Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Self Stimulatory Behaviors

The majority of individuals on the spectrum have a "stim". A stim is a self stimulatory behavior which is repetitive body movements or repetitive movement of objects. Researchers have suggested various reasons for why a person may stim. One set of theories suggests that these behaviors provide the person with sensory stimulation . Due to some dysfunctional system in the brain, the body craves stimulation; and thus, the person engages in these behaviors to excite or arouse the nervous system. Another reason why people with autism stim is  that these behaviors release beta-endorphins in the body and provides the person with some form of internal pleasure.

Others stim because these behaviors are exhibited to calm a person. That is, the environment is too stimulating and the person is in a state of sensory-overload. As a result, the individual engages in these behaviors to block-out the over-stimulating environment; and his/her attention becomes focused inwardly.

Trenton has had numerous stims. His main ones that he always reverts back to is verbal stims with noises from his mouth and the constant rearranging of his toys, his constant pacing, etc. Often a person may refer to autism as a person who flaps their arms and hands. A few years ago Trenton flapped for about a 24 hour period but that was it. Trenton has started flapping again about nine days ago and he is still doing it a lot. I wonder how long it will last this time.

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