Stimming in the Park 

Lovely day at Blyth Park today with Reilly and Ellis. Super busy.  One problem though I didn’t have any money I always just trust that Shane has his wallet.  When out and about with Reilly you must be prepared for a) him getting on a bus b) ice cream 3) bouncy castles this will avoid gigantic kick offs that will spoil the rest of the day and possibly the night.  I saw the pink turrets of the bouncy castle in the distance and thought oh shit!

Luckily I sat on the grass and began to empty my bag, anyone that knows me knows it’s not pleasant: coppers, sweets out their wrappers, tampons out their wrappers, foundation and lipstick with no lids on, empty money bags and receipts.  It’s vile. By the time he got off the bouncy castle I’d scraped together the cash (after wiping it on the grass) to pay for him.  To be fair the lads here are fab and let him stay on way longer than usual and prob would have turned a blind eye but you know I don’t want to take the pee.  I even managed enough for an ice cream.  4 from the front of the queue while Reilly hangs off the counter like a monkey squealing as he doesn’t do queues and they run out.  I could feel the hot flush rise from my feet upto my forehead as I know Reilly is not going to get this at all. You can’t buy him off with a rocket lolly he wants cornets and flakes!  The lovely girl behind the counter managed to rustle up a pot of ice cream from the freezer and stuck a flake in it.  Result.

Now onto more important things as we sat while Reilly ate his ice cream there was a young man attracting some passer by attention.  I saw some kids mimicking him and some adults having a good stare.  This man was stimming, short for self-stimulating behaviour.

Stimming can help  to manage anxiety, fear, excitement or other emotions. Stimming also helps overloaded sensory input heat, sound, light etc.  It usually consists of hand flapping, spinning, repetitive movements or words, pacing the floor etc .  Have you ever bitten your nails because you were nervous, tapped your foot waiting for someone or fiddled with your hair? You were stimming and no one will have given you a second glance.

For many people stimming is a way to feel comfortable, it might look odd if you don’t understand it. If it makes you uncomfortable that’s your issue – not stimming makes them uncomfortable.  There are dangerous Stims too where they can hit themselves, bite themselves just to produce a sensation, imagine that.

If your kids are mimicking someone stimming reel them in and educate them.  Last thing a parent of a special needs child needs to see is yours taking the piss and trust me I saw this happen many times today.  Us SEN parents can hear a raised eyebrow at 20 paces so please remember.

Education is the key, it’s made me even more determined to make a difference. Xx

Published by

Christine Stephenson

Really busy mam who runs her own charity, has 3 sons and learning about autism every day. Contact me at

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