27 Facts On Stimming You Should Know

  1. “Stimming” is short for self-stimulatory behavior. (or stereotypical).
  2. It is common among people with developmental disabilities such as intellectual disabilities and Fragile X Syndrome.
  3. It is also prevalent among people on the autism spectrum.
  4. In fact in many cases, it is part of the diagnosis due to the repetition of stimming.
  5. Stimming is often used as a means to self-regulate, self-calm and for self-expression.
  6. The movements are repetitive and are used to self-stimulate the 7 senses.
  7. It is often described as a repetitive motor behavior that can disrupt academic and social and other activities.
  8. One of the theories behind stimming is that beta-endorphrins are released in the brain casuing an euphoric feeling which is generally a response to pain.
  9. Stimming behavior. based for self-soothing and to help a child or an adult regain emotional balance.
  10. Sensory Overload. Too much sensory information can lead to stress, anxiety and eventually a meltdown.
  11. It is observed in 10% of non-autistic children.
  12. common forms of stimming include spinning, hand-flapping and body rocking
  13. Benefits of stimming include the increased ability to remain calm, reduce meltdowns, and increased focus and time management skills.
  14. Love ones and society may consider stimming socially inappropriate
  15. Autistic people should be allowed to stim as much as needed
  16. Autistic people may bebefit from stress balls, fidget toys, and chewy jewelry.
  17. Stimming helps to relieve anxiety.
  18. Most people in the autistic community oppose attempts to reduce or eliminate stimming
  19. This is due to understanding that stimming is an important tool for self-regulation.
  20. Stimming can help block out excess sensory input
  21. Stimming helps provide extra sensory when needed
  22. repeated banging of the head actually reduces the overall sensation of pain.
  23. Visual. Repetitive movements such as fluorescent lights which tend to flicker.
  24. Smell (Olfactory) Includes repetitive behavior in licking, tasting objects,
  25. Tactile. Skin-rubbing, hand movement, and repeatedly grind teeth
  26. Vestibular. Moving body, rocking back to front, spinning, jumping and pacing.
  27. Vigorous exercise reduces the need to stim.

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Reference

Autism Asperger’s Digest

Child Mind Institute

Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, (2013). APA 5th Edition

Science Daily

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Classroom Accommodations for Austistic Students


A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to speak to a parent who voiced her frustration with her daughter’s school. Although her daughter is diagnosed with autism, she falls on the mild range of the spectrum meaning her deficits are ignored. This becomes challenging for a teacher who may not recognize the signs and symptoms of an autistic child.

Girls, in particular, often develop the ability to disappear in a large group. Imagine the amount of energy it takes to pretend you hold the same characteristics of others.  This leads to both depression and anxiety in children with autism. There are also sensory challenges a student with autism may face including auditory, visual and tactile.

Reading non-verbal cues forces a child and even some autistic adults to work harder everyday which causes exhaustion and can possibly lead to anxiety.

There are a number of ways to accommodate  a student with autism. If you are a teacher, read as much information as you can on autism. each child is different so it will help to get feedback from parents who can help provide the right accommodations.

The following articles provide great information on both modifications and accommodations  which can be put into the child’s IEP:

10 tips for making middle-school work for kids with autism

14 possible IEP accommodations for children with autism/ADHD

20 classroom modifications for students with autism

23 classroom accommodation suggestions for kids with autism and Asperger’s syndrome

Accommodations and supports for school-age students with autism

Asperger syndrome/HFA and the classroom

Common modifications and accommodations

IEP considerations for students with autism spectrum disorder

Recommendations for students with high-functioning autism

Supporting learning in the student with autism

Autism Sensory Difficulties and How to Address Them

Autism Sensory Difficulties and How to Address Them

 

 

 

 

 

Source: Durham Region Autism Services

People with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) typically have difficulty processing sensory information such as sounds, sights, and smells. This is usually referred to as having issues with “sensory integration”, or having sensory sensitivity, and is caused by differences in how the brain of a person with ASD understands and prioritizes the sensory information picked up by the body’s many sensory receptors. When this breakdown in communication becomes too intense, the person with ASD may become overwhelmed, anxious, or even feel physical pain. When this occurs, some with ASD may act out. Click here to read the rest of the story.

