Hidden Stimming

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?


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  • 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.

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