Tag Archives: Self Stimulation

Question?: Autism Signs And Symptoms

John asks…

How many people have children with Autism?

Any type of autism on the spectrum. This is for a project at school. Just tell me about your experiences with Autistic (or Asperger’s) Children

admin answers:

1 in 88 children have autism (1 in 54 boys) 3/4 of children with autism are boys, the fourth is a girl. “classic” or “full blown autism” can be directed by the age of 2, warning signs are lack of eye contact, little or no speech, and a lack of other communication skills.

Asperger’s syndrome is a “high functioning” form of autism- meaning it shares the same basis of lacking communication skills with classic autism, but symptoms are far more severe.

I am a teen with asperger’s syndrome, and my main symptoms are severe anxiety, not knowing what to say in a conversation, having obsessions or fixations on things like trains, air planes, & computers, and no eye contact (this is due to anxiety). Most kids with mild autism also have other learning disabilities, like ADHD.

There is also a thing a lot of autistic people do called “stimming” It means self stimulation. You might see autistic kids doing things like rocking back and forth (it’s soothing) and flapping their hands, (I do this when excited).

One important thing to know about autistic individuals often are very proud to have autism, even though it is viewed by others as a disability. THERE IS NO CURE. But certain therapies DO help, like physical therapy, talk therapy, and social skills help.


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Question?: Pdd-nos Checklist

Donna asks…

Do I have Autism disorder?

I’ve been “body rocking” all my life. I have bad social skills, I’m a visual person, and I do really well in math and music. I’m still not exactly sure what it is, but I was just curious. It seems like the more I read about it, the more I understand and relate to it…

admin answers:

Body rocking is ‘stimming’ or ‘self stimulation’ and extremely common
Autism is a syndrome,
It is the neurodevelopment from a central nervous system impairment.
Autism is just one of five all grouped under “pervasive developmental disorders” While childhood disintegrative and Rett syndrome are slightly different. Both asperger syndrome and pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS) are with and without delayed speech/skills considered ‘mildly autistic’ and ‘atypical autism’. They mirror each other by 99.93% with all the symptoms of classic autism. Autism or kanners autism is a vast spectrum in itself with severity ranging far enough for subtypes from non-verbal to high functioning Diagnosis is first marked by delayed development of speech and motor skills/controls at infancy and early childhood.
So autism no, aspergers maybe. But…..
Autism and other syndromes, disorders share same symptoms, such as
Sensory processing disorder
Executive dysfunction
Non-Verbal Learning Disability
Hypokalemic periodic paralysis
Thats just some, schizoid, emotional dysfunction, etc
Do you have any of those?

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A Message For Parents: You Have the Power

When a child is diagnosed with autism, parents tell me they experience a range of emotions, from shock to despair to hopelessness, often with very little encouragement or light at the end of the tunnel. There is no “The bad news is this, but the good news is that”. It’s “the bad news is your child has autism, and the worse news is there is no cure and he probably will not have a very good outcome”. Some parents are still told they should just focus on their ‘normal’ children because the one with autism will likely not amount to much. One family relayed a heartbreaking story of a professional that not only informed them their child had autism and should be institutionalized, but also that they should put him in ‘time out’ and spray him with a water gun every time he flapped his hands as a form of self-stimulation, as if he were a house-pet that were peeing on the couch. This is a child that likely did not make an association between behavior and consequences and probably was living within a very confusing sensory-perceptual experience. And this was not 20 years ago, but more like 5.

I am here to tell you that while there still is no ‘cure’ for autism, there IS a tremendous amount that you as a parent can do for your child to help him lead a very meaningful, joyful and enriching life. Your child can make significant progress and have a wonderful life. You also can have a “normal” life, as a parent of a child with autism. You can choose to focus on those things that will enhance your child’s development AND create a high quality of life for you and your entire family. In addition, you can choose not to feel guilty that you may desire to do something different than what is commonly expected in the autism treatment world. Only you can know what feels right for your child and family’s situation.

