What kind of stims does your child do? | Autism PDD


We are a very stimmy bunch here!

Kyler does ALOT of scripting. He eats paper and mouths other non-food objects. He finger flicks and holds his body in odd postures.

Kaden recently started looking at things out of corners of his eyes. He hand flaps, jumps alot and has a major skin obsession (tactile). He toe walks (more like dancing on his toes) when excited.   

They both love to spin and swing -- is swinging considered a "stim"?

*Allegra~ I love your children's names! beautiful 

My son jumps, flaps his hands, sticks out his tongue sometimes, and runs back and forth across the room usually humming as he does it.
He'll stop when he's invovled in an activity to do a little jump/flap here and there . Not sure if it's because he's excited or what...
He'll spin aslo, but not quite as much as the other things. Jumping and flapping seem to be what he does the most.


Astra Maree
Sharlet Louella and
Nina Valeriedarling!  BN bangs on her pillow to fall asleep at night. She also chants like a Cherokee which we find amusing. She twirls her head around when overtired. She also licks her hands and  makes handprints on my windows. What fun!! LOL Since she can be quite noisy at night falling asleep, we tell her no noise. So now she says, "Just bounce?". 

Alex has quite a few stims, although I am not sure whihc are stims and which are just "habits.  I'll list them anyhow.


-since he has the CP, instead of spinning, he does a sitting version, of twisting his upper body from side to side (he's starting to be able to do a standing version...good froma PT view).  There is an angry sitting version too)

-repetetive sound making, different from his babble, often sounds very high-pitched (we call it "talking to the dolphins")

-hand playing; hanrd to explain, not exactly wringing, his fingers are straight.  he does it a lot.

_ bouncing;looks like he's trying to jump, but not physically capable

- smells everything.  Thankful for this one because it seems to be gradually repacing mouthing

-My least favoritre; when tired or overstimed, he layed flat on the floor and scratches at his diaper.  You can imagine how great that looks in public to people who don't "get" ASD

-recently started pinching his skin (doesn't seem to be hard), yet he isn't doing to mine as much (that was hard!)

-he does haead band.  I don't think that is so much a stim, as it was a show of anger

-He rubs his arms a lot and plays w/his nails, will sometimes tear them off

-He will play w/my hair , but ends up pulling it hard

 - he rocks sometimes, especially when he is realyl inetersted in something it seems


Donny toe walks a lot (I'm always saying, "Flat feet!" or "Walk flat!"). He,
when focussed or excited, wiggles his fingers down at his sides while
walking. When really excited, he flaps, although not in front of his face -
he flaps his arms/hands by his side, like he's trying to fly away, while
jumping up and down.

Lots of verbal stimming, for example, he just walked into the kitchen and
said "electrical plumber" 5 times in a row. Wait - he just said it 3 more
times quickly from the bedroom

Auditory stimming - will put his ear right up to the TV, a music speaker, a
toy that makes noise, etc., and, if possible, make the sound he likes
happen over and over and over and over again.

Visual stimming isn't as often, but is VERY noticeable when he does it.
There are a few things he does visually:

- when approaching a reflective surface or a good view of his shadow, will
hunch over, miming a scene from a favorite video game, and watch
himself act it out. Would do this over and over if not interrupted.

- holds things that light up, or have eyes in them (like stuffed toys), or
spinning parts, right up to his eye, and looks at them out of the corner of
his eye.

- will crane right around, push people out of the way, run in front of a
bus even (hasn't happened because we watch carefully!) to see a TV
commercial, a logo, a print ad that has a familiar brand/logo on it, etc.
Don't know if this would be considered a stim, an obsession, or both.

- very rarely (more when he was younger) looks out of the corner of his
eye at reflection or just space, and twirls or runs parallel.

- will occasionally go right up to the tv screen, and try to press his cheek
against it and look at it out of the corner of his eye.

