Stim to relieve tension and soothe. Stim to increase sensory input and perk up. Stim because it feels sooooo goooood.
What is stimming? It’s the term for the behavior every person, autistic and not, uses for self-regulation. Didn’t you hear? Everybody’s doing it!
?HOT TIP If you aren’t yet aware of how you self-soothe, self-energize, and/or maintain focus, try noticing what your body is doing the next time you realize you’re feeling some kind of way. Is your leg bouncing? Are you twirling your hair or chewing on a pen? Maybe you’re humming or clicking your tongue. Being autistic, you’re more likely than most to have, over the years, adapted some form of stim behaviours to aid in self-regulation and keep us in balance.
Stimming up or stimming down or even stimming to maintain, it’s all good. We wanted to offer an overview of the world of official and unofficial stim tools (some say “toys” and that’s fine too) because, as late-to-the-ASD-party adults, many of us may not even realize they exist.
Whatever your deal is, there’s a toy for it. And guess what? You’re a grown-*** adult. You can haz all the toys you want. ⟱⟱⟱
When gum and snacking won’t do. Chewables allow you to chomp to your heart’s content, safely and super-stylishly.
These toys are for squeezing, rolling, jabbing, or whatever else your fingers get up to. Squishies are usually made of some type of foam that either bounces back quickly or is “slow-rising”. Sometimes they are scented. There’s something for all preferences so read descriptions carefully. Squishy toys seem to come most often in keychain size and “jumbo” (approx. 5″/13cm) and are usually terminally adorable.
Other toys are made of silicone or rubber, sometimes with non-toxic slime inside. The feeling can be looser than the foam-based squishies, offering stretch capabilities as well. Sometimes called “stress balls”, these come in round, oval, rings, small, jumbo, string, solid, slime-centred, and all kinds of other varieties. If manually worrying is your thing, try one or more of these.
Do certain smells send you into orbit? Finding just the right scent can be tricky. Luckily, there are entire industries devoted to olfactory aficionados like you. Here are our picks.
?HOT TIP Our senses of smell and taste are closely connected so find the scent you like and see if a whiff delivers the sensation you were craving.
Sometimes only the right sound will do. Maybe you groove to repeating tones, to particular rhythms, or to specific tones or tone combinations, even your own. Click clack, poppety pop, woosh! We've got you covered.
Some of us sip water. Some slurp hard candy. Sweet, sour, salty, bitter, or umami, you do you.
Autastic.com is pleased to promote autistic-owned shops and their products in our store wherever possible. Sometimes the best we can do is link to their shopfronts so do give these fine people a go:
In the U.S.A.
In the U.K.
* The selection of items in our shop have been recommended by the autistic community-at-large. We do not test items individually so you’re encouraged to research for yourself to determine products, if any, that are right for you.