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What is Stimming?

Updated: Mar 4, 2022

What is stimming?

Wang (n.d.) explains the meaning of stimming as repetitive behaviors, such as movement and/or speech. Stimming is one of the signs/symptoms of Autism. When I was really young, I used to rock back and forth, bang my head against the wall, and spin in circles nonstop. There are many reasons that Autistics stim:

  • Over or under stimulation = sensory input (less or more)

  • pain reduction

  • management of emotions/ self-regulation: negative and positive emotions displayed through movements or sounds

Is stimming an issue? Stimming is not an issue because it can be calming and soothing for Autistic children and adults. Although, if stimming interferes with learning, causes harm to others and/or themselves, or leads to emotionally harmful social reactions, then it should be addressed. Here are ways to handle these kinds of stimming behaviors mentioned:

  1. Safe and peaceful environment! Adjust the environment by creating a peaceful, safe environment filled of sensory toys to maximize comfort for everyone. It is all up to you!

  2. Good relationship with an Autistic child/adult! This means to spend time with an Autistic child/adult. For an example, join in stimming with them through exercising. The benefits are relationship building and creating healthy routines for everyone.

  3. Get medical exams! Sometimes stimming can be due to undetected health issues that an Autistic child/adult is experiencing, such as ear infections or migraines. By having an Autistic child/adult checked up yearly from a doctor, this helps eliminates any health issues.

Did you know Autistic children and adults are not the only ones who stim? Have you experienced stimming yourself?


Wang, K. (n.d.). Autism and Stimming. Child Mind Institute.

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