We discourage the auditory and visual stimming, and only allow the
verbal stimming to a point (it can drive us CRAZY) - the physical stuff we
leave alone (other than toe walking, which causes sore calves, and is
causing deformities in his feet and now problems with his knees, as well
as super-tight hamstrings, calves, and heel cords).Anthony grabs his ears.  He also grabs his ears and yells or sings.  He has an ear thing in general because he'll grab your ears too. Dorell rocks back and forth but most of the time it is when he is standing. He also has to make some kind of noise if it is too quiet.

Parkers Stims:

Toe walking (he walks on his toes more than not)

Hand flapping


side ways glancing (sometimes while spinning

Stacking (if you can stack it...he does!)

vocal stims ...he will repeat the same thing over & over & over & over with maybe one word in the sentance that you can understand & usually the word is NO but he legthens it "NOOOOOOO"

shakes his head back & forth over & over & over!

Parker also spends alot of the time laying on the floor.


My son is 9 and he stims with his fingers and an object like a lollipop. He likes to take lollipops with the wrapper still on and holds it on the candy part. He then waves the stick in front of his eyes back and forth or he just holds it in his hand and waves it back and forth. My son will ask me if we have any lollipops so that he can stim. It's not very noticeable to other people. They think he's just holding a lollipop.Parkers mom - when my daughter was younger she would spin looking out of the corner of her eyes:)  I thought she was trying to focus on not faling over:)   It did not last long so I didnt think about it as a sim, but it could have been:)

Lucas' stims:

Hand flapping (only when excited)

Paces back and forth while fixating on an object like the sofa or a table

Verbal stims A LOT! He will make a mmmmmmmh noise, almost like a motor boat almost all day

Spins anything he can spin- he is quite good at it!

turning in circles...

the sideways glance stim (looking out of the corner of his eye);looking down ANYTHING with a straight line (out of the corner of his eye) - even did it over the top of a popcorn bucket at the movie the other day....

scripting and perseverating on certain words... (this is the #1 stim)...

occasionally he will slowly wiggle his fingers in front of his eyes....

holding and looking at sticks and stick-like objects

they came and they went stims include....lining up objects, emptying out containers and refilling them (over and over), toe walking, shaking head (still does at times but rarely),

I have a question. What would be the difference between a stim, and sensory needs? I thought stims was a way a that a person gets sensory input that they need? toonietoons: Sharlet does the eyes fixed to the side spinning thing and the
finger flick thing too..

Adam's stims have changed through the short four years he's been here. When he was just tall enough to reach the door knob he used to open and close it for endless amounts of time.  He also used to flip the light switches.  Then his stim's became more vocal in nature, "ticka ticka ticka"  etc.  Now I don't notice any at all really.  He may be doing them while I'm not looking.  He does go to his brothers room for about an hour every day when he gets off of school, It's kind of his relaxation time from a long day.  While he is in there I check on him and I've not caught anything but everytime I open the door he looks at me like he has been caught doing something so maybe he is stimming in there...but what he is doing i have no idea.


Nick has a ton of stims....

hand flaps- he has two different kinds... happy flap and angry flap.

toe walking- has done this since about 11 months old now he is almost 12.

he has vocal grunts and noises.

he used to hop across the living room... only once in a blue moon now.

he loves to wrap himself in a blanket. even in summer.

his newest one is these clicking kinda sounds with his tounge. and he loves to make spit bubbles with his tounge in a U, and with his lips.

he used to hit himself, but doesn't do that anymore. yay!

he seems to need to put EVERYTHING in his mouth but is good about stopping when you catch him.


I think these are stims... he clenches his fists when he's excited (Like waiting for a cookie)  He holds things right up to his face. (He's going to be a close talker...) Toewalks.  (I don't know if that is a stim because I know a lot of NT kids that do that as well.. I think it's just sensory).

