Stimming is: Self-stimulatory behaviour – or stimming – is repetitive or unusual body movement or noises. My son stims though as he gets older I’ve noticed the type of stimming has changed. He would pace and pace, making the whole floor shake when in the house doing it. He would tell me my body just wiggles. He still paces, but I have seen a reduction as he gets older.
Last Friday I attended a Special Needs Summit at our local university and the top of stimming came up. The summit included a panel of college age children that were all diagnosed. I can say it was amazing and I learned so much! During the panel though, the topic of stimming was discussed and the panel all agreed that one of their mutual stimming examples that they all seemed to have moved to was viewing youtube videos. I have to say this brought me to tears as I realized what all that time my son was now doing spending watching youtube! All the times I was feeling like a horrible parent for letting my son watch youtube hours on end. I have to add for me I felt that it was reducing the risk of him falling as he paced, as he has a hard time with coordination and we have hard wood floors, so once in a while pacing would lead to everything from stubbed toes to bruised knees.
I suddenly was struck by the fact that as he has gotten older I don’t hear the pacing indoors as much. He does have a stimming behavior of chewing every straw he encounters, which until recently I didn’t have a clue was also stimming….. As a parent we slowly learn and do our best not to stop behavior without research first…..
It does make me wonder how to respond to the people saying limit screen time, at the same time as battling with the autism mom mind knowing my child needs to stimming to regulate his own behavior? Luckily as an autism mom I have gotten good at totally ignoring what people think of my parenting skills.