My hope is that you as a parent can experience freedom to choose what works for you and your family. Historically there has been a lot of fear in the autism field. This fear has come through in the design of treatments that initially focused on the appearance of ‘normalcy’ without giving thought to the internal experience of the person being treated. In addition, people with autism were also not treated with much dignity or respect. Therapies that are based on the theory of the old model often seem to be more concerned with changing behavior to make ‘normal’ people feel more comfortable, as opposed to leading to improvements in Quality of Life (i.e. Employment, Relationships, Independence).

Parents are given a large injection of fear throughout the assessment and treatment planning process (“If you don’t get him to do X by the time he is 5, it will never happen”). In many cases, families are provided with a diagnosis and immediately corralled into a range of therapies in an attempt to ‘cure’ the child by the time he is in Kindergarten. Be very mindful of this tendency to base decision-making on fear. If you are feeling fearful, you are more likely to operate out of a fight-or-flight mode, which is reactive instead of proactive. If you are operating out of fear, it is highly likely the approach to your child’s autism will take the form of ‘treatment’, ‘cure’, or ‘fixing’ him (even if those words are not used). Your child may very well perceive judgment and shame, and may come to learn to ‘go through the motions’ to appear acceptable to others. Don’t make decisions “because everyone else is doing it”, but instead carefully consider how an approach will help your child and what impact it will have on the entire family’s quality of life.

Some families have enormous success with the traditional treatments and others keep searching because their child needs something different. In my practice, I have attracted those families who have more complex children that have not responded as well as their parents had hoped. For those brave souls who keep searching and who not only do not give up on their child, but who also may be among the first to stray away from the traditional path – I applaud you. It takes courage to go to a parent support group or talk to parents in a waiting room and have them ask you why you are not doing X, Y or Z therapy like every other parent who has a child with autism? Surely you must know that the only way you can recover your child to a ‘normal’ state is if he spends all his waking hours with people other than his immediate family so they can perform “intervention” on him. Has no one asked the question of what would happen to a “normal” child if he spent 40 hours a week in highly directive, one-sided therapeutic settings, constantly bombarded with questions and ‘testing’ of his knowledge? Would he maintain his natural motivation to be with people, or would he want respite from their demands?

I am not saying that some children don’t benefit from structure or repetition, but I am saying that as a parent, know that what your child needs most for healthy development are things that only YOU can provide. Children need a strong foundation of safety and security to anchor them in the world. This is even more true for children (and adults) with ASD because individual neurological vulnerabilities and differences make them more prone to becoming stressed. I don’t necessarily mean ’emotionally’ stressed, though that may be the case, I am also referring to the fact that people on the autism spectrum are often operating from a state of panic and overwhelm. This occurs on every level, from the level of sensory processing to emotional regulation to social interaction to cognitive functioning. It’s like a house of cards where some of the bottom cards are missing – the slightest breeze, and the whole house comes down.

As a parent you can give your child a solid, strong foundation so he develops the following capacities that are important for a high quality of life:

• Desire to connect and share with others
• Ability to recover from stressful situations and setbacks
• Competence in Relationships
• Motivation to explore new things and try new challenges
• High level of self-awareness
• Self-Regulation for as much independence as possible
• High sense of self-worth and self-esteem
• Self-expression through creative pursuits and hobbies
• Cultivation of special talents
• Feeling loved and accepted for who she is

If you as the parent have the most power to support your child, does that mean you have to go it alone? Of course not. You can seek emotional support through local and online parent groups as well as work with a variety of professionals who can guide you on your path. Knowing you have the power to help your child does not mean that you have to sacrifice your whole existence to autism either. You can prioritize those things that will make the most impact on helping your child live in the ‘real world’ (as opposed to an artificial compensatory environment where he looks good as long as there are no unexpected surprises). You can hire babysitters to give you a break and you can use therapies strategically to get the most benefit while conserving your (and your child’s) energy.