My son used to constantly jump. He does not do it as much as he used to, but when he is excited it still comes back. He also picks at his bellybutton constantly. Ryan does have any stims unless scripting phrases is considered a stim. When he is overly excited or upset he will script like crazy.Adam used to spin on the sit and spin for hours.  He now finger flicks and clicks with his tongue(this drives his brothers nuts).  He rocks or swings, but I think that is more sensory.  Sharlet has many stims, She toe walks and flaps a lot. She does a strange
repetitive humming all day long. She licks the TV and sucks her whole hand.
She puts her face on the carpet and pushes herself round and round the
room like a grub. She lies on top of anything and every thing and forces
herself into tight places. There are others but therse are the main ones

Jayden hand flaps, jumps/hops from our front door all around the kitchen (he can do this for hours) bites his nails (I don't think this is a stim, my wife and I both bite our nails and I think he picked up the habit). He used to toe walk but that only lasted a month or two.


Interesting thread. My son does what I think are vocal stims. He makes different noises, sort of from his throat like 'eeeeehhhhhh'. It's different from babbling which he did do as an infant/toddler. Sometimes it really drives me nuts so I put music on and he stops doing it! The fact that he stops when there is another source of sound is what  makes me think it is a 'stim' - like he needs some extra auditory input.

Be interested to hear other parents replies, especially any other 'vocal stimmers'.



Jackson does this too. He's a HUGE vocal stimmer. Also spinning around in circles with his eyes fixed all the way to one side. He visually stimms with real estate magazines (Iswear I think he's gonna be an architecht)

Certain TV shows he really stimms on..like Nemo. He doesn't do the classic flapping, but he does kind of does this thing with his fingers where he flicks hi fingers (kinda hard to describe).

I bought him a shirt that has a bunch of silly stck figures and it says "It's a stimmy Day" it's really cute.

mommyaz...Parker will fall everytime while doing the sidewayz glance while spinning, he just gets back up & does it again:) He does it a few times a day. I am hoping this will fade out sometime soon,the bigger he gets, the weirder it looks. Out of all of his stims...this is the one I like the least.Jake flicks his ear, he twists his fingers, he rolls and unrolls his blankie again and again, he'll tilt his head and sometimes look at things out of the corner of his eye, he's been doing this noise lately that sounds almost like he can't catch his breath (real heavy, rapid kind of breathing)-I'll ask him if he's ok and then he stops , he'll sometimes sit on the couch and hit his back into the couch -kind of like rocking, but he does it to hit the couch or chair, he'll sometimes randomly just run around -usually in circles but not really spinning, with his head kind of tilted to the side. He also often squeezes himself into small spaces or under a table (I don't know if this is stim or not). I think that's about it. Ocassionally, I've seen him toe walk or flap -but it's pretty rare.Zachary hops, jumps on the beds, walks in a circle, and runs, runs, runs, runs, and runs some more. He literally moves from the time he wakes up until bedtime. He's four (almost five), and has a hard body and weighs in at 46 lbs. but feels heavier to me. I think I'll put him in a marathon when he's old enough. LOL.  A family member once asked me how do I keep Zach so fit ( his three year old son weighs 55 lbs) I explained to him about Autism and the need to MOVE constantly and the difficulty in feeding them, Zach is more than a little fussy about eating. I suggested he put his three year old( will be four in January)  in pre-school and Glory Day, he did. Someone taking my advice, that's a first for me. But, I'm getting off topic now so that's  pretty much what Zach does for stimming, he's extremely SENSORY oriented.

I never noticed Collins stimms until I really started to look and he is developing new ones now as well. 

He sort of rocks when standing, it doesnt go on long.  He has never rocked when sitting but sometimes he wakes up crying at night or cannot fall asleep and I have to actually rock him forcefully to calm him down.  It took me a while to figure this out.

He plays with his fingers constantly, pulling on them, fiddling them, but never any flapping of any sort.

