Secret Stims – Can Autistic People Hide Their Stimming? – an Autistic Perspective



Hey guys, NeuroRebel here.  For those of you who are new – because there are lots of new people – I am a late diagnosed autistic adult.  I didn’t know I was autistic until the age of 29, and so I went a very large portion of my life not having a very big piece of information about myself.

Once I figured that out, it really was life changing.  And so, I have dedicated much of my spare time since finding out about being autistic to talking about autism on the internet, because I really wish I would have been able to find voices of autistic adults many, many years ago.

I often answer peoples’ questions about autism, and I see certain questions more often, or every now and again there is a question that will just really, really hit me.  There was a question recently that came in that really, really hit me, and it was talking about – it says, “Are there autistic people who only stim in private?”  I was like “Oh my gosh – we really need to talk about this!”

I spend a lot of time talking about being out and proud and not hiding who you are, and trying not to hold in stims, and take the mask off and all that good stuff, but I haven’t always been in this place.  This has been a journey and before I was diagnosed autistic, my experience was very different.

For example, there were just certain situations or anytime I was around people I didn’t know very well, where I would try to be just what I thought was an “appropriate adult” air quotes around appropriate because I think there are some rules for perspective in that.  That included being still, especially in professional settings.

And so, I would literally walk out into the hallway from a meeting, or the minute I would get out into the bathroom where no one was looking at me, I would shake it all out you know, because I was just holding it in because I thought it was something to be ashamed of.

And no, there are things I still won’t do in certain circumstances and situations because I realize it may be disrupting or obnoxious to others around.  And so, I am restrained in that way, to be considerate to the other creatures around me.

David gets the most of my loud obnoxiousness, lots of verbal stimming and talking to myself, and singing, and making all kinds of noises, and I’m always jumping about.  I’m all over the place at home, totally unrestrained, and he loves me anyway.  I think he thinks a lot of my little stims and quirks are cute.

And I think they’re part of what makes me, ME.  But I didn’t always feel so comfortable in these things and there are definitely autistic people who stim in private or their stims are much more discreet, like playing with zippers or jewelry or things that are socially acceptable because that’s kind of what society has told us is okay.

Alrighty guys, thank you so much for hanging out this week.  Those are just a few thoughts.  I’ll talk to you next time.  Bye!




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One thought on “Secret Stims – Can Autistic People Hide Their Stimming? – an Autistic Perspective

  1. I ended up buying a fidget cube a couple weeks ago and it’s really helped me when I need to stim in public. It’s small enough to fit in your pocket and you don’t need to take it out like you would with a fidget spinner – plus there are 6 different sides with all sorts of buttons and switches and things that you can do to keep your hands busy. I hope that eventually society will get over it’s weird prejudice against autistic stimming but until then, it’s something I can do without drawing a lot of attention to myself

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