Stim to relieve tension and soothe. Stim to increase sensory input and perk up. Stim because it feels sooooo goooood.
There are ample resources out there about the self-regulating movements known as “stimming” (but if you want some specific info here on GenX Aspie, let us know ).
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.
HOT TIP #1 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 trippin’. 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. That’s totally clutch, btw. Schweet.
Whatever your deal is, don’t wig out; there’s a toy for that*. And guess what? You’re a grown-? adult. You can haz all the toys you want.
Oral-Mechanical Stim Toys
When gum won’t do. Chewies allow you to chomp to your heart’s content, safely and super-stylishly.
Visual Stim Toys
Sparkles! Flashes! Patterns and light! If you love love love to have your visual cortex tingled by all things bling, this category of toys is for you.
Body-In-Motion Stim Toys
The sense of where your body is in space, of balance, of rightness can be stimulated with all sorts of body stim toys that allow to rock, spin, bounce, and bob your way to joy.
Manual/Dexterity Stim Toys
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. They’re choice.
Vocal & Aural Stim Toys
Maybe you groove to repeating tones, to particular rhythms, or to specific tones or tone combinations. Do you play all or parts of songs over and over? Or maybe you’re down with making your own music, sounds, and/or beats. Wherever the music take you, make it yours.
Olfactory & Gustatory Toys
Do certain smells send you into orbit? What about tastes that are ace? Here are a few ways to get your goodies without eating your way through a superstore every day. ‘Cause that’s just gonna make you wanna barf.
HOT TIP #2 Our senses of smell and taste are closely connected so find the scent you like and see if a whiff delivers the taste you were craving.
Texture & Touch Toys
Oooh the feeling of rough or smooth or bumpy or spiky or buzzy or icy or hot. Whatever turns your crank, when it’s right, it’s right. What are you waiting for? Smack it up, flip it, rub it down.
Portables & Jewellery
Wearable stim toys make for on-tap action on the go. Feeling grody at work? Twist that stim ring. Going mental on a date? Slip your sweaty fingers in your pocket where your chainmail vortex of calm awaits. Many textures and many sensory experiences await with this type of itty bitty stim toy.
Weighted, For Life
When you’re ready to chillax and feel your entire body give way to sweet, sweet relaxation, tuck under a cozy weighted blanket. Sleep is one of the most important aspects of health and wellbeing, especially for us auties. There are smaller, specialty items too! Why not take a lap pad to the office and enjoy the sensory bliss?
GenX Aspie is pleased to promote autistic-owned shops and their products as well, wherever possible. Give these fine people a go:
In the U.S.A.
In the U.K.
* The selection of toys presented are to illustrate the options available in the marketplace. We do not test each item and therefore do not recommend any particular individual items, at all. You’re encouraged to research for yourself to determine products, if any, that are right for you.