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So often – far too often- I listen to children & their families tell me how stimming is suppressed, stopped & even punished in some “learning environments”.


Because those teaching our children have not had the adequate training about autism and other neurodivergences, negative attention is drawn to the stimmimg.


Stimming, being “different”, can also become the subject of shame, humiliation, punishment & bullying.


But for autistic people, those with ADHD, PDA, ODD, & Tourette Syndrome, just to name a few, stimming is actually ESSENTIAL because that is the child self regulating in an an environment which is completely overwhelming.



Sometimes all the masking simply gets too much & at this point stimming could very well prevent a total meltdown.


Children who stim don’t need to be “fixed” because they aren’t broken. They are taking their nervous systems out of flight or fight and putting them back into the parasympathetic or relaxed & rested state.


Harmful stimming such as biting or head banging obviously need to be re-directed into healthier and less harmful replacement therapies (HRT’s) such as deep pressure massage points, acupressure points, breathing exercises or clenching & squeezing the fists.


But harmless stims, which are just repetitive movements or vocalisations REALLY HELP the child. They not only regulate the nervous system but can act as self expression & are immensely soothing.

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If a child is dysregulated, they cannot process reason or consequences. 


The frontal lobe which contains all our higher or executive brain functions just shuts down.


The emotional brain or amygdala/ fear centre flicks the flight or fight switch on.


The hippocampus (memory & learning) is severely compromised.


What NEEDS to change are expectations & ideas about how children “should be”.



Children have a far greater chance of reaching their full potential when they are part of a system that focuses on a child’s needs rather than their behaviour & performance.


If this was part of teacher training, that learning would then be passed down to ALL pupils in the class & only then do we begin to REALLY achieve full inclusion.


Every time we connect & empathise with a child, their brain gets absolutely flooded with feel-good hormones & neurotransmitters.


This then builds or strengthens MILLIONS of neuropathways.


This in turn makes it much easier for them to learn , to stay in a classroom, feel they belong, regulate, empathise, create & make good decisions.



So the next time anyone is told their child has been “naughty” for stimming, please put them in touch with me or share this article with them.


Look after yourselves & each other,


 Giuliana xx


Giuliana Wheater BA Hons, MCMA