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Featured Top 10 Stealthy Stims

Discussion in 'General Autism Discussion' started by Autistamatic, Aug 8, 2019.

  1. Autistamatic

    Autistamatic He's just this guy, you know? V.I.P Member

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    I was commissioned by Geek Club Books and Happy Hands Toys to write an article about Stims. It was published today and the first half of which is quoted below if anyone would like to read it. The entire piece is posted at Geek Club Books.

    What are your own favourite toys, activities or everyday objects for stimming?


    By Quinn Dexter, Autistamatic

    If you are autistic and you don’t stim then you are in a minority. Most people stim in some way or another from bored employees in meetings clicking their pens to Presidents and Prime Ministers scratching their chins in thought. Stimming is not just the preserve of neuro-divergent people, though without doubt we find it more essential to our functioning than most.

    Stimming helps us to stimulate our thoughts and regulate emotions or senses.

    It helps keep us calm when life is difficult, provides a distraction if we get over-excited, and when we have work to do or deadlines to meet, it’s a filter to tune out distractions that might otherwise tempt us off track.

    As important as they are, stims can be distracting to other people and there are times we have to compromise between our own needs and those of the situation. When we’re in school, church or at work, clicking our fingers, blowing raspberries or humming the tune to “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” might attract attention we could do without, so it’s good to know that there are plenty of stim toys and activities that might fill the need for stimming, without disturbing others.

    1 - Fidget Spinners
    Yes, you read it right – fidget spinners can actually be great for secret stimming, you just have to use them differently. Normally we hold the centre disc between finger and thumb and spin the outside. One handed or with two hands, it’s not exactly invisible and a lot of spinners are noisy.

    I always have a couple of small spinners with me at work that I take to meetings. Instead of spinning them the regular way, I hold the spinner in my hand and spin the centre disc with the tip of my thumb instead. It takes more coordination than you might think and can fulfil the need of a fidgety-stimmer until the chance to let rip and spin that spinner like it should be comes around. If your hands are out of sight under a desk or in a jacket pocket, no-one need know you’re fidgeting away under their noses.

    2- Silicone Noodles
    Silicone is an amazingly versatile material. Its stretchy, rubbery texture has so much stimmy potential for fiddly or tactile stimmers and can be enjoyed silently. These noodles are my favourite application of silicone for stimmers. I got a pack of 5 of them and I have them scattered everywhere I might need them. The ones I have are about 12mm (1/2”) across and 25cm (10”) long. I tie them in knots, squeeze them, stretch them, wrap them round my hands and bounce them off hard surfaces. They never make a sound so if you can’t be seen, nobody is going to notice.

    3- Rubber Bands
    An inexpensive, or even free alternative to silicone stim toys are rubber bands. Pretty much every office, despatch room and school has them in ready supply so there’s usually some to hand. You can wrap them round your hands, stretch them between your fingers, snap them against your skin and they can even be a good visual stim. Those who like sorting things can take a regular pack of coloured rubber bands and sort them into colours and sizes, they can be stretched around things to create stripes or patterns or built into the classic rubber band ball which can be rolled around, bounced, tossed or just enjoyed as it gets ever larger. A pack of rubber bands is one of the most accessible stim toys available.

    4- Gravity Timers
    It’s easy to get carried away talking about fiddly, tactile stims, but we mustn’t forget about visual stims. The purpose of stimming for most of us is to help us with emotions that may be getting a bit much, or to stimulate our thoughts whilst working or using our imaginations. For a moving visual stim I can use at my desk without drawing attention, I’ve found little that beats a simple timer. I used to use little kitchen timers and watch the grains of sand flow down, piling up and bouncing around, but then I discovered oil timers which are even better.

    Nobody is going to look twice when you turn one of these over and watch the different coloured liquids slowly drip and flow downwards. They’re small enough to fit into a shoulder-bag or coat pocket, they make no sound and need no batteries. Many times, I have calmed my agitation or boosted my concentration with one of these.

    5- Marble & Mesh Toys
    These are a new take on an old idea that uses modern materials to great effect. They’re remarkably simple but full of possibilities for the stealthy stimmer. The colourful mesh stretches in all directions allowing the marble to move around. Stretching it also creates complex patterns when held up to the light or against a white background so there is a visual satisfaction too. Where the ingenious little toys come into their own is their ability to be used invisibly in public. The sealed mesh tube fits comfortably into the palm of most adult hands so it can be concealed quite effectively whilst you manipulate the marble from one end to the other and back again by clenching your fingers one after another. It’s like a stealthy version of rolling a coin across the knuckles. It’s quiet, barely visible and will get you through situations where being seen to stim might raise more eyebrows than you want it to.
     
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  2. Aspychata

    Aspychata Applying for the here and now....

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    Lately, chewing gum.
     
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  3. Wolf Prince

    Wolf Prince My future job title.

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    If thats your picture nice beard. I still like those squishy stress balls. I mimic there effect on water bottles.
     
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  4. Michael Balog

    Michael Balog Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Recently I have been sequencing my fingers but my favorite stim is a fuzzy micro fabric sample I picked up for free from a fabric store.
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2019
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  5. Fino

    Fino Alex V.I.P Member

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    Wow, I use #2 and #9 all the time, almost every day at least one of them!

