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What is Stimming?

In Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), we are constantly analyzing why a behavior is happening. One term that is commonly used in ABA is stimming. Stimming is another term for self-stimulating behavior. Stimming is a repetitive body movement with or without objects.

Common examples of stimming behavior in autism

· Flapping hands

· Unusual vocal sounds (Eeee Eeee Eeee)

· Walking on your tip toes

· Chewing on a toy

· Covering ears in a business place

Why does stimming happen?

Stimming is a form of reinforcement for someone who has autism. Stimming is automatically reinforcing to someone, which takes little effort. The reason for it is usually because it feels good to the person who is stimming or it helps to cope with stress, anxiety, or other emotions.

It is important to think about why a child is stimming and if it is having an impact on their way of living. Stopping a stimming behavior may result in a person with autism engaging in worse behavior. If a stimming behavior needs to be stopped, a different, more acceptable behavior should be learned in its place.

For example, if a stimming behavior such as flapping hands is happening, try giving the person with autism a stress relief ball in its place. Or if a person keeps repeating the same statement, try engaging in a conversation about that topic.

By understanding what stimming is and how it can benefit those with ASD, we can better support individuals on their journey toward improved emotional regulation and social skills.

If your child has been recently diagnosed with autism, and ABA Therapy has been recommended, reach out to LEAP Autism Therapy. LEAP Autism Therapy has locations in Duncanville and Farmer’s Branch, Texas, with no waitlist.


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