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Autism - Support Across the Spectrum Autism - Support Across the Spectrum

Out of control stimming =/ What can we do?

Posted by on Sep. 24, 2013 at 9:38 AM
  • 29 Replies

Sam just turned 4 this month and his stimming is getting out of control. We had his IEP meeting this week and if i had a dollar for every time the word "stim/stims/stimming" was mentioned i'd be rich.  It is really beginning to hinder his ability to learn. He just started walking a month or two ago and now he's managed to add 2 more stims into his regimen (pacing and walking in circles). He is very low functioning, nonverbal, non communicative (doesn't sign, understand pecs, and is just now learning to use a switch about 20% of the time).  I know that he will never stop stimming completely, but what can we do to get him to reduce his stims even a little? We try constantly redirecting, but he's so relentless. He is always flapping, rocking, walking in circles, pacing, shaking anything he can (shoe strings, cat toys, ribbons, wires, his feeding tube). He holds his hand open in front of his face and waves something behind it or makes the "y" sign in front of his face and yells at it....ALL DAY LONG. He has verbal stims (gurgle urgle urgle urgle, gagagagaga, eeeeeeeeeee), and if he's not doing that he's got his fingers crammed in his mouth. He has therapists galore, PT, OT, Speech at school and then private PT and Speech an hour a week also. He has a one on one aide in the classroom and so many people trying to help him, but he just seems unreachable =/  Please Help!

by on Sep. 24, 2013 at 9:38 AM
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Replies (1-10):
Jenibob
by Bronze Member on Sep. 24, 2013 at 10:00 AM

Wow, lots of things going on.  Frustrating.,.. I'm thinking target one area at a time.  Has he tried the weighted vest, or been given something to manipulate to keep his hands busy?  How about something to chew on? A lot of trial and error will go on to determine what helps in what situations.  You may see slow progress, ex:  the vest may help him for a short time to remain focused.  Don't give up, it is frustrating!  Hang in there, you can do this.  You will find something that works.....

megs2boys
by Member on Sep. 24, 2013 at 10:29 AM

We are currently trying a Benik vest to make him feel more secure and aware of his space, but that doesn't seem to be working very well yet. Because he just started walking he is still rather unstable so anything weighted would throw him off balance, but that may be an option for when he gets more stable on his feet.


I wish we could give him something to keep him busy, but he quite literally stims on ANYTHING that is put in his hands. Bottle caps, strings, fidget toys, hula hoops, a mini piano....everything........he just lifts it at arms length in front of his face and shakes it side to side. 

Because he is g-tube fed and has never had food by mouth (aspiration issues) he wont put anything in his mouth besides his fingers (but its not for lack of trying!)  When he was about 2 he loved the chewie tubes, but now he wont go near them. He does occasionally try to chew on his feeding tube so perhaps a chewi necklace of the same consistency would work? But he LOVES to shake necklaces....so he'll probably just take it off and shake it instead!!

Quoting Jenibob:

Wow, lots of things going on.  Frustrating.,.. I'm thinking target one area at a time.  Has he tried the weighted vest, or been given something to manipulate to keep his hands busy?  How about something to chew on? A lot of trial and error will go on to determine what helps in what situations.  You may see slow progress, ex:  the vest may help him for a short time to remain focused.  Don't give up, it is frustrating!  Hang in there, you can do this.  You will find something that works.....



SamMom912
by Gold Member on Sep. 24, 2013 at 11:48 AM
1 mom liked this

Wow... CAn you reduce the amount of stress he is under... Sounds like things are too rough, too much.. And I know it is all good/helpful.. But he may just be telling you "this is too much" and he cant handle it. 

Can you take some stuff off his plate, get him some more relax time.. See if the stims calm a bit and slowly add stressors back? 

