What can/do others do to calm you down?

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lattes
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25 Jan 2013, 9:01 am

I am a NT dad (not really but let's go with NT for now) with a 6yo AS son.

I am still trying to figure all this stuff out so please bear with me.

My son will stim to calm himself down in a number of ways, what is the best thing others can do to help you when you are stimming? How about when you were a kid?

I ask because I know that sometimes taking him in my arms/lap helps a lot, and sometimes he just bats me away. I respect either decision. A lot of the time jokes help, but sometimes not.

Thanks so much
d



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25 Jan 2013, 9:22 am

When one stims, the best thing you can do is... just let him stim as much as he wants.

It is a natural coping mechanism, and is usually harmless. Don't be afraid of it - try to accept it as a normal part of your son's life.


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Last edited by Unseen on 25 Jan 2013, 9:27 am, edited 1 time in total.

PTSmorrow
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25 Jan 2013, 9:27 am

The best way others can treat me is to leave me alone. The worst way is to ask for explanations or start a lengthy discussion about my behavior. I really don't need that.



izzeme
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25 Jan 2013, 9:46 am

it depends on the source en intensity of the stress.
at all times, removing that which causes the stress will greatly help, but it is rarely just one thing, and if i am too far into a meltdown, anything can be stressful, making this course of action almost inpossible, although it will prevent escalation if noticed early enough.

there are indeed times that i need a deep, strong hug (not a light one though, that only makes it worse), while at other times i just need time for myself.
as a rule of thumb (for me, your son might be completely different), when i am stressed due to sensory input (noise, lights, touch), i need to be left alone, while emotional stress (bullying, painful images or an attack of lonelyness) is easily fixed by a good hug.

to know what works for your son, noone but him knows, i think you are doing the best you can do already. the only extra thing you can do that i can think of is just asking him if he needs a hug or not, when he is stimming, since this is the only way to know for sure



lattes
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25 Jan 2013, 10:12 am

Much appreciated, he goes pretty non-verbal when he starts to stim so asking can be tough but I will defo keep in mind the stimuli induced stimming vs. the emotionally hurt stimming because when I think about it now I think he is likely in about the same boat for hands off/hands on.



lattes
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25 Jan 2013, 10:25 am

Oh, as a note. It isn't that I want my son not to stim or that it makes me uncomfortable.

As I understand it, one stims when one is uncomfortable, he is my son and I want to comfort him.



PTSmorrow
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26 Jan 2013, 12:12 am

lattes wrote:
Oh, as a note. It isn't that I want my son not to stim or that it makes me uncomfortable.

As I understand it, one stims when one is uncomfortable, he is my son and I want to comfort him.


"Uncomfortable" is not the exact description or at least not all it is about. You may interpret stimming similar to other habits, e.g. a person feeling insecure or nervous tapping their feet, cracking knuckles, bending paper clips and similar stuff. Stimming also occurs out of joy or positive excitement, at least in some individuals.

I don't think it is a good idea to "comfort" him. If I get you right, you want to take influence on how he is feeling and that's basically not helpful. He needs to handle those feelings by himself and express them in a way that is appropriate for him.



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26 Jan 2013, 2:33 pm

What helps me is if everyone just leaves me ABSOLUTELY alone....no looking at me, no lecturing at me (i.e. this is going to get better, I was just like you when I was your age, etc.), no talking to me PERIOD, no calling me on the phone, no touching me.....just leave me alone to lie under my blankets and cry.


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CyborgUprising
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26 Jan 2013, 5:55 pm

I do not need anyone else to be involved in my stimming or to calm me down - I do that myself (by stimming).
Most of the time when I stim, it isn't due to being nervous, but rather, addressing boredom or channeling excess energy.



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26 Jan 2013, 8:02 pm

I stim that I stim. I might stim when I am stressed, but I also stim because I am enjoying myself - particularly my thoughts. Stimming even helps me think.

I sure don't want anyone touching me or otherwise getting in my way. If I want to talk, I will talk when I am ready. You can notice that if there is a lot of activity in the house - it might need to be toned down. One person just generally being busy around me can be too much. Cooking - with smells and heat and clanging and stirring and busyness - can be too much.

