Posts Tagged "stimming"

Running Man

Posted by on Jan 8, 2014 | 0 comments

Running Man

When you think of autism, what’s the first image that pops into your mind?

(It’s ok, we’re not pc here.)

I’m guessing it’s something along the lines of a child flapping their hands wildly. Or spinning in circles. Or making strange, loud sounds.

In the autism community, we call these “stims.” When somebody is “stimming,” they’re seeking sensory input, or stimulation. Stimming comes in all kinds of forms, often as individual as the person doing it.

Jack likes to run. In the house, in a pattern.

We call it “doing laps.”

When Jack is running laps, he’s in his own world. He has a set pattern, which usually starts at the couch in the living room, takes him through the room into the kitchen, off the fridge (it used to be the sliding glass door, until we finally convinced him that it might hurt to accidentally go through it), down the hall into the front door, and back into the living room, landing with a bounce on the couch.

With barely a breath in between, he’s off again.

He does this for a while, and he’s pretty much in his head the entire time. Meaning, he’s not available for conversation. Or much else, really.

He’s off in autism land.

autism is amazing

I finally asked Jack what he’s thinking when he’s running his laps, as I was a bit concerned that he might be doing it out of frustration or anxiety.

“When I run like that, I’m thinking happy thoughts,” he said. “Right now, I’m thinking about Rugrats.”

Ok, then. I pressed him to explain further.

“Sometimes I think happy thoughts, sometimes. I’m walking around, which could give me energy.”

Makes complete sense.

I asked him if he’s upset, or if he just does it.

“I just decide to think happy thoughts.”

I had a feeling that as much as I was gaining a little bit of insight into Jack’s habit, I was starting to annoy him. Still, I pressed on. What makes him happy? What comes to him while he’s doing laps?

“Can I keep that a secret? I don’t want to tell you that.”

Of course. A man needs his secrets. He’ll tell me in his own time.

“Maybe I shouldn’t have said that. Cause I didn’t want that conversation.”

Or not.


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