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Old 08-22-12, 12:38 AM
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Stimming vs. fidgeting?

Hey, I've been introspecting about this stuff a whole lot lately, and am trying to sort out exactly what the "symptoms" that I experience really are. Here's a bunch of things I do. Can you tell if they're stimming or fidgeting?

While sitting, put my toe on the ground, and bob my knee up and down.
While sitting with leg crossed, will wiggle my ankle. I often follow a specific geometric pattern with my foot while I'm doing this (like a loop in the shape of a capital L).
While lying down or sitting, wiggle toes.
While talking to people, I lean forwards and back (very subtly, I doubt they notice) and sometimes bounce up and down (once again, subtly)
Feel the texture of my palm, trace circles around my nails, or clap my hand, both typically just using a single hand to do so (i.e. the same hand that I'm feeling).
Bite my nails.
Pick my nose (and, I'm very ashamed to say, eat it. It disgusts my wife and I can't stop it!)
stroke my beard (just lightly enough that it moves the hair around. This is difficult to describe. The hair is short and stiff though, a different texture to that on the top of my head)
Squeeze pimples, pick scabs, pull hair out around pimples. I don't think I would have any pimples/scabs on my face if I just stopped touching my face.
Rubbing my wife's hand repetitively while watching a movie in the theatre. She finds this very annoying (actually painful because I do it too hard).

That's all I can think of for now. There are more.

I couldn't say how often I do some of these, because I don't seem to be aware when I'm doing it very much. I've been becoming more aware these past few weeks. All I can say is that my wife says "I'm the twitchiest M.. F... she's ever met!" Hah.
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Old 08-22-12, 12:39 AM
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Re: Stimming vs. fidgeting?

Is this really the only non-stickied thread in here or am I bugged??
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Old 08-22-12, 12:43 AM
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Re: Stimming vs. fidgeting?

Go down to "display options" and sort for the "last 100 days" or something longer.
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Old 08-22-12, 12:45 AM
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Re: Stimming vs. fidgeting?

Stimming, from an autism standpoint, doesn't really seem to be about extra energy, but rather a pattern of behavior that is soothing and self-regulatory.

Fidgeting, from my own ADHD perspective, is about extra hyperness that needs to be let out so I don't peel out of my skin.
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Old 08-22-12, 12:54 AM
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Re: Stimming vs. fidgeting?

See, I don't know why I do these things at all. I don't think I find it soothing. Actually, maybe I sometimes do (bouncing a little while talking to someone). I don't necessarily find it about extra energy. Maybe sometimes (bobbing my knee). For many of the other things above I couldn't tell you why I do them. I do wonder whether I am alexithymic. I don't think I have a lot of self-insight.

I'd say that I do the foot-L-shape thing because I find tracing patterns with my foot to be fun. That's about as in-depth as I can intuit, regarding my motivations.

The beard stroking thing is done automatically and often without conscious awareness. But I'd say that I enjoy the feeling of the hair as it responds to my fingers. I really don't know.
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Old 08-22-12, 01:01 AM
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Re: Stimming vs. fidgeting?

I do such much aspie stuff, but socially I just don't seem to fit. I don't get it. I'm sure I'll never know if I'm on the spectrum or not. Has there been research into ADHD sensory issues? All of the ASD type stuff that applies to me is sensory.
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Old 08-22-12, 01:03 AM
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Re: Stimming vs. fidgeting?

i do those body motion things frequently as well
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Old 08-22-12, 01:35 AM
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Re: Stimming vs. fidgeting?

Yeah, I'm not sure what other aspects of Asperger's I experience. I mean, I do tend to obsess over my hobbies. And I do feel like an alien. But I seem to be able to read facial expressions OK. That said, I'm a bit slow to react, I think. People will walk by and say hi... that's NOT enough time to react by saying hi back - the best they'll normally get is a grimace! haha.
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Old 08-22-12, 01:48 AM
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Re: Stimming vs. fidgeting?

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Originally Posted by Assumption View Post
Yeah, I'm not sure what other aspects of Asperger's I experience. I mean, I do tend to obsess over my hobbies. And I do feel like an alien. But I seem to be able to read facial expressions OK. That said, I'm a bit slow to react, I think. People will walk by and say hi... that's NOT enough time to react by saying hi back - the best they'll normally get is a grimace! haha.
I share a lot of social things that might appear to be aspie like, but usually they are because I'm not paying attention or I'm too slow to respond. However, I understand social rules naturally....I just don't always use them because of attention/anxiety issues. Aspies, for the most part, do not have that natural ability read and react to social situations naturally. This is in generalities, of course.
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Old 08-22-12, 01:56 AM
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Re: Stimming vs. fidgeting?

