This event was created to bring acceptance and understanding to sensory needs and self-regulation. Most importantly, to normalize stimming.
What is “stimming”?
Stimming or self-stimulation is a coping mechanism Autistic people use to regulate stress, emotions and feelings of being overwhelmed. These actions help a person to calm down or to stay alert, depending on their needs. It is a repetitive movement, vocalization, tactile or auditory input.
Stimming can be rocking, twirling, hand flapping, toe tapping, humming or even repeating words or phrases. These actions allow an individual to regulate their central nervous system, decrease stress and to maintain focus. Autistic people are often told to suppress their stims or to stop them all together. This can cause a person to shut down or meltdown, greatly causing un-needed anxiety and forcing them to remain in a heightened level of stress.
We all self-regulate and provide our body and mind with the input it needs to function. Clicking your pen while you’re working, shaking your leg while sitting in a meeting, deep breaths, hair twirling. However, when a person’s needs are greater, they require a greater amount of stimulation to achieve the same goal. It is our job to make sure they have the ability to do so safely and without prejudice.
The goal of the Rock A Thon is to educate people about the differing sensory needs of people and to normalize stimming. Everyone deserves to have access to the tools they need to succeed.