Stims are self-stimulatory behaviors. Repetitive behaviors, like spinning in circles or twirling hair, they are common in autistic people. They are not unique to those with autism, but the difference between the autistic stims is that they have a way of shutting off the brain to other stimuli. This can be a good thing when the brain is over stimulated and just needs a break. Don’t we wish we all had a way to shut out the world sometimes? But, if a person is in and autistic stim, it is near impossible to get their attention.
Roman has stims. Oh boy, does he have stims. He hums, he flaps, he walks on his toes, he spins in circles, he spins wheels on toy cars. But the most troubling is the chewing and licking. Today, when I picked him up from school, he broke free from my grasp. Before I could catch him, he was licking the brick side of the school building. I’m not embarrassed by the stims. Usually I’m pretty laid back about them, but this caused me to look around and see if anyone was watching.
Sure enough, two parents, waiting to pick their kids up from school were staring directly at us. I didn’t see disgust in their eyes. I saw pity. And that made me mad.
Don’t pity me. I have been blessed with three awesome children. Roman is not a burden or an embarrassment. He is my son. He can’t help his stims and there’s nothing that can be done to stop them, even if I tried.
At school, they have been trying to get him to stop licking things, but I’m not sure how successful that’s been. He’s still licking at home often and then there was the incident after school. I’m just frustrated. Frustrated and mad. The looks of utter pity is what got me and I just needed to vent.
I think I’ll go hug my boy and watch him lick the TV.