You can be comforting by not doing what you would normally be inclined to do with someone who is not ASD, and don't worry so much about "needing" to be comforting. There may be discomfort, but one does not necessarily stim when one is uncomfortable. I really can't handle people wanting to comfort me.

I wouldn't worry about analyzing the situation every time he stims. If I was happy doing what I was doing, I would bat you away, too - it doesn't necessarily mean there is some emotion lurking around. If I am in my space, I do not want to be interrupted. Don't worry so much. I am glad to see that you are a caring parent who just wants to be helpful, but it's not good for either of you. Have fun - try rocking or something yourself - you might like it!


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26 Jan 2013, 8:07 pm

lattes wrote:
Oh, as a note. It isn't that I want my son not to stim or that it makes me uncomfortable.

As I understand it, one stims when one is uncomfortable, he is my son and I want to comfort him.


When autistic people are stimming, it doesn't necessarily mean that they are uncomfortable. I stim all the time by default when I am comfortable.



Zaswe12
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26 Jan 2013, 8:29 pm

When I freaked out and tried destroying stuff when I was younger, holding me down for awhile seemed to help. Stimming is a different issue though.



Willow-Tree
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27 Jan 2013, 6:54 am

I agree being left alone is sometimes the best thing. I take a lot longer than a normal person to calm back down from a situation that has upset me/made me angry. I can't just brush it aside and carry on. I need to be alone for a while and sulk it out.


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silentlyvela
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27 Jan 2013, 7:38 am

For me being left alone is best. A lot of times when I end up stimming I'm just thinking and its not real harmful unless one is hurting themselves. Normally if something is bothering me and I'm stimming due to that, it just leads me to be more irratable when someone approaches me and then I run the risk of hurting someone. Its hard to really say though as a lot of times I don't notice I'm doing something and when its pointed out it makes me angry. I dont know if seizures could be related, but if I have one, I'd rather there be someone there afterwards.



Phenom
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27 Jan 2013, 8:18 am

silentlyvela wrote:
For me being left alone is best.



Ettina
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27 Jan 2013, 8:59 am

Quote:
As I understand it, one stims when one is uncomfortable, he is my son and I want to comfort him.


I stim for many reasons. I can identify three main categories of stims I engage in.

Firstly, background stims. These ones I tend to do very frequently, especially when I'm concentrating. I'm often unaware I'm doing them. They indicate very little, if anything, about my current mood - more often if anything seems to trigger them it's a sensory aspect like things being too quiet or me having sit still too long. These are the hardest to suppress, if I want to, because I often don't realize I'm doing them.

Secondly, emotion stims. These express emotions, just like facial expressions or body language. Not just unhappy ones, though - I also have some happy stims. (If you go on youtube and search for 'happy dance autism' you'll find a bunch of autistic people showing off their happy stims.) These can be suppressed about as easily as not smiling when you're happy or not crying when you're sad.

Thirdly, play stims. These are ones I do consciously and deliberately, specifically because I like to do them. These are the easiest to suppress, because I chose whether or not to do them, but they often serve a purpose of amusing, calming or reassuring me.

In my experience working with autistic kids, it seems that their stims fall into these categories too. But which stims fall into which category is unique to each person.

For me:

Background stims - hair-twirling, gentle rocking, chewing my lip, biting my nails, picking at scabs (these last three I try to suppress if I can because they can cause pain if done too much)

Happy stims - jumping, hand-flapping, trilling or squealing

Unhappy stims - vigorous rocking, hand-shaking (different from flapping because my palms are vertical instead of horizontal and my wrists are rigid), arching my back, monotonous wailing, also my self-injury (punching myself, biting myself)

Deliberate stims - sometimes my hair-twirling falls in this category, and also flicking my fingers in my peripheral vision or flicking my hand through elaborate motions in the light, and staring at shiny things while either rocking or moving the shiny thing

For your son it'll probably be different, but I'm guessing if he doesn't have stims of every type, he has at least more than just unhappy stims.