Please Make Him Stop Stimming
A My Brother is Autistic Book
My brother is autistic, and he
stims. I didn’t know what stims
meant, but Mommy explained it to me. Mommy said when Clay stims he does something over and over because it makes him feel better.
Some of his stims are OK, but some of them are so annoying. I don’t care when he jumps and jumps or gets in and out of a box, but..
it almost drives me crazy when he makes the same sounds over and over.
Clay’s favorite sounds are “ooooo
da da da” and “eeeeeee” And
he says them over and over and over. Once, I told Mommy, “Mom, you have to make him stop. I can’t hear the TV. I can’t even hear myself think.”
That was when Mommy told me that he stims because it helps him. If he is having a bad day, it makes him feel better, and when he stims it helps him deal with things without crying.
Then, Mommy said, “Sometimes stimming helps him when he is bored.” When I am bored, I say “Mom, I am so bored. What can I do? ” She probably gets sick of hearing that, too.
I tried to understand, but I still didn’t want to hear him stimming. And to make matters worse he even did it when we went somewhere.
He did it at the park. He did it at the store. He did it in the car. I just wanted it to stop. I mean I love Clay, but…
Finally, I said to Mom, “Could you at least make him stop when he is in the store?” Mom said, “Maybe.”
I am only six, but I already know that maybe usually means no, but this time was different. The first thing Mommy did was start reading a lot. And Clay kept right on stimming.
Then, once when we were in Walmart, and Clay was stimming really, really loud, Mommy said, “Clay, Sweetie, remember what Mommy said?”
Clay didn’t pay any attention because that is what autism is all about. I mean he just kind of stays in his own little world. To me, he pretends we aren’t there at all, but Daddy said, “He knows. He knows a whole lot more than you think.”
After awhile, Clay looked at Mommy. Two years ago he wouldn’t look at anyone. No one had to tell me to look at their eyes, or say, “Oh, I can see your eyes. I love that!” But, Clay is different, and it did work. Now he looked at people. Grammy says that all people are different.
I didn’t think Clay remembered whatever Mommy wanted him to. I certainly had no idea, but at least for a minute he stopped stimming. Then Mommy said. “It’s OK to say sounds over and over at home, but not so good at the store. Would you like some gum?”
Clay and I both love gum. I like bubble gum, and I can blow really big bubbles, too. Clay’s favorite gum is strawberry. Clay doesn’t talk, so I said yes for both of us.
As soon as Clay got the strawberry gum into his mouth, he started in again. “Ooooo da da da. Ooooo da da da.” Over and over again. I wanted to scream, “Mommy. Make him stop!”
But, Mommy did not get upset or mad at Clay. We try not to get mad at him because it isn’t his fault he is autistic. It is just who he is. Like I am a cute little know it all. That is what Grammy says. So Mommy said,
“Clay, Sweetie.” And she put her hand on his shoulder and kind of turned him around very gently, so he could see her. Then she put her hand up to her mouth and covered it up like she was trying to keep her words from coming out. And, guess what? Clay did, too. He covered his mouth, and he chewed his gum, and he stopped stimming!
“Mommy,” I said. “He stopped!” “We have been practicing while you were out playing with Margie.” She said. Then, she kept telling him how good he was for not stimming in Walmart. She told me I was very good, too, for asking her to stop him. That was why she had been reading all those books.
On the way home, we did something else that Mommy said she read about in a book about autism. We stimmed with him. Mommy and me and Clay went down the road saying “Ooooo, da, da, da. Ooooo da da da” over and over and over.