    Which are the noodles and the spin rings!

    They're amazing!
     
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  6. Tom

    Tom Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    A lot of them look just like dog toys. Interesting. But anyway it's a good lead in to my favorite stim toy. A toy breed dog! :) Oh, but it doesn't fit the stealthy part. Toys tend to be excitable. I guess I get no points. :( That makes me sad. When I am sad my dogs are sad. My dogs don't like to be sad. I'd leave if I was you. ;)

    Btw nicely done article.
     
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  7. Autistamatic

    Autistamatic He's just this guy, you know? V.I.P Member

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    I love the noodles. I gave some to a colleague who's daughter is autistic and she apparently loves them too :)
     
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  8. Rebecca Merriam

    Rebecca Merriam Active Member

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    I have an invisible squeeze ball, or at least thats what it looks like, I also like to tap my chest or pull on my ears
     
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  9. Autistamatic

    Autistamatic He's just this guy, you know? V.I.P Member

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  10. Autistamatic

    Autistamatic He's just this guy, you know? V.I.P Member

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    Thank you.
    If you'd seen any of my videos you'd be quite familiar with the beard by now :)
     
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  11. Peter Morrison

    Peter Morrison Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I will sometimes click a pen if I have one in my hand. I chewed on pen caps in grade school. I will run my thumbs over each finger back and forth. A paper clip will become mutilated in my hands. I will sing out-loud, privately and in public. Sometimes, I make dance moves while walking from the parking lot to a store. I always carry crossword puzzles with me in case I have to wait somewhere or get bored. I rock my body back and forth in my chair, even though the chair doesn't move. All of these things I do while I am thinking. My brain is on autopilot often.
     
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  12. Wolf Prince

    Wolf Prince My future job title.

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    Ditto the pen thing and pencils too.
     
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  13. Sherlock77

    Sherlock77 Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Just read the article... I guess I'm in the minority who don't stim, or at least much... Maybe I do stim but don't know I stim... Then again I am self-diagnosed Asperger's, and likely on the milder end of the spectrum...

    Looking through the list though, I have often liked fidgeting with pens, I used to chew lots of pens to death in the past

    I've read lots of posts on here about stiming, not really knowing what it really was... Now I have a better idea
     
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  14. Bellacat

    Bellacat New Member

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    Nice job with the article!

    I use that blue sticky stuff that's meant for putting things on walls. It's quiet, has a nice texture and just the right amount of resistance. I like stretching it out and putting it back together, or rolling it into different shapes.
     
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  15. Progster

    Progster Gone sideways to the sun V.I.P Member

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    Tactile balls are great - any kind of squishy toy is good. I'd love to get hold of one of those gravity timers, or a lava lamp.

    Plasma balls are awesome, too. You can get smaller and quite discreet desktop ones.
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2019
  16. Wolf Prince

    Wolf Prince My future job title.

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    I would LOVE a lava lamp.
     
  17. Misery

    Misery Photo-Negative V.I.P Member

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    This says "Stealthy stims" but I find that often mine arent exactly that.

    Like, one big one I have involves this huge foam tube thing, right. It's used for therapy and back problems. You lay on it so it goes along your spine. So I'll do this alot. It's not exactly "stealthy" when it takes up so much space, and I lie on it and you hear a CRUNCH followed by "UUUUGH". This is usually followed by the dog coming over to lay on my arm for who knows what reason. I dont even try to understand why he does things.

    Also, driving with the window open. All that wind and speed....

    And lastly, standing in the bathroom when the shower is producing tons of steam. Even the ceiling is wet. It's helpful for when my sinuses are too dried out, which seems to be always. But it's also just relaxing. Loud and hot, but relaxing.
     
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  18. Autistamatic

    Autistamatic He's just this guy, you know? V.I.P Member

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    I have both.

    The gravity timers are quite inexpensive. You can get them in loads of places. I got my lava lamp cheap in a sale, but my ex had one of the original Mathmos ones from the 60s. Huge great thing made of copper. Beautiful.

    There's glitter lamps now which work on a similar principle and are well worth checking out.
     
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  19. Pats

    Pats Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I've got a couple spinners. but my favorite has 3 small metal marbles that I enjoy rolling around with my fingers - and like the way it feels so it's very calming, (I keep that one in my purse because it's when I'm out that I'm going to need it most).
    And I like the squish toys.
    You know, I never thought about the visual stimming. I always could sit and watch hourglasses for hours, or the marbles that kick each other back and forth. And now that you've got me thinking about that - I ALWAYS have to be doing something either with my hands or my mind, I guess. I always say I don't like to read - but it's fiction I don't like to read because I'm reading constantly.
    And a while back I got a small fish aquarium for guppies and just added another tank this week. I can sit and watch the fish for long periods of time each day - they are very relaxing to watch. Watching things like these kind of calms your mind down a little, doesn't it?
    But my question is, if I can sit and watch these type of things for long periods of time, why can't I just sit and watch tv? When the tv is on (usually comes on late afternoon - quiet until then), it's usually behind me. I watch the same things repeatedly and if there's a scene coming that I know I like I will turn to watch that scene, then turn back.
     
  20. Pats

    Pats Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    You can buy a little egg timer or these type of timers also come with some timed games. :)