If you are not familiar with stimming: It’s a way (mostly) autistic people calm themselves down in different situations. The word stands short for “self-stimulatory behavior”. I do it when I am in stressful situations such as being on a bus, sitting in a crowded lecture hall, or shopping at a mall. But I also do it when I am at home, even if I am not stressed out, just because it’s a nice and calming feeling. There are different ways to stim. Some people like to chew on stuff, some stim via different motions of their body (you have surely heard of autistic people rocking back and forth), some enjoy touching different textures, some love colors – there’s a lot of ways to stim.
I, personally, enjoy touching things (not people though 😉 ), but I also rock back and forth (when I need to concentrate very hard in a noisy and stressful environment) and I flap my hands (when I am very nervous and stressed). While I am not ashamed of being autistic, I don’t really want everyone around me to see me rocking or hand flapping. There were a lot of people – especially at school – who called me retarded or weird, so I try to stim in a less obvious way whenever possible.
As touching different textures really calms me down I always carry some toys in my backpack for when I am at university or generally outside my home. The picture shows just some of my favorite stim toys. The little plush fox was a gift from my boyfriend. It is very, very soft and I like rubbing it against my cheeks or just generally petting it. The glittery brown stuff is “intelligent putty”, which was a gift from an autistic friend of mine. I just like to squidge it in my hands. I believe you can buy this on amazon – I would really recommend it as the texture is very intriguing. My putty looks like lava and is also a bit glittery, so you get a visual sensory input as well. It comes in a lot of different colors though. I also enjoy tangles at lot. This one I just bought at a local toy store. This particular tangle has some kind of “felt cover”, which makes touching it very soft and pleasant. In times I don’t have a stim toy at hand, I also enjoy rubbing my fingers against each other or against my shirt. But I also sometimes twirl my hair or flick my fingers against my cheeks.
Stimming is very important to me. I don’t think I could handle life without any stimming. It’s essential for my well-being. What’s your favorite stim?