Stimming (self-stimulatory behavior) is when a person unconsciously repeats certain movements or sounds. This behavior can be found in people with Autism and ADHD.
3 out of 4 of the children in my immediate family have been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in the past 5 years. We have all shown symptoms of ADHD our entire lives but had not been diagnosed until our late 20s. Numerous studies have shown that Black people are more likely to get a late diagnosis. Numerous studies have shown that Black people are more likely to be harshly punished than guided towards the counseling and help needed to move forward with this condition.
verywellhealth notes ADHD stimming examples include humming, pacing, teeth grinding, and rocking, though there are many others. They also note Autism stimming examples include flapping hands or flicking fingers and lining up objects.
In high school I remember a kid stopping me in the hallway to ask me why I was always singing. His exact words were “You always singin’. It’s not off key or nothing but what’s up with that?” I had never been asked that before and the interaction stuck with me. Do other people not have to sing all the time? Do other people think it’s weird I sing all the time? What am I supposed to do instead of singing all the time?
With my diagnosis, I now realize I was stimming. The kids tapping pens and making beats were probably stimming. The kid constantly applying lip-gloss could have been stimming too.
With psychology and mental health being such White dominated fields, it’s easy to imagine why these behaviors were not annotated as stimming but rather purposeful disruptions. This disconnect is harmful and has led to so much more harm. Black people be stimming. This needs to be acknowledged so we can receive correct diagnosis and get the care that we need.
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