Autism Vocal Stimming ? — The Bump
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Autism Vocal Stimming ?

Is there a way to get DS to stop doing this? He makes such a high pitched sound/noise and it's starting to make my ears bleed. I tell him he can do it in his room but that only works so much. For example: he'll make the noise in the car (which is super distracting). I have tried putting on his headphones and/or covering my ears to tell him it's too loud and hurts my ears, but that has no effect.

I really need and want to break this habit. I can't take much more of the loud, high pitched sounds. Our dog also seems to be affected by the loudness.

Re: Autism Vocal Stimming ?

  • I am interested to see if anyone has tips! My DS1 does this as well and it is driving me crazy. It also startles the baby and wakes him up. We have tried telling him it hurts our ears but he is 2 and doesn't understand. 

    DS1: 4/15/2011
    Dx: ASD, SPD and receptive and expressive speech delay at 21 months
    BFP #2: CP 5/2012
    DS2: 4/24/2013
    BFP #4: Miscarriage at 5 weeks 7/2014
    BFP #5: 8/8/2014 Due 4/20/2015 
    Its a healthy girl!!!!! 
    Lilypie Pregnancy tickers
  • I think telling him he can do it in a certain place is excellent. It may take awhile but reminding him and repeating a phrase " You only do this (xyz) in our room, please stop" can help reduce the frequency. When you are home redirect him to his room as soon as he starts making the sound. Tell him he can come out when he is done. It should not be a punitive thing, just a mater of fact thing. He may not be aware he is making the sound, so by moving him to his room he can hopefully become more aware.
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  • If the behavior would continue uninterrupted for twenty minutes without anyone in the room, it's not attention seeking and is subsequently harder to address.

    We ask him if he'd like to sing a song to draw attention to his vocal stereotypy. He really, really doesn't like it when we point it out. He usually refuses and then self redirects. "Mommy doesn't like it when you X" gets me nowhere. We reinforce "quiet voice" with praise, tickles, etc., to encourage that behavior instead. 
    Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker
    11/10/10 The Kid
  • image-auntie-:

    Dealing with stims is a bit controversial in ASD-world. Some on spectrum consider any attempt to redirect or fade an attack on their very being. Personally, I'm all for fading as much as possible for my own child. Other people react viscerally to stims; I've seen bright capable kids in the mainstream ignored-or worse- as a result of stimming. 

    Is the behavior manipulative in some way? Does he stim because he's bored, anxious or doesn't like being in the car seat? I've know a few "extended rear facing" families whose kids on spectrum were more settled once they were in a forward facing position and could see mom and where they were going. Not sure this applies to you, but I'll put it out there. If you have a behaviorist or BCBA, this is a good question to run past them.

    Every kid is different. It can be difficult to fade stims in younger or lower functioning individuals. In a situation like that, redirecting with a replacement behavior might help. Would he be willing to sing along with music in the car? Could you quieten him down with his favorite "Book on tape"? He might be quiet if he stands to gain from listening. 

    One thing that won't work is telling a very young child on spectrum to do/not do something because it will "make mommy happy". Autism comes from the roots meaning "self" and "state of" or "about". In short, "it's about me".

    A younger kid with ASD won't have the Theory of Mind to appreciate that you might be thinking/feeling something other than what they are at the moment. I recall vividly asking DS to do something "to make mama happy" and him looking a me, genuinely puzzled, and asking "why would I care if you're happy?" when he was about 4. Pre-dx, it really stuck with me because I was DS's preferred person and he was devoted to the point where people called him the Velcro-boy.

    DS is 4 years old. He sits forward in the car.  The behavior is probably more manipulative or maybe from being bored. It's also a newer thing. I can't totally pin point what triggered him to start doing this. He's probably trying to get a reaction out of me, because I got pissed once and yelled at him to stop!. :-(

  • We were told to redirect him.   For example my Lo hums and it get's louder after awhile and when he does it we might ask him a question or talk about something he likes that takes his mind off it or we will ask him to sing a song.  Some times it work other it doesn't.  
    10/17/2009 - Our Miracle came 10 weeks early. IF,2 MC and 1 Preemie we have our miracle.. Baby Hope 10 weeks 5days was taken from us on Dec 18, 2007. Forever with us and Forever missed. Triplets Lost baby A @ weeks, Lost Baby B at 6 weeks and lost baby Abigail at 14 weeks when she was born to little for this life..... Forever with us ....
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