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Old 05-07-14, 04:19 PM
MikhailTal MikhailTal is offline
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Self-stimulatory behaviour

Hello there, I'm diagnosed with ADD-I, but some of my 'quirks' are still not explained. A year or two ago, I found out I've performed self-stimulatory behavior all my life, behavior that is seen often in people with some form of autism, as you probably know. Before that behavior had a name, I already knew that it wasn't normal, and I wouldn't perform my quirky behavior when people were around.

I'll give some examples, some are perhaps recognizable. As a child I liked to pace around thinking or fantasizing, twisting a chord between my fingers (vestibular stimulation), and I still like to do when I have to think something over; I like to smell my fingers, I like to touch my nose (stimulation of smell and touch). When I'm very excited or happy, I feel the need to walk around fast, sometimes I'll jump around in my room (of course, when you hear that you've won a million dollar in the lottery this is normal, but not when something a bit less special occurs), and flap my hands.

So I was wondering; is this already enough to consider myself autistic to some degree, or does sensory integration disorder (I've read that self-stimulatory behavior in autism is caused by this comorbid condition) exist outside autism?

However, some other common autistic traits are absent in me; although I'm not a social butterfly, I'm able to stand routine changes (I don't have many routines to begin with), I have no trouble with recognizing face expressions or body language, I understand and use irony and metaphors all the time, I have no obsessions with patterns or numbers... I do know two persons who exhibit the same self-stimulatory behavior; my brother and mother, who both do have trouble with routine, understanding irony and so on, so I consider them to be autistic to some degree (perhaps not enough to be diagnozed though). Since they are my relatives, I'm starting to doubt myself; could my ADD-I be ASD (I'm aware that they can be comorbid)?

I'm just curious about myself, and I don't feel the need to see a doctor to get myself tested, perhaps somebody here can give some insight...
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Old 05-07-14, 05:14 PM
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Re: Self-stimulatory behaviour

The responsible answer: It isn't known how this works or how these things fit together.

My answer: What you're saying sounds reasonable and plausible. I think, because it's clear that the behaviours you describe are not having a bad effect on your life, that maybe it's better to keep the questions as questions, and not be too quick to nail down answers to them.

I have a friend with very similar characteristics to yours. She's in her 40s and things are just fine for her.
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Old 05-07-14, 05:59 PM
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Re: Self-stimulatory behaviour

Stimming can be part of any developmental disorder, it's just more common in autism.
For me, it seems to be related to GAD (general anxiety disorder).
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Old 05-08-14, 04:38 AM
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Re: Self-stimulatory behaviour

Could be tics maybe.
Tics is a mild form of Tourettes (also a part of NeuroPsychiatric Disorders).

Or it could be OCD maybe.
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Old 05-08-14, 06:04 AM
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Re: Self-stimulatory behaviour



I wonder about this, too. As an adult I notice more tic-like and stimming behavior in myself. Dunno if it's because I'm more aware, more anxious or what.

If I'm thinking about something embarrassing or distressful I sometimes find myself saying certain phrases. Like, "I'm done", "I'm tired", "I want to go home". Usually I can swallow them if I'm with people but I say them loud and clear when alone.

I also sometimes rub my hands together when excited or obsessing over something but again I can suppress easily enough if I'm with people.

I also self injure (rarely now but more commonly when I was a kid) in a way that is very tic-like with build up and release. I could never relate to the self injury stories where people recounted being almost addicted to it and seeking it out. For me it's all about impulse and loss of control.

For what it's worth, I am not diagnosed as autistic/aspie (though sometimes I wonder).
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Old 05-08-14, 08:57 AM
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Re: Self-stimulatory behaviour

The way I see this... is that it ties very tightly in with our chaos propensity.

i.e. there is something about multisensual inputs that is either soothing or "pacemaking"... it may be neurally tied in ways to the aut. though I don't feel it's indicative of much more in that direction.

Tapping therapy... some of Kunga's recent posts on drumming... and tics are all potentially linkable...

It is polar to mindfullness or perhaps, out->in rather than in->out so to speak... I believe the stimuli provides "distraction" or "blinkers" for our emotional drivers somewhat... and most likely... it's bi-directional... in that hightened emotional states can initiate the self initiated "soothing"...
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Old 05-08-14, 09:26 AM
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Re: Self-stimulatory behaviour

I'm a little in shock. I've done these things all my life; I've recently mostly stopped just because going on Adderall made me self conscious about myself. But as a kid. and to an extent now, I would always :

Quote:
Originally Posted by MikhailTal View Post
pace around thinking or fantasizing, (this is still a favorite hobby of mine)
twisting a chord between my fingers (vestibular stimulation),
I like to smell my fingers,
When I'm very excited or happy, I feel the need to walk around fast, sometimes I'll jump around in my room
I'm definitely not classic "Hollywood" autistic. My only diagnosis is ADHD (I'm not sure if ADHD or Tourette's is official). I can converse with people when I need to.. Interact.. Socialized, .. I hate it but I can do it. (Hanging with friends is NOT socializing - I like that.)

I can also read people well, but the most recent thinking suggests that many autistics are extremely good at reading people... but they can't react well "in the moment".. I can't either. I'm not diagnosed with aspergers, but I feel I have it, or at least understanding aspergers and seeing family with aspergers helps me understand what's going on with me.

I don't know if that's what you're looking for; maybe I'm way off.
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Old 05-08-14, 11:04 AM
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Re: Self-stimulatory behaviour

Hm...couldn't these be ADHD traits as well, in particular pacing around and twisting things in your hand (like fidgeting??)??
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Old 05-09-14, 02:29 AM
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Re: Self-stimulatory behaviour

I exhibit many of the same behaviors and after my diagnosis I assumed they were a result of either the adhd or anxiety. Like not knowing what to do with energy or emotions and needing a physical outlet??
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Old 05-09-14, 03:27 AM
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Re: Self-stimulatory behaviour

Nothing in ADHD diagnose manual says anything about fidgeting.