Yeah, I have no trouble understanding social rules. Following them is a different matter.

I'm a nerd, but I don't think I take the obsession thing to the extreme. I usually jump from thing to thing- I'll be super into something one month, and have forgotten about it the next. In that month I'll have absorbed all the info I could though.

I have pica and irritability caused by sound and touch. Sometimes I'll do things that are a little bit stimmy.
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Old 08-22-12, 02:14 AM
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Re: Stimming vs. fidgeting?

Problem is, I tend to think I understand them. But many people seem to disagree. Recently I got into an argument with my office mates about whether what I said was against a social rule or not!

I also often seem to discount many social considerations that many people think are important, and focus on rules of morality and fairness that other people are happy to turn a blind eye to. For instance, researchers often seem to promise anonymity, when their research designs only guarantee confidentiality. They'll say things like "your data will only be identified by a code" when they store data in one place (with a code) and then store a separate document with codes + participant contact details in a separate place. It would be trivial to figure out what someone's identity is - that's not anonymity, it's confidentiality.

Also, it's one thing to know that you should hug someone when they're sad, or when you greet a very close friend or family member, and it's another thing to actually want to do it. I tend not to be motivated to do that. In the first case I'll tell them how to fix their problem, and in the second case I'll talk to them about what I've been thinking about.
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Old 08-22-12, 02:20 AM
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Re: Stimming vs. fidgeting?

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Problem is, I tend to think I understand them. But many people seem to disagree. Recently I got into an argument with my office mates about whether what I said was against a social rule or not!
I suppose this applies to me as well. But I think the arguing probably means it's not ASD.
I also don't care about a lot of social norms or rules, and I do get the obsession with fairness bit.
Quote:
Also, it's one thing to know that you should hug someone when they're sad, or when you greet a very close friend or family member, and it's another thing to actually want to do it. I tend not to be motivated to do that. In the first case I'll tell them how to fix their problem, and in the second case I'll talk to them about what I've been thinking about.
Yep, me too.
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Old 08-22-12, 02:31 AM
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Re: Stimming vs. fidgeting?

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I suppose this applies to me as well. But I think the arguing probably means it's not ASD.
How do you conclude this? If there's one thing autistic people can do, it's argue.

To answer the OP: I haven't been able to find a clear distinction. There are a lot of theories as to what stimming is. Something I found on an "autism wiki" is:

Quote:
There are many theories about the function of stimming, and the reasons for its increased incidence in autistic people. For hyposensitive people, it may provide needed nervous system arousal, releasing beta-endorphins. For hypersensitive people, it may provide a "norming" effect, allowing the person to control a specific sense, and is thus a soothing behavior.
I've experienced both of these. I know after a mild concussion I had a really strong need for stimulation and stimmed a lot more than usual.

I'm hesitant to take any single source as the definition, however. A lot of them are produced by NTs and other non-autistic people and are thus often external interpretations of autistic behavior, which are often wrong.
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Old 08-22-12, 03:12 AM
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Re: Stimming vs. fidgeting?

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How do you conclude this? If there's one thing autistic people can do, it's argue.
Because you are always so gracious Fortune!

Like when you asked me about the wet hair, you were genuinely curious. There are social protocols that I insist don't exist, but it's because I think they're pointless and stupid. Deep down I suppose I know they do, but I don't want them to.

I argue for the sake of argument, I play devil's advocate. When people with ASD argue it seems like they really "believe" the content of their argument, and use facts to back up their argument. Me- I'll argue for one thing today and the opposite tomorrow, and make stuff up to support either argument.

I'm really interested to know what you think of this assessment.
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Old 08-22-12, 03:19 AM
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Re: Stimming vs. fidgeting?

Hmm, yeah, I really can't tell if I'm doing it for stimulation/arousal or norming. I'm leaning towards arousal, though.

The thing I do with my ankle, for instance. Sometimes I'll get a spatial image in my mind of the pattern my foot is tracing. I guess this might count as stimulating? I'm stimulating the "where" pathways in my visuospatial system, I guess...? Or could it be norming?

I just find it really hard to intuit this kind of stuff. It's like that deliberate vs. spontaneous imagination questionnaire - I couldn't answer any of the questions confidently because I couldn't say which kind of imagery I use more...
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