Hmm. Here's a question.
I've been doing a lot of thinking recently about Aspergers, High Functioning Autism, ASD. Whatever it's called.
Doing my history and trying to work "me" out, I find that there's a few things that don't really seem to make sense.
I don't recall as a kid having meltdowns, or needing routine, or hating change as such, but I also don't recall stimming.
Which brings me on to the questions. They say that there is a number of people on the spectrum who go undiagnosed. If stimming is such an integral part of being on the spectrum, then why is this behaviour not seen in childhood? How can they go through the net without a diagnosis?
Can you be on the spectrum without stimming or is there lots of kinds of stimming that actually, what could well be stimming may just be seen as a relatively normal behaviour for a child?
Toe stimming! One of my favourite habits. Socially acceptable and almost invisible, unless you know what to look for.
Until 5 minutes ago. I didn't consider it to be stimming.
I don't know if it is - but I've been doing it all my life. Sometimes it's just rhythmical tapping, other times its tapping along to an ear-worm accompanied by other finger tapping on bits of the body.Amongst other things I'm a musician, and was taught early not to tap my feet when performing (unless they are playing bass drum / hi hat pedals :) ) but that it was acceptable to tap a toe to keep rhythm. That was fine until I was wearing sandles at a rehearsal and one of my dancers was fascinated that I was toe-tapping whilst playing melodeon. To be honest, until he told me, I hadn't noticed myself.
Capers - that's funny! I play piano, just for my personal amusement. But I was pleased with one piece I'd learned, so decided to film myself playing it for upload to YouTube. It was only after I played the film back that I realised that I'd been chewing my tongue like crazy the whole way through! It looked like I had a mouthful of marbles! Needless to say, I scrapped the idea.
You've hit on something that I wasn't sure about either. I am in my 40s and it was only in recent years that I realised that I identified with Asperger's. Stimming is something that I hadn't really noticed before or put a name on. The most common examples given are spinning and flapping your hands which I have never done. Other suggestions were fiddling with your hair, but I think many people (especially people with long hair) are prone to fiddling with their hair, so that wasn't terribly helpful even though I do that.However, when I really started to think back to my childhood and adolescence I remember going through a period of clicking my throat. I remember it because it started to annoy my family and they kept telling me to stop. However, I found it difficult to stop doing it once I started and eventually started leaving the room to do it without anyone around me. Similarly I seem to remember doing things like blinking a set number of times. Again I found it difficult not to do it once I'd started doing it, I had to complete the routine.I think it must depend on why you are doing these things as to whether it is classed as stimming or not. I trained myself out of doing these things because I kept getting into trouble for doing them, so I'm not sure if there is anything I do now that would be classed as 'stimming' (possibly pinching my lips with my fingers, also I have a chronic pain condition and I often poke the area to make it hurt more). I can't remember fully why I did the things I did or what I felt whilst doing them, but I do know that I had difficulty not doing them, particularly if I'd started on a routine of doing them, and it took a long time to train myself to stop doing them. I'm not really sure why I poke for the pain, I guess to be sure I can feel it or something like that, it's become strangely like 'an old friend'.I guess anyone could 'stim', but the diagnosis for autism is about a whole range of things. Also to have grown up without any clue that you are autistic you just assume that anything you did or experienced was something that could have been experienced by anyone. So you don't really think about it or put a label on it. It just is what it is.
I know this is over a year old but I'm new to this site, I was recently diagnosed as being on the spectrum (only 5 months ago).I'd wondered this myself as I don't 'outwardly stim' like some people on the spectrum do. It was enough to make me panic & think that maybe I wasn't actually autistic (having some people around me that were so agressvely against me seeking diagnosis didn't help much either).But the more I researched, the more I realised that there aren't necessarily 'basic' stims that people do, there isn't a checklist on what every single stim is; or what they could be. I noticed that a common one for me is leg bobbing, & I mean non stop leg bobbing to the point where my leg muscles get tired. I also chew on the side of my tongue to the point where it gets sore & bleeds. I also pick my nails or just play with items in my hands (like pens etc). I also read up on 'hand flapping' when someone on ASD gets excited or happy, which I scoffed at at first, thinking 'oh I never do anything like that'.Then it dawned on me that whenever I'm chatting to my friends online, I would often write 'happy hand flappings' as a joke to depict my happiness or excitement at something, I even drew a silly picture of me doing it... Because I will always bloody flap my hands whenever I am really happy or excited about something lol. I even caught myself doing it the other night when I was playing a video game, I managed to tame a prehistoric horse on the game ARK, & I bounced in my chair & flapped my hand like an utter twit haha. Before being diagnosed, I never even noticed I did that.I also do something that is referred to as 'inwards stimming', where I will basically just shut myself off from the world, listen to music & escape into one of the many stories I have circling in my mind. I do this every single day, it helps me go to sleep, it keeps me calm when I'm out in public etc.I've only recently been diagnosed. I sought out diagnosis when I noticed a lot of similarities in myself & those on the spectrum, & although it's a relief to finally know why I am the way I am, I'm still learning & discovering a lot about myself. Reading up on people's personal experiences has always been a great help, because this is something that affects people in so many different ways, & as such it's a condition that also expresses itself in numerous different ways. You may not have an outwardly physical stim, but you probably do have one or two that you do but you just don't realise you're doing it.