This article may contain affiliate links.

There is so much debate about “stims.” I think of the questions that I am often asked by parents, “Should I let my child stim?” “Does their body need to do it?”

Could the “stim” be something that just starts, and then only keeps going because the child doesn’t know how to disengage?

Maybe we start to think about the stim as nothing more than a sensorimotor activity with no function and no defined stopping point.  Perhaps it’s more helpful to a parent (it would’ve been helpful to me at the time) to realize that we aren’t getting in the way of a child’s happiness, we’re just showing them how to disengage from one activity so they can re-engage in another.

The Need to Disconnect Your Child
What is this about the brain?  I liken it to the roundabouts that have started cropping up all over suburban towns in lieu of traffic lights.  Our unique learners need traffic lights to tell them when to stop, and instead, they’re stuck on these roundabouts and can’t get off until someone grabs the wheel.

I invite you to think about this as you coach or parent your child.  Instead of putting the focus and effort towards the next thing you want them to do, think about how to disconnect them from the thing or activity that is distracting them back there, where they are.  Chances are, they’ll be more available for new learning or different tasks if we focus on unplugging them from the task prior.