Monday, July 7, 2014

Autism and "Stimming"

How many of you out there have ever heard of the word, "stim?" I never had, until Dominic was diagnosed with Autism. Stimming is another word for "self-stimulating" behavior. Two examples of that type of behavior are head banging and spinning around in circles.  Dominic did some head banging when he was a lot littler, but thankfully, it didn't last too long. If you sometimes see a little girl or boy who has Autism wearing a helmet, they most likely are a head banger. Believe me, it's for their own protection. Dominic also likes to turn around in circles and telling him he'll get dizzy is useless. He rarely does that now. There is also verbal "stimming" which is also known as "scripting."  That is the repetition of sentences or phrases. It can be a sentence or phrase heard from a teacher, parent, sibling, friend or possibly even the television or a movie. It could have been something heard yesterday or five years ago.  This is definitely the most frequent "stimming" behavior we observe in Dominic. He will resort to this particular behavior when he is overstimulated or understimulated.   An awesome DVD that my little sister recommended to me at least five years ago is called Baby Babble. I would highly recommend it, even if your child doesn't have speech delays or special needs. Here is the link to the website: . Anyways, Dominic watched the Baby Babble DVD so much when he was younger, that he memorized several parts of it. What's good about his scripting now, is that when I ask him what show or movie he is talking about, he can tell me.  The other day, he was saying something like, "speech and language development, your child should begin to babble."  When I asked where he had heard that phrase, he said, "Baby Babble!"  For the past week, he has been saying, "another one, I told your little friend I wouldn't pay for that!" I recognize that phrase as coming from an episode of Spongebob.  Dominic's last day of elementary school was great, but it certainly wasn't his usual routine. After waiting through a long assembly to receive his certificate, he then hopped onto my lap.

We next went down to his classroom and then told him that he would ride the bus home. Since it was the last day of school, he had a half-day, so he was home about four or so hours earlier than normal. After he had some lunch, he didn't know quite what do with himself.  For most of the afternoon and into the early evening, he resorted back to his "scripting." It's okay for a while, but if Dominic starts traveling a little too far down that "road" we say, "stop the movie!" That usually snaps him out of it. It's a phrase that his former social worker, Miss Celeste, told us to use many years ago. It still works too!! We really miss her, she was awesome!! I still keep in touch with her and plan to for a very long time - we love her! Once in a great while, he will be so into his "movie" that he will act like he can't hear us and he will go all the way to the end of his "script" before he will acknowledge us.  Dominic does scripting on and off throughout the day and we are so used to it, that we barely notice it anymore. We have come to accept that it is just what makes Dominic who he is - an integral part of our family!!


  1. Dominic is so lucky to have a family that accepts him for who he is, and also encourages him to be as much as he can be. He is a very lucky boy. Love, Auntie

  2. Dominic sounds like quite the character! I agree with Auntie up there! He is lucky to have a family that loves and accepts him for who he really is! I know it can't always be easy to listen to the same sentences over and over. My daughter asks the same questions over and over and I must admit that it does drive me crazy sometimes. That and her tapping rhythms with her little glass rocks!


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