You could also try to increase his proprioceptive and vesibular input to see if they reduce stims... 

jaydensmom1726
by Bronze Member on Sep. 24, 2013 at 12:40 PM

is he sensory seeking.and does he like deep pressure? if  he likes the pressure have his school try a weighted vest or compression vest

have you tried hippo-therapy (horse therapy) it did great things when we started jayden in it
megs2boys
by Member on Sep. 24, 2013 at 1:07 PM

He is definitely a sensory seeker and loves deep pressure. I will continue with the compression vest we have in hopes it will start working soon. We are set to begin equine therapy in the spring. His physical therapist also has therapy horses and would love for him to try it! He is weak in his upper body,  has pretty poor muscle tone and trunk support so she wants to make sure he is physically strong enough, but she put him on the saddle simulator at therapy Monday morning and he loved it!


Quoting jaydensmom1726:

is he sensory seeking.and does he like deep pressure? if  he likes the pressure have his school try a weighted vest or compression vest

have you tried hippo-therapy (horse therapy) it did great things when we started jayden in it



megs2boys
by Member on Sep. 24, 2013 at 1:15 PM

I realize in re-reading my post that it sounds like he gets that amount of therapy each day which is not the case! That would definitely over load him. He has PT monday mornings and Speech Thursday afternoons. He goes to prek for 4 hours in the afternoon Mon-Thurs, while there he receives one service each day for 30 minutes of the 4 hours. In the mornings before school and in the afternoons after he has free reign of the house and tons of down time. He also takes very long naps either before or after school (due to some metabolic issues he tires easily some days). When left on his "own" to do as he pleases he will stim for hours at a time, the ONLY thing that so far stops his stimming immediately is Mickey Mouse Clubhouse! He will stop and watch for 30 minutes with minimal stimming.

He definitely needs more vestibular input and he is very much a sensory seeker. When he was on his "sensory diet" we DID see a decrease in the stims. But unfortunatley he has developed a recent terror of heights (we used to spin and swing him in his autism cuddle swing and he loved it very much, now we cant get him within ten feet of it so we are trying to find something else that might help, but its been challenging.


Quoting SamMom912:

Wow... CAn you reduce the amount of stress he is under... Sounds like things are too rough, too much.. And I know it is all good/helpful.. But he may just be telling you "this is too much" and he cant handle it. 

Can you take some stuff off his plate, get him some more relax time.. See if the stims calm a bit and slowly add stressors back? 

You could also try to increase his proprioceptive and vesibular input to see if they reduce stims... 



jaydensmom1726
by Bronze Member on Sep. 24, 2013 at 1:19 PM

if the place he gets pt has a saddle simulator it must be a really nice place

Quoting megs2boys:

He is definitely a sensory seeker and loves deep pressure. I will continue with the compression vest we have in hopes it will start working soon. We are set to begin equine therapy in the spring. His physical therapist also has therapy horses and would love for him to try it! He is weak in his upper body,  has pretty poor muscle tone and trunk support so she wants to make sure he is physically strong enough, but she put him on the saddle simulator at therapy Monday morning and he loved it!


Quoting jaydensmom1726:

is he sensory seeking.and does he like deep pressure? if  he likes the pressure have his school try a weighted vest or compression vest

have you tried hippo-therapy (horse therapy) it did great things when we started jayden in it





megs2boys
by Member on Sep. 24, 2013 at 1:27 PM

It is a very nice place! They are two women, one in PT and the other in Speech that rented out the space together and share it. They have both previously worked in the school system and for different organizations, but ultimately decided to open their own business! It is a wonderful facility and we were very lucky to get in when we did because they are totally booked now with a long waiting list!


Quoting jaydensmom1726:

if the place he gets pt has a saddle simulator it must be a really nice place

Quoting megs2boys:

He is definitely a sensory seeker and loves deep pressure. I will continue with the compression vest we have in hopes it will start working soon. We are set to begin equine therapy in the spring. His physical therapist also has therapy horses and would love for him to try it! He is weak in his upper body,  has pretty poor muscle tone and trunk support so she wants to make sure he is physically strong enough, but she put him on the saddle simulator at therapy Monday morning and he loved it!