When he stands and rocks he puts his pointer fingers together and his thumbs for sort of a diamond shape, he is always doing this particular thing.

He occasionally plays with doors and light switches, opening and closing, but its slowing down it used to be much worse. 

He has gone from picking at his ears, to his lips, to his nose now haha, so his finger is always up his nose.

Oh and he is allways licking his lips, they are so raw. and his tongue is always out of his mouth.

Some squealing and a lot of repetivive speach.  He repeats constantly and u must repeat to or a meltdown begins.

I think EVERY ASD child stims. I know that I thought mine never did. But when you are with your child 24/7, you get used to everything they do. Looking back on my son's behaviors when younger---he was stimming. Even in our first eval at 3.5y--they asked me if he hand falpped. I said no. But he did do finger twisting and I never siad anything.

Jacob's stims have changed over the years. We never realized they were stims at the time---because we didn't know and he had gotten ASD ruled out at 3.5y.

Earlier stims:

18mo-2y--vocal. Would out of the blue scream--just to make noise. Lasting for only a few seconds and then he was fine. Did it every morning.

finger/hand twisting--very sutle. No one would ever pick it up.

nervous leg bouncing

run around tables, squealing and walking funny--tiptoed.

At 6y--we took him off his bipolar meds and the hand flapping started. Only when excited. He did it once before at age 4y--when on prozac and went manic. He can flap for 30 min continual. Sometimes jumps up and continues to flap and jump.

He does some weird head turning side to side with his eyes looking from the corners and flaps wrists at the same time.

He twirls in circles with his arms straight out--but I'm not sure if this is just a 6yo boy thing and he's bored or what.

In school last year--he rocked during circle time.

I'm sure he has more--but most of them I am used to and don't pay attention to.

And... I guess I forgot all the stuff with running around in circles, pacing, etc.

The head turning side to side can sometimes be part of Sandifer's syndrome.
Well, I'm still not sure what makes a behavior qualify as a stim.  Adam has done weird things before, but alot of it has been chalked up to developmental skills as they have faded before we even realized he was doing it.  I think the only thing I would think would be a stim that he does consistently is when he's laying down drinking his milk, he will hold his hand up in front of his face and twist his hand around.  Also, every once in a while he will pick up a toy or book and shake it and watch it.  But he doesn't do that often.spinning objects, hand flapping, spinning around in circle, shakes when excited and does something with her fingers looks like casting a spell, rocking, tip toe walking, scratches her puzzle pieces the side of them, cant think of any others right now.oh and making vocal stims too i forgot making same sounds like humming in a wayAt different points in my life (this is assuming "stim" refers to "unusual mannerism"):

- head jerking side to side (may have been part of Sandifer's syndrome rather than a "stim")
- hand-flapping (up and down, side to side)
- rocking (head or body, standing or sitting, front and back or side to side)
- twisting
- twirling
- finger-flicking
- elaborate hand motions
- tongue in and out really fast
- mouth movement (hard to describe, I've seen Tito do it)
- chin- or thorax-tapping
- moving fingers through each other
- finger motions by eyes
- humming
- various noises
- repeating single word or phrase over and over (not tic-like)
- moving lips against teeth
- moving back of tongue repetitively against back teeth
- hand-sniffing
- very complex sort of twisty movements
- moving hands back and forth towards and away from each other, fingertips touching and wide apart in the middle, closed and close together at the sides
- waving objects in front of eyes or ears
- hitting wrists together
- lots of others I'm sure

I'm... uh... very stimmy.  A lot of the time.  When I'm not looking inert.
Colin doesn't hand flap or toe walk.

Would these be considered stims?:

-He hits his ears with his hands.

-He obsessively twines his hands in people's hair. I tell him probably a minimum of 10-15 times a day to let go of my hair (he hurts).

-He holds his hands in kind of an odd way, but he doesn't flap.