Shopping Center Teaching Activities For Children and Adults With Special Needs

Shopping Centers (or malls as we call them in North America) provide a great way for customers to walk from one store to another without the hassles of having to leave one store in order to go into another. Through the years, Shopping centers  have added on movie theatres, arcades, and food eateries. This has led to a variety of ways of teaching children and adults with disabilities a number of skills.

 

Money Management.

Increasing money skills can be used in almost all areas of a shopping mall. Opportunities include stores such as banking, clothing , restaurants, etc. examples of items to teach include:

  • Will identify coins
  • Will identify money
  • Will count change
  • Will create a budget
  • will fill out deposit slip
  • Will fill out a withdrawal slip
  • Will use an ATM
Sensory

A shopping center provides a low-cost and effective way of arousing more of  more of the five senses (hearing, sight, smell, taste and touch). Yankee Candle offers candles with a variety of fragrances including apple pumpkin, apple spice, beachwood, black cherry, etc.  Bath and Body Works also provides samples for both olfactory (smell) and touch. Samples of fragrances include lotions, cream, massage oils and fragrance mist. Window shopping is an additional opportunity to enhance visual cues with teaching a number of basic skills.  Other places include day spas, massage chairs and nail salons. Examples of sensory teaching activities include:

Window Shopping (Visual)
  • Will describe the color of the outfits
  • Will identify which items cost the most
  • Will describe how many of the outfits are the same, different
  • Will describe the various shapes (circle, square, triangle, rectangular)
  • Will count the number of items in the window
Olfactory (Smell)
  • Will identify a good smell
  • Will identify a bad smell
  • Will identify the smell (i.e. smells like apples)
Tactile (Touch)
  • Will identify the object
  • Will tolerate hand massage
  • Will touch the object
  • Will describe the shape of the object

***  Be mindful some children and adults may have sensory processing issues and can be oversensitive to sights, textures, flavors and smells.

Social Skills

Teaching social skills involves communication, decision-making, self-management and relationship building. Locations in a shopping center to develop these skills includes, eatery and restaurants, banks, department stores and movie theatres. Samples of teaching social skills includes:

  • Will greet the store associate
  • Will say thank you
  • When promoted, will ask for help
  • Will wait patiently
  • Will make eye contact
  • Will use appropriately voice tone
Teaching Prompts

A few guidelines in teaching new skills:

  • Teach a new skill at least 2-3 times. The shopping center allows multiple opportunities to work on a number of skills including money management, and social skills.
  • Allow the person to think for themselves use prompt levels to help navigate levels of independence: Independent, verbal, gestural and physical.
  • Allow for real choice-making. Choice is more realistic when it involves at least 3 items or more. Choosing a new outfit or an item from a menu are perfect examples.
  • Always remember to praise!

 

 

Sensory Activity for Children and Adults

Image result for orange

Orange is a color that is associated with the fall months of October and November. It can also be used as a training activity for people with developmental disabilities.

Facts about the color orange:

  • Orange is the color between red and yellow
  • It is associated with amusement, extroverts, warmth, fire ,energy, danger taste, aroma and autumn
  • It is the national color of Netherlands
  • It is the symbolic color of Buddhism and Hinduism.

Activity: What’s in the Box

Learning Objective: to identify various items using a multi-sensory approach

Activity Area:

  • Visual
  • Tactile
  • Olfactory
  • Kinesthetic

Materials needed:

  • shoe box
  • candy corn
  • carrot
  • orange
  • circus peanuts
  • crayon
  • cheeze-it
  • balloon
  • pumpkin
  • leaf

Instructions: Place all items into an empty container such as a shoe box. Once completed, have participants sit in a circle and pass around the box. Give each person an opportunity to touch the object and to guess the name of the object. For people with a severe cognitive level or multi-disabilities, provide hand over hand guidance.

Prompting:

Discuss with the group or class the various sizes, the aroma, etc.

Alternative Activity:

  1. You can also do a compare and contrast activity by adding items into the box of different colors and having the group choose the orange items.
  2. Have the group create a collage by cutting out items in a magazine that are orange. This will help with improving fine motor skills.