This was an exceptionally informative piece which Fionn (then 14) tried to explain the lack of sufficient brain feedback. Or the need for more noise. Or all those things that make NO sense to us parents. BUT this was borrowed by an Occupational Therapist as it was more on the ball than all the theory she had learnt.   

This is – according to Fionn- about why aspies stim.

i do a lot of things, and they are here. This blog was one i wrote about it a while back. like now i have 2 new ones. i whistle which drives everyone mad.

and i tap a new patter rhythm really fast with all 5 fingers. i can’t stop it.



Mum saw this picture today, and thought it was good!

I didn’t know the word for some of the moves and things i do now and i used to do…but now i have it.

It has to do with sensory issues. And with everybody autistic there is either way to much sensory things happen and you have to block them out, or not enough and you have to do some!

  • if i go into a quiet place…i turn on the TV and then i do whatever …
  • i hum in school cos it is quiet
  • but if there is a noisy place in school i go away from it and sit in a corner and read and my reading closes out the noise.
  • at Mass, or when my body is meant to sit quiet, it needs to move….so i tap my feet, dig my nails into the wooden chairs, twist my feet up onto the chair behind me.
  • sometimes after school if i feel i had to be quiet for a long time or if i am stressed i need to do helicopters and stuff…that is spinning round in circles pretty fast til you get a bit dizzy.
  • for years i tapped and tapped and tapped…there was a Doctor Who rhythm of the Master and it got in my head for years!! I used to do it on the desk, and when i was told to stop i did it with my feet on the floor.
  • i used to do this clicking “tutting” sound when i was stressed when i was talking…like a tick before i would start a phrase.
  • sometimes i would rub my fingers past each other but tapping them on the table. That drives my bigger brother nuts.
  • i ALWAYS used to rock on the chair – especially in primary school…a few times i did it so much i would fall and be embarrassed…but i couldn’t help it cos i needed to move.
  • chewing on objects has always been a problem. When I was really little when babies put things in their mouths i used to have 5 dummies. 1 in my mouth and 2 in each hand and i used to change them when the one in my mouth would get warm, so it was a bit like juggling.
  • i used to when i got a bit older still like to have objects in each hand …so i used to grab wee guys 0r wee action figures and although i didn’t notice what i was doing, i would chew the heads off them. Then when they were ugly they were no use.
  • i then used to chew my pencils..and my classroom assistant used to go mad.
  • i went through a real phase of pencil sharpening…it was great cos i could get up and move off my seat AND use both my hands…my classroom assistant had to ration that one, cos i was chopping though pencils.
  • this year in school i use pens a fair bit. i don’t really chew them cos they plastic is snappy, but i accidentally suck up the ink and the pens stop working and then mum goes crazy at me! Then when i notice the pen is full of saliva i am grossed out and i never use it again!
  • i used to have chew toys…but they are mostly quite female so i would still chew my clothes sleeves by accident…especially when i am stressed.
  • i had different fidget toys from mum and from school and from the OT. The stretchy ones were good…but then i would forget and bite them.
  • there were other other fidget toys but i could take them apart and make noises with them and disturb the rest of the class…so they weren’t good.
  • I had the cushions with movement so i could move but i still needed to move more.
  • i need my knees up in front of me…one folded under my bum and the other one in front of me like this.IMG_00000092This tight position makes me feel compressed…which is the only way i manage not to move. My school are good and have got really used to my sit…and i do even get away with it on the science lab stools…even if i fall, it doesn’t matter as much, but if i had to sit another way i couldn’t concentrate!
  • I usually sit on a sofa with mum or dad, cos my feet are usually like a monkeys cos i like them bare and i like to move them  feeling things with them. I can lift things up with my toes! My mum says i have hobbit feet – not cos they are hairy, but i have toes with spaces between them and they are long and flat feet.IMG_00000093
  • When i am doing homework and am close up with mum i with either like the fabric in her clothes and be touching it without noticing – especially if it is a really cottonny top or HATE it if it has the hard threads of the man made fabrics….then my hands kness and feet all MOVE AWAY!
  • if there is a smell i hate – like agriculture i have to use one of my other senses to shut it out. Sometimes i need a squish (a compression hug).
  • oh there is one noise i do and i hear mum immediately “Fionn you are doing that whistling thing!” and i don’t know i am…
  • One time when i was about 3 years younger there was a really weird disturbing body odor smell at Mass. I couldn’t cope…i had to move back and forth in different chairs but it was still in my nose. Mum had to put a tiny piece of perfume out of her bag on my wrist so i could block out the smell. When it wore off i had to get it done again.
  • That day because i could hardly cope with it, i was clapping my hands without noticing and was very autistic to see.
  • There is ONE other big one i do and it drives my whole family NUTS…i can’t pass a musical instrument without playing on it for a while. Its like i have no choice but make tunes…
  • oh and sometimes i like to feel pressure upside down so i kinda do headstands on the sofa..or lie down with my legs up the wall pressing against the wall with my bare feet,
  • PARENTS and TEACHERS need to understand about STIMMING. We can’t help it. Our senses are “sensatious” and need more information than normal people’s and so it isn;t a behaviour it is your brain needing to do something.
  • i hope this helps some parents to understand.
Stim, stims or stimming is short for “self stimulation”. Almost everyone does it(tapping feet, cracking knuckles, twiddling thumbs), but in autistic people these behaviors are more pronounced and may seem downright strange. Autistic people often engage in stimming when they are stressed, to self regulate and sometimes to express emotion. Common autistic stims are: rocking back and forth, headbanging(not the music kind), finger flicking/rippling, spinning, humming, repeating words or sounds and complex body contortions.
Good music makes me stim a lot. Stimming shouldn’t be discouraged, it’s a means for me to understand my environment.