Thursday, May 8, 2014

Just keep stimming, just keep stimming... what do we do we STIM and STIM

If you aren't too familiar with the special needs lingo, "stimming" is short for self-stimulatory behavior.  It is seem a lot in autistic kids - the flapping of hands, rocking back and forth, spinning around...  The list is endless.  Technically most of us running around this planet stim in our own way, maybe you twirl your hair or jiggle your leg under the table when you're anxious (that's the one I do that drives my godmom crazy!).  The difference is that most of the time when we notice ourselves doing these things we can and will stop them. Kids like Little Man don't have that "off" switch to stop stimming and so... they don't.  They can stim all day long and since it feels great, they see no earthly reason to stop just because we say - hey, watching you do that is driving me insane and/or is a terrible idea!

I've written about a few of Little Man's stims before, but as he grows and changes so do his stims.  For a long time he loved to rock and bounce.  He still occasionally does the jumping on the couch but as he's gotten bigger I think the pillows aren't at the right height for his head any more and so he has really cut back on that particular stim.  One of his more difficult ones to control was when he liked to put his hands to his throat and hum, sometimes pinching the skin of his neck while he did it.  I'm very happy to say that after approximately 10,000 times of us saying "Little Man, NO HANDS!" and redirecting him to other choices - he no longer does this particular stim.  HURRAY!   He has moved on to constantly having his hands on his ears, not a stim really, he just avoids paying any attention to us or the noises around him this way.  But with his hands on his ears he doesn't have time to hum and pinch.

His newest obsession is the green music button on Vegas' exersaucer or the button on Vegas' bear-toy learning thing (obviously I am a pro at describing children's toys).  As far as stims go it's pretty benign. It's just annoying. as. crap.  Every five seconds you hear the horrible screech of some sort of Chuckie child singing "I AM A BEAR A HUNGRY BEAR A HAPPY BEAR A SLEEPY BEAR"... And eventually after a few hours my eye starts to twitch and I get really pleasant to my husband.  So we turn off the exersaucer and hide the bear, and Vegas' gets the short end of the stick on having cool musical toys because his brother steals them and makes them unbearable for the rest of us.

We have a big basket of Vegas' toys that I can take out for him to play with during the day and hide when Little Man gets home.  It's the only way to prevent Vegas' toys from being chewed up and spit out, literally.  I accidentally left out a set of those teether car keys and when I found them an hour after Little Man had gotten hold of them they were completely destroyed.  *Sigh* Chewing is still Little Man's biggest sensory thrill.  He tears the crap out of board books and chewy tubes and pillows and window ledges and ... really anything that is within biting distance.  Surprisingly he still has pretty nice looking teeth, but we'll see when he starts getting permanent ones...

I leave you with an outtake of a photo I took of the boys "playing" together (also known as, 'How many times can I press the button until Mom moves me away from the toy?').  I call this outtake "Lemme See Those Teef!"

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