Parents of disabled children, beware of well meaning individuals who want to help your child be normal. Every child is different whether or not they have disabilities. You should not have to be pressured for your child’s differences, such as stims because someone thinks the stims stand out.
Stims help your child calm themselves and be able to deal with reality. If your child’s stim hurts others, you should change or stop the stim immediately. Never stop a stim without considering changing your child’s stim. Stopping a stim will result in your child finding another stim.
My son talks to his hands and they talk to each other. It bothers some people when he is in his own world chattering incoherently and moving his hands in odd ways. Sometimes, he will even “talk” to someone by getting close to them and putting his hands between him and the other person, moving his hands as if they were talking to the person. At five years old it is really cute. People in the education field have warned me that at 20 years old it will not be cute.
Whether or not your child has a stim that disrupts society’s “norm,” you will have to decide. You will also have to decide whether or not that the stim is something to be concerned about. Some children that have disabilities will never be in the workforce. Are the stims more of a concern than education? Can your child deal with others watching him or her stim? Remember most stims come from a stressful situation or offer the child a way to deal with situations.
The other decision a parent needs to make is if you do stop a stim are you going to offer a replacement activity or do you want your child to pick up another stim? Your child will always use stims. The key is to find a stim for your child that is not bothersome for you. Society does not easily adjust and no stim is going to be accepted with open arms.
When changing your child’s stim, consider whether you want your child stressing and possibly having a worse stim or can you change your child’s stim with ease? Changing a stim takes time and consistency. Any time your child tries to stim using the old stim you have to stop him or her and show them the new stim you want them using. This process may cause even more frustration for them because you are taking something away.
If a well meaning individual suggests changing stims or getting your child to completely be free of stims, ask them if they would be willing to cause so much stress in their child’s life and would not be able to give the child a way to control it.