Stimming: Is It Always Related to Autism?

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If you constantly engage in self-stimulating behaviors such as repetitive body movements or repeatedly moving objects, it means that you’re in the stimming behavior. A lot of people are doing such actions, from repeatedly maneuvering a pencil, throwing the remote control from one hand to another, and all the way to tapping with their foot on the floor.

What’s interesting is that in the Diagnostic and Statistic Manual of Mental Disorders, which was published by the American Psychiatric Association, stimming is listed as one of the five main diagnostic criteria for autism spectrum disorder.

Most people are stimming in one way or another. So, is this condition always related to autism? Let’s find out!

Stimming is NOT always a sign that you’re autistic

Stimming is NOT always a sign that you’re suffering from autism. Young children, such as infants and toddlers, are often engaged in stimming behaviors. It could be part of their development phase. As they get older, those behaviors will usually disappear.

It’s also not a secret that, in some situations, stimming can become harmful. That’s when support professionals or parents must step in.

Many autistic people stim

A lot of people who suffer from autism also have stimming behaviors, which is one of the arguments for the misunderstanding that stimming might also be related to autism. In fact, autistic people stim because it helps them adapt to the situation and cope with it better, according to their reports. Sadly or not, stimming could be the only way for a person to regulate and keep all together.

Autism: the basics

Autism is also known as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), and it’s a neurodevelopmental disorder that has an impact on the patient’s social interactions, communication, as well as behavior. While the condition isn’t life-threatening, it can make a serious impact on the life and well-being of the individual.

Autism usually appears in early childhood and can last throughout a person’s lifetime.

The symptoms of autism can vary from person to person but usually fall into two big categories:

Social challenges

Those who suffer from autism often have trouble when it comes to communicating with others. They may even struggle to maintain eye contact, using nonverbal cues such as gestures, and engaging in usual back-and-forth conversations. These people might also have difficulties in developing and maintaining relationships.

Repetitive behaviors and loss of interest

People who suffer from autism may engage in repetitive behaviors like rocking, hand-flapping, or echolalia (repeating words or phrases).

Unfortunately, there is no known cure for autism. Instead, there are various interventions and therapies available that can help patients manage their symptoms and improve their lives.

It is possible for individuals who suffer from autism to reach their full potential. Education and support services can provide help for that matter. Special education programs can turn out to be essential to help autism patients.

Each person who has autism is unique, as we’re talking about a spectrum. If early diagnosis and intervention kick in, the outcomes for those with autism can significantly improve.

Let’s face it: a lot of us practice stimming behaviors. When we’re anxious, we’re tapping our foot. When we’re happy, we sing a song or whistle, especially if we’re alone in the house. It doesn’t automatically mean that we’re autistic, contrary to what some people might believe.


Tommy’s hobby has always been playing video games. He enjoys competing in video games tournaments and writing about his experience. It’s not a big surprise that he mostly covers the latest trends from the gaming industry.