Self Stimulatory Behavior

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What are self stimulatory behaviors?

Self Stimulatory Behavior

One of the most noticeable traits of autism is self stimulatory behaviors simply because they are so outstanding. The stereotyped, repetitive movements serve a particular purpose for the individual with autism and they are very motivating and rewarding as well. Some adults who have autism like Stephen Shore describe self stimulatory behavior as "self regulating behavior" in an effort to communicate how reinforcing and important these repetitive movements are to the individual. Everyone engages in self stimulatory behavior, whether it is nail-biting, eating or watching television. The intake of sensory information is part of our daily lives and individuals who are wired a little differently are challenged with a bombardment of input that is impossible to organize and manage without some form of release. In other cases the individual is seeking out sensory input that is lacking. The stereotyped repetitive movements help to stimulate the nervous system to provide the lacking sensory input. Common self stimulatory behaviors include hand flapping and rocking. Each behavior corresponds to a sensory system in the body that is either lacking or craving input.



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