You will likely move through different phases in your child’s treatment over his lifetime, and there is no one ‘right’ way to go about it. If you understand from the beginning that there is not a cookie-cutter approach to treating every child and that you can learn to assess at any point in time exactly what he needs right now, you will relieve yourself of a lot of guilt and anxiety about your decisions. Keep these words in mind: “This is for now, NOT forever.”

Here are a few things you can do daily to support one of the most basic foundations children need, safety and security:

• Cuddle with your child. Did you know that facial gazing, synchronized breathing and touch boost brain chemicals important for bonding and social interaction? If your child is too old to cuddle, there are Tactile Integration programs out there that look like a massage, which provide much-needed organized input for your teen or adult family member with autism.

• Make a point to smile and make eye contact with your child any time she meets your gaze. This is for the same reason as mentioned above.

• Give your child a ‘job’ to do so he experiences himself as an important part of the family. Put him in charge of feeding the dog or emptying the dishwasher. If he is too young or needs help to complete his chore, do it with him (not for him). Some children develop a brand new sense of competence and motivation when parents give them roles like this.

• Spend time daily to be with your child side by side without placing any demands on him. This means nonverbal demands as well – don’t constantly orient toward your child every time he makes a move. Don’t lean your face in to his face. If you have a tendency to talk too much, be quiet. Give yourself a short time frame to get started with and gradually expand the time. (Note that watching TV together does not count).

• Adjust your pace so that you and your child are in “rhythm”. If you are frantically prompting and repeating questions three times before your child can respond, then your communication is not balanced. Slow your pace and give your child time to respond. Be mindful of a 1:1 ratio of communicative attempts if possible.

These are general suggestions to get started with bonding and creating an atmosphere conducive to developing those capacities that are required for a higher quality of life.

April Choulat teaches parents, educators and therapists around the world how to build brighter futures for children with autism by using innovative approaches based on the latest research. Get her FREE ezine and articles at http://www.pathwaysdlc.com/.

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Autistic Self Injury, Autism Self Harming Autistic Children

Research into the cause and frequency of autism self harming behavior in autistic children shows that depending on the functioning level of the child and IQ that up to 70% of children with a range of intellectual disabilities are likely to self harm.

Studies into low functioning autism show an increased probability autistic self injury behavior.

Autism self harming behaviors are sometimes referred to as self mutilation, self destructive, or masochistic behaviors. Behavior specialists will sometimes categorize self harming behaviors in autistic children as autistic repetitive stereotypical behaviors, with the proposed difference being at the moment of self injury.

Autistic repetitive stereotypical behaviors can have a very wide range from finger picking which is classed as mild to severe head banging which of cause is serious and will have damaging affects.

The autistic self injury will vary between individuals and will largely depend on the circumstances and environmental input at the time of the self harming autism behavior.

One theory for why autistic children use self harming autism behavior is that of self – stimulation. Autistic children are either classed as being over sensitive or under sensitive to their environment.

One set of repetitive stereotypical autistic behaviors or autistic stimming (hand flapping, rocking, finger tapping, and spinning) is used in under aroused autistic individuals to provide sensory stimulation.

Suitable behavior management strategies can be put used to help control and mange repetitive stereotypical autistic behaviors.

One autism resources is “autism social skills stories”. For example: Jessie is a seven year old autistic child that uses the self harming autistic behavior of finger picking.

Her OT suggested using social skills stories to help Jessie find strategies for dealing with this behavior and a suitable social skills story was put in place to help Jessie control and manage this autistic behavior. 

A summary report on Jessie’s autistic behavior after two weeks showed a vast improvement in Jessie’s autistic self harming behavior after the social skill story had been implemented and reported less incidence of finger picking.

Such autism resources as autism social skills stories are used effectively in controlling and managing autism self harming behaviors. Research shows autistic children respond well to visual support in the form of autism social skills stories.

Autistic behaviors such as autistic stimming can be helped using autism social skills stories.

Immediate download from:


autism social skills stories can be used for a wide variety of autistic behaviors. They can also be used to teach social skills effectively like tooth brushing, visiting the dentis, good eating habits and so on. Get immediate downloads of over 100 social skills stories from www.autismsocialstories.com
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