liked by 2 people

          1. I have thought about that, but it’s not really acceptable in my workplace, where I possibly need it most. I’m a terrible pen chewer as well haha. So I take my own pens so I’m not picking up pens handled by others (ick, germs 😉).

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          2. “… cracked molars but no ulcers, cysts, etc. (Connective tissue disorder makes my tissues uber delicate)”

            Oh wow, you too? Ugh, same here. Mine is Ehlers-Danlos (EDS). Sucks the big one. I feel you,
            my friend ❤

            Liked by 2 people

        2. “I have had multiple ulcers and cysts on the inside of my lower lip from chewing and biting there” – OMG, you too? I lived my junior high and high school days that way. Ouch! I know what you mean about the mouth guard, too. My dentist suggested one as well, but yeah, I clench during the day, not at night. ❤

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