Stimulation for autism: behavior, causes, treatment


Stimming is an abbreviation for self-stimulating behavior. This is also sometimes called "stereotyped" behavior. In a person with autism , stimming is generally defined as rocking and clapping.

Stimming is a common symptom of autism . This is usually the most obvious symptom.

Most people are subtly stimulated. Pencil tapping, nail biting, and curling hair are examples of stimming.

Autistic stimulation is usually more extreme. It differs from typical stimming in the type, amount, and obviousness of the behavior.

This article looks at the reasons why people with autism are stimulated. Some strategies to control stimulation are also discussed.

What behaviors are considered causal agents?

"Incentives" are repetitive behaviors that go beyond culturally acceptable limits. In the United States, for example, it is normal to bite your nails and curl your hair. However, clapping is not considered normal.

In a person with autism, stimulation usually refers to behaviors such as:

People with autism argue that there is no reason why one behavior should be more acceptable than another. However, some stimulants can cause anxiety in neurotypical (non-autistic) people.

For example, some autistic people make loud noises that can seem threatening. Some hit themselves or even the head. These types of stimulants can be problematic.


Stimming is repetitive behavior that transcends what is considered culturally acceptable. It can include things like swinging your arms, swinging, and rolling.

Why are autistic people excited?

Stimming is often a sign of autism. It is not entirely clear why. Most experts believe that this is a means of self-regulation and complacency.

Many people with autism suffer from sensory processing dysfunction . This means that they react differently to things like noise, textures, and smells. These things can upset them. This may be related to the need for stimulation.

Stimming helps people with autism deal with strong emotions, such as:

  • Anxiety
  • Fear
  • Anger
  • Excitement
  • Anticipation

People with autism can also help cope with strong feelings such as:

  • Noise
  • Light
  • Hot

Some people with autism can stimulate out of habit, as can neurotypical people.

Sometimes stimulation can be helpful. Stimming enables a person with autism to cope with difficult situations. However, stimulation can sometimes be a problem, especially when it distracts or hurts someone.

Most neurotypical people stimulate only occasionally. They are generally aware of their stimulants. They can control their behavior and are usually not obviously stimulating.

However, people with autism may not be aware of how other people react to their stimulants. Some cannot control their stimulants. Some people find it difficult to try. Some people with autism can even participate in stimulation for most of their waking hours.


People with autism are encouraged to help deal with strong emotions and feelings. Under stress, they can stimulate for a long time.

When does stimulation become a problem?

Stimulation is usually harmless. However, this can be a problem in some situations, including:

  • When constantly. Constant stimulation can prevent a person with autism from communicating with others. People who are constantly engaged in stimulation may not be able to carry out their normal activities . They can be excluded from workplaces and public spaces. Children can be excluded from regular classrooms.
  • When it distracts others. In some cases, stimming can be frustrating. In class, a child who walks or whips himself distracts neurotypical students. This behavior can even be intimidating.
  • When he draws negative attention to himself. Pretend behavior can be a source of stigma and social isolation for people with autism.
  • When it hurts a person with autism or another person.

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Management of stimulants

If the behavior is not dangerous, there is no reason to try to stop the stimulation. However, sometimes it is necessary to administer it.

Sometimes challenging behaviors can be difficult to change. Encouragement is a tool to control unpleasant feelings. Punishing a child for stimming can hurt him.

Stimulation management should start slowly. A person's needs should come first and foremost.

Management methods include:

  • Applied behavior analysis (ABA) . This behavior therapy can help people stop or change certain types of stimulation.
  • Occupational therapists may suggest a "sensory diet." The sensory diet is an activity plan that can help reduce the need for stimulants.
  • In some cases, the stimulation can be reduced with medication. Treating anxiety can help reduce the need for stimulation.
  • Reducing environmental and social stress can also help. Small classrooms, quiet environments, and clear expectations can reduce anxiety.
  • Some people with autism can learn to change their stimulants. For example, they can learn to squeeze a stress ball instead of swinging it. They can also learn to use only extreme stimulants at home.


Sometimes stimulation can be treated. Treatment plans and action plans can help. It can also be helpful in reducing environmental stress.


Stimulation is common in people with autism. Include behaviors like swinging and swinging your arms.

People with autism are encouraged to help deal with overwhelming emotions and feelings. Many people with autism find it difficult to give up stimulation.

Stimming becomes a problem if it constantly distracts or attracts negative attention. In these situations, it can be helpful to find ways to cope.

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Stimulation is rarely dangerous. However, this can create other problems. This can be embarrassing for parents and siblings. This can be confusing for teachers. It can also alienate potential friends and colleagues.

People with autism and their families must decide for themselves how much of their behavior should be dictated by other people's discomfort.

Stimulation can be reduced, but it cannot be eliminated. Parents and caregivers may need to learn to accept the behavior of an autistic loved one.

It is not always easy. If you are sensitive to the judgment of others, consider speaking with a therapist. Counseling can help you deal with your feelings and frustrations.

Frequently asked questions

  • Yes, there are toys that help with stimulation. Often called fidget toys, these are small toys or gadgets that encourage repetitive hand movements. Many are available online and at various toy stores. Fidgeting toys can be a healthy and non-disruptive way to help cope with stimulation.

  • In some cases, happiness and stimulation can happen. People with autism can stimulate not only when they feel anxious; They can also do it out of excitement or anticipation, two emotions that can be associated with happiness.

  • Yes, chewing can be self-stimulating. This could be nail biting, chewing eraser, or even toys.

    This type of stimulation can be dangerous to a person's personal health, as it can damage their teeth or hands. Finding alternatives to this behavior, such as treating anxiety, can help prevent injury.

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