Stimming - what is it and why are fidget toys useful?

Posted by Kirsten Lynch on

Stimming, also known as self-stimulatory behavior, is a term used to describe repetitive movements or sounds that individuals with certain neurological conditions, such as autism, ADHD, and anxiety disorders, engage in. This behavior can include a wide range of actions, such as hand-flapping, rocking back and forth, spinning, and making vocal noises.

Research has shown that stimming serves a variety of purposes, including regulating emotions, reducing anxiety, and providing sensory input. A study published in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders found that stimming was associated with decreased physiological arousal and increased positive affect. In other words, stimming can be a way for individuals to self-soothe and manage their emotions.

Fidget and sensory toys can be helpful tools for individuals who engage in stimming because they provide a safe and appropriate outlet for this behavior. These toys provide a sensory experience that can help individuals feel more grounded and in control. A study published in the Journal of Occupational Therapy, Schools, and Early Intervention found that sensory toys, such as textured balls and weighted blankets, can help children with autism regulate their emotions and behavior.

Furthermore, fidget toys can help improve attention and focus in individuals with ADHD. A study published in the Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology found that children with ADHD who used fidget toys during class had improved attention and reduced hyperactivity compared to those who did not use fidget toys.

Overall, stimming is an important aspect of many individuals' lives, and fidget and sensory toys can be a helpful tool in supporting this behavior. These toys provide a safe and appropriate outlet for stimming, which can lead to improved emotional regulation and overall well-being.

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