Quoting jaydensmom1726:

is he sensory seeking.and does he like deep pressure? if  he likes the pressure have his school try a weighted vest or compression vest

have you tried hippo-therapy (horse therapy) it did great things when we started jayden in it







ineedcoffeemom
by Brittaney on Sep. 24, 2013 at 1:44 PM
1 mom liked this

I bet with a good therapy place like  the one you go to, they've tried lots of sensory things .... but was the swing the only thing he liked?  You could get a medium sized exercise ball and try to sit him on it and slowly move it around or bounce it while he's sitting on it. It'd actually probably be similar to the saddle simulator. And you could try a board with wheels (like what most of us used to use in pe) to lay on his stomach and slide across the floor on.

It definitely sounds like he's just not getting enough strong sensory stimulation so he's having to do it for himself all day long. Look up sensory diets and just try everything on the list til you find which ones work. My daughter's a sensory seeker too ..... although she has a stim that calms her and keeps her from doing anything else, but this stim is soooo calming she shuts the world out when she does it.    Have you tried any aromatherapy things? Might sound odd, but for a while my daughter would chew on cinnamon sticks and it helped her want to engage with us instead of being in her own world.

SamMom912
by Gold Member on Sep. 24, 2013 at 2:23 PM
1 mom liked this

 I didnt THINK you did ALL that in one day.. LOL.. wow.. he'd be too exhausted to stim..... LOL... but even that schedule is a lot. Dont forget, he tires easily, you said yourself.... 4 hours of preschool is a lot for a kid with sensory issues, motor planning, low muscle tone.  Even if he isnt getting upset at school that means he is holding himself together and it is a lot of work for these guys!! The time replenishing may not be enough. Im not saying it is or its not, Im just saying IF you could try to take some demands off his plate and see if that makes a difference then you'd know... stimming is sometimes looking for input, sometimes a self soothing response to stress. Perhaps try baths with lavender? maybe some soothing scents? (didnt work for my guy... who is ALSO a Sam! :)) but maybe for yours?

My guy orally stims (quoting movies, books or play words) and twirls his hair when unders stress.
Some of what Im reading may NOT really be a stim, but more of his way of trying to make sense of the world and learn about how HIS senses work in this world. (the shaking I think is more exploratory maybe?) My son use to throw balls or shoot cars down the railing of the stairs.. his OT at the time explained that he was just trying to figure out spacial relations/noise/cause=effect/ and piecing it all together in HIS world... It doesnt come easy to them ---understadning how their bodies get information---- and it's nothing they can rely or trust in---and repetition is learning...


Quoting megs2boys:

I realize in re-reading my post that it sounds like he gets that amount of therapy each day which is not the case! That would definitely over load him. He has PT monday mornings and Speech Thursday afternoons. He goes to prek for 4 hours in the afternoon Mon-Thurs, while there he receives one service each day for 30 minutes of the 4 hours. In the mornings before school and in the afternoons after he has free reign of the house and tons of down time. He also takes very long naps either before or after school (due to some metabolic issues he tires easily some days). When left on his "own" to do as he pleases he will stim for hours at a time, the ONLY thing that so far stops his stimming immediately is Mickey Mouse Clubhouse! He will stop and watch for 30 minutes with minimal stimming.

He definitely needs more vestibular input and he is very much a sensory seeker. When he was on his "sensory diet" we DID see a decrease in the stims. But unfortunatley he has developed a recent terror of heights (we used to spin and swing him in his autism cuddle swing and he loved it very much, now we cant get him within ten feet of it so we are trying to find something else that might help, but its been challenging.

 

Quoting SamMom912:

Wow... CAn you reduce the amount of stress he is under... Sounds like things are too rough, too much.. And I know it is all good/helpful.. But he may just be telling you "this is too much" and he cant handle it. 

Can you take some stuff off his plate, get him some more relax time.. See if the stims calm a bit and slowly add stressors back? 

You could also try to increase his proprioceptive and vesibular input to see if they reduce stims... 

 

 


 

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