Ds some times twists two fingers together or rubs the side of index finger on the middle finger.I think he is trying to feel the skin/nail fragments sticking out.(He bites his nails all the time).he likes to touch my hair but  nobody elses


My daughter like to wiggle her fingers when she is excited.  Still dont know if its asd or sensory...or both.  Happens every day, several times a day. 

Right this minute she is finishing up playing with her doll house to go to bed.  I am watching her wiggle and play at the same time - I dont know how she does it? :)

Interesting thread. My son does what I think are vocal stims. He makes different noises, sort of from his throat like 'eeeeehhhhhh'. It's different from babbling which he did do as an infant/toddler. Sometimes it really drives me nuts so I put music on and he stops doing it! The fact that he stops when there is another source of sound is what  makes me think it is a 'stim' - like he needs some extra auditory input.

Be interested to hear other parents replies, especially any other 'vocal stimmers'.


Austin did the toe walking, sometimes he makes deep grunt like sounds. He
does a lot of other repetitive sounds. He's never done the flapping either.Lucas never flapped. He bounced a lot and had to sit with his back against the door and rock before he fell asleep every night (never would stay in his crib). He sometimes made and still makes high pitched noises, but less now than before. That's really all he did.

One last question. How many kids toewalked? Lucas did. That seemed to go away, but that seems to be an ASD symtpom.


Adam used to flip lights on and off-not so much anymore

opening and closing doors-not so much anymore, jumps up and down and flaps hands when excited or overstimulated,  bites his nails when he's nervous, hums, does a clicking sound with his mouth closed, and sings, grunts sometimes, used to rock and bang his back on the couch-not so much anymore, covers his ears and shakes his head side to side when things are too loud......I think that's all, hehe.

Am I wrong ??? But dont most kids do these things. Part of growing up . Opening doors , closing doors . Running around, jumping etc. My 19yr old nephew, when he was 2 or 3 use to rock his head back and forth constantly to fall asleep. No one in the family questioned it , called it stemmimg etc.... it was just what he did.  Now 19 yrs old as normal as anyone else.  If there is such thing as a normal person ????? Arent we all diferent in our own ways???? Just some thoughts.

Hi- i have a 10 yr old and he toe walks- still!!

They talked of casting him....but we aren't going to do it. We go to an orthopedist thru the State of Vt yearly. We go back in Feb.


Jeremy also picks his skin on fingers, rubs face, paces, toe walks....and yes- lots of typical kids do these things, but I can safely say mine stims because that is what alot of these kids on the spectrum do. Jeremy's stimming DOES interfere with his daily life, I can say.

I have a typical child who does not stim at all.

have a great one.


and also- my child is normal- he just is not typical.  Autism is very real, and the US Government recently has admitted that.


My son is different is his own way too. But memorizing all the presidents, their birthdays- and when they died, where they were born, reading all day long about history, learning all the hurricane names and yrs, eating certain foods at only certain times of the day, pacing, picking lips, nose, fingers, skin, toe walking, this is NOT typical- but my sonis normal...there are countless other things....

Autism is very real- we have to figure out the best and most productive way to teach these kids. These kids are here- and I am sure each and every parent here is proud of their children, whether they stim or not! 

All these people on this message board are not making these things up. They really happen- and no one is saying typical kids don't stim- but this is an Autism-PDD message board.  

This is all very very real.  

The 'Nay Sayers' about Autism are in the MINORITY now....Autism is out there- it is recognized and that is a fact. There are much too many parents and not enough of the nay sayers anymore. The tables are turning....

Lachlan walks on tiptoe when he is excited and flaps his arms.

Nicholas used to line all his cars up in colour / 2 door / 4 door / emergency vehicles.


Some of these things I think NT kids might do too, but I think with ASD it's the amount that they do it and also it's done in an odd manner.

I agree that I should prob not stop them, but it's not ok for DC to do these at school.

How do I explain that?    At four, he doesn't really get the difference between school nd home.

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