Anxiety though (whatever the reason) can trigger OCD and stimming.
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Old 05-09-14, 04:16 AM
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Re: Self-stimulatory behaviour

Quote:
Originally Posted by Flia View Post
Nothing in ADHD diagnose manual says anything about fidgeting.

Anxiety though (whatever the reason) can trigger OCD and stimming.
Fidgeting is one of the diagnostic criteria in DSM V:

Quote:
Diagnostic Criteria for the three subtypes of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder according to DSM-IV:

A. “Persistent pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that is more frequently displayed and is more severe than is typically observed in individuals at comparable level of development.” Individual must meet criteria for either (1) or (2):

(1) Six (or more) of the following symptoms of inattention have persisted for at least six months to a degree that is maladaptive and inconsistent with developmental level:

Inattention
(a) often fails to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in schoolwork, work or other activities
(b) often has difficulty sustaining attention in tasks or play activity
(c) often does not seem to listen when spoken to directly
(d) often does not follow through on instructions and fails to finish schoolwork, chores or duties in the workplace (not due to oppositional behavior or failure to understand instructions)
(e) often has difficulty organizing tasks and activities
(f) often avoids, dislikes, or is reluctant to engage in tasks that require sustained mental effort (such as schoolwork or homework)
(g) often looses things necessary for tasks or activities (e.g., toys, school assignments, pencils, books or tools)
(h) is often easily distracted by extraneous stimuli
(i) is often forgetful in daily activities

(2) Six (or more) of the following symptoms of hyperactivity-impulsivity have persisted for at least six months to a degree that is maladaptive and inconsistent with developmental level:

Hyperactivity
(a) often fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in seat
(b) often leaves seat in classroom or in other situations in which remaining seated is expected
(c) often runs about or climbs excessively in situations in which it is inappropriate (in adolescents or adults, may be limited to subjective feelings of restlessness)
(d) often has difficulty playing or engaging in leisure activities quietly
(e) is often “on the go” or often acts as if “driven by a motor”
(f) often talks excessively

Impulsivity
(g) often blurts out answers before questions have been completed
(h) often has difficulty awaiting turn
(i) often interrupts or intrudes on others (e.g., butts into conversations or games)
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Old 05-09-14, 06:35 AM
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Re: Self-stimulatory behaviour

I think there's a fine line between fidgeting and self-stim anyways. Somehow, bouncing one's leg or clicking a pen are socially acceptable (if not annoying) ways to blow off extra energy. Rocking and/or hand-flapping are simply seen as weird.

As an aside, I know a couple of people who literally rock almost every time they sit down. Neither has been diagnosed with anything on spectrum, as far as I know, but both would be considered incredibly high-functioning in any case (even though neither one is particularly a social butterfly. One of whom is a definite jerk who has no idea how to treat other people as more than objects personality-wise)
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Old 05-09-14, 08:33 AM
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Re: Self-stimulatory behaviour

Quote:
Originally Posted by TygerSan View Post
I think there's a fine line between fidgeting and self-stim anyways. Somehow, bouncing one's leg or clicking a pen are socially acceptable (if not annoying) ways to blow off extra energy. Rocking and/or hand-flapping are simply seen as weird.

As an aside, I know a couple of people who literally rock almost every time they sit down. Neither has been diagnosed with anything on spectrum, as far as I know, but both would be considered incredibly high-functioning in any case (even though neither one is particularly a social butterfly. One of whom is a definite jerk who has no idea how to treat other people as more than objects personality-wise)
Is the difference between fidgeting and stimming that fidgeting is just a way to release energy and the purpose of stimming is to calm and soothe yourself?
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Old 05-09-14, 08:41 AM
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Re: Self-stimulatory behaviour

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fuzzy12 View Post
Is the difference between fidgeting and stimming that fidgeting is just a way to release energy and the purpose of stimming is to calm and soothe yourself?
Stimming isn't always about calming yourself. You do it when you're excited, to help balance yourself (physically) and to actually feel where your body is in the world. That last one is a bit hard to understand but when I stim the most I feel pretty numb in my arms and legs. So I start punching them.

There's no way hand flapping is a fidget or something done when normally anxious or a part of OCD. They are wide elaborate movements. It's like a head banging swan.
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Old 05-09-14, 08:45 AM
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Re: Self-stimulatory behaviour

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stevuke79 View Post
I'm a little in shock. I've done these things all my life; I've recently mostly stopped just because going on Adderall made me self conscious about myself. But as a kid. and to an extent now, I would always :



I'm definitely not classic "Hollywood" autistic. My only diagnosis is ADHD (I'm not sure if ADHD or Tourette's is official). I can converse with people when I need to.. Interact.. Socialized, .. I hate it but I can do it. (Hanging with friends is NOT socializing - I like that.)

I can also read people well, but the most recent thinking suggests that many autistics are extremely good at reading people... but they can't react well "in the moment".. I can't either. I'm not diagnosed with aspergers, but I feel I have it, or at least understanding aspergers and seeing family with aspergers helps me understand what's going on with me.

I don't know if that's what you're looking for; maybe I'm way off.
Hollywood autistic? Really? Because Hollywood get autism so right.

Hanging out with friends is socializing.

It's not as simple as autistic people being better at reading people. They read people differently. There's still a major impairment in reading body language normally and this second sense is only developed through training oneself to read people better. You pick up when people are being dishonest and hiding it. It's just pattern recognition.

/honestly blunt reply.
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