When does normal stimming become abnormal stimming

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League_Girl
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11 May 2016, 3:00 pm

and when does nervous habits become abnormal stimming?

The common stims that are found in every day humans are finger drumming, pacing, tapping, leg bouncing, pen clicking, and nail biting and finger chewing are called nervous habits.

My son often bites his nails in school and will chew on the tip of his fingers, he also chews on his shirt sleeve and the collar of his shirt. At home he seldom chews the tip of his fingers while watching youtube. The school district thinks these are autism things so they marked it as him doing self stimulation or restricted behavior because of the intensity of him doing it, he does it all the time there. My mom read that in the evaluation report and called it bullshit and said "that is a nervous habit, not a self stimulation. I used to bite my nails when I was nervous and I still do it sometimes." She said the same about his clothes biting too so that is why my son is waiting for an upcoming evaluation so he can be tested professionally.

But I have read online that nail biting being called an autistic stim and it being done for a nervous habit, I have seen some autistic people say online how they will drum their fingers or tap when nervous or concentrating. Isn't that normal behavior in humans? Don't lot of people do it when they are nervous or concentrating?

Are people on the spectrum pathologizing their stims? When does a normal stim become an autistic stim? Does it have to annoy tons of people for it to be an autistic stim and not be able to stop when they tell you to? Does it have to be done for how long a day? Five hours? An hour? I remember being in 6th grade I was druming my fingers on my notebook while listening and the teachers made a big deal about it because they wrote it in their journal that always went home with me to my parents. But if that was normal, either I was doing it the autistic way or ADHD way or the anxiety way or they were pathologizing me and for years I thought finger drumming was an abnormal thing to do and then I find out as an adult it's actually *gasp* normal. Looking back I don't think I was nervous when doing it because I wasn't feeling any tension. I was just sitting and listening to the teacher talk and I was looking around the area and at my notebook while tapping my fingers on it. I bet if I were to ask my mom about it, she wouldn't know and tell me they were just stupid. That is what she has called them before behind their backs because of how they were treating me back then. According to her they wanted me to be perfect.


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Son: Diagnosed w/anxiety and ADHD. Also academic delayed.

Daughter: NT, no diagnoses.


Dawn Crow
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11 May 2016, 4:10 pm

Hahahaha

I have been to several schools and there were always kids who did that. Some of them did it all the time, but were certainly not autistic. In one school that behavior was associated with being 'cool' because the cool kids did it. So people did it to feel cool. That behavior was far more common in younger children; it slowly decreased as people got older.

There were a few people who weren't autistic, but they had their own form of mental stimulation. Some also had nervous stimulation that was only in their mind.

Something I learned very quickly was that people narrow their view when they're looking for something, especially when it comes to autism. Even at 10 years old I noticed tonnes of these traits in other children, so I pointed that out. Their response was: "Ah, well x might have autism too."

At that point I realized they were idiots.



seaweed
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11 May 2016, 5:29 pm

wow this is a really good question. i consider finger tapping, nail biting, leg bouncing, and things like that typical forms of stimming for humans too, and especially in school where energetic children are made to quietly sit in contained spaces and perform academically. i think it's a completely acceptable reason for compulsive repetitive movements. it's likely that your son's chewing habit at school is more excessive than average, but i don't think that necessarily means its pathological or even significant unless he consistently chews his fingernails until they bleed. i notice people engaging in self stimulating behaviors in academic contexts all the time, like a girl who will write the same words over and over again in her notebook to help her concentrate during lectures...the only difference between that and finger tapping being how noticeable it is. plus teachers probably think that she is taking detailed notes while they probably think the person who is frenetically tapping their fingers and looking around the room is bored and not paying enough attention.
its too confusing to try to classify stimming behaviors into normal and abnormal but i do like how you're thinking about it in terms of how other people perceive the behavior, how frequently it occurs and in what situations, and to what extent its able to be controlled.



Erewhon
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11 Jul 2019, 5:57 am

Language is German, it means "Normal people are making me afraid"

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Erewhon
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05 Nov 2019, 11:52 am

Trying to be normal.
When in trying to be normal, i do the opposite way. The picture below show in the right-under part my kind of face.
Trying to normal is making myself fake, just as fake as CNN, Everybody see that i am fake when i try to be normal, unfortunely the fakers from CNN the mayority of people dont see there faking the globe.

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chemicalsandotherpeopleswords
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08 Dec 2019, 8:43 am

I mean, he's a kid, and he's obviously not doing anything wrong, anyway.



aquafelix
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09 Dec 2019, 4:06 am

Can there be any consensus of opinion on what makes just about anything abnormal? or even what makes something a definitely a stim or not.

Stimming can be unhelpful sometimes (engaging in an activity excessively at the expense of developing life skills -all things in moderation), or harmful (causes serious physical harm or attracts the harmful attention of predatory people).



skibum
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09 Dec 2019, 9:08 am

How does he feel about chew toys? Sensory chew pencil toppers might be great for him. He can be discreet and chew them at school all day long. And a chew stim toy is much healthier than biting nails or fingers.

Whether or not it's normal, who knows. It's normal for him, it's just what he does. You can ask him if he is anxious and if he is you can help him with that. But if he is simply a chewer, than that's just him. Give him something healthy and discreet to chew on.

https://www.amazon.com/CHEW-STIXX-cspt1 ... B075CL8K6S

https://www.arktherapeutic.com/pencil-topper-chews/


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