Self stimulatory behaviours… are we all heading for greatness?

What people call self stimulatory behaviours differs from family to family, culture to culture. An inquisitive mind fixated on an invention they feel will one day impress others may spend hours fiddling around or experimenting with something and outsiders may well call that ‘stimming’, some people say that reading is their ‘stim’. Conversely, just because one person’s stimming has been in constructive pursuit of understanding, skills building and achievement, doesn’t mean that all people’s self stimulatory behaviours are equally voluntary or constructive.

Tourette’s tics and compulsions in Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) can both be mistaken for self stimulatory behaviours but are entirely involuntary and nothing at all to do with obsessive interests. In fact whilst those with these impulse control disorders may be caught up in what others label stimming, the person with these compulsions may never be able to expand these constructively for the very reason they were involuntary and undesired by themselves in the first place.

Other forms of true self stimulatory behaviours can have nothing to do with interests and more to do with distress in meltdown states caused by information overload, isolation and distress due to severe sensory perceptual and information processing problems, self comforting in those with untreated mood and anxiety disorders or expressions of addiction to their own particular biochemistry highs brought about through particular self stimulatory behaviours. To wrongly assume that all people who engage in self stimulatory behaviours are on the road to great discoveries and skills is wishful thinking and over application.

by Donna Williams
author of 9 books
copyright Donna Williams 2006

Donna Williams *)
Ever the naughty Autie.

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