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Autistic pride is undeniably powerful and important — and it can also be stylish. That’s especially true when it comes to stimming and the jewelry created to help autistic people embrace the behavior.
Self-stimulatory behavior, more commonly known as stimming, is one of the a main ways autism is diagnosed. According to Spectrum News, some examples of stimming include “hand-flapping, fidgeting with objects or body rocking, and vocalizations such as grunting or repeating certain phrases.” Stimming can also include chewing or sucking on objects or shaking items. Though these repetitive behaviors aren’t exclusive to autistic people, stimming is highly associated with autism.
Research has suggested that stimming can help autistic people shut out the external world. Other clinicians claim these behaviors serve no purpose. But autistic people say stimming can calm their anxiety, help them connect to their bodies or help with sensory overload. Some say stimming simply feels good to them, or helps them express extreme joy or excitement.
“[Stimming] helps me feel grounded when I’m anxious or overwhelmed, but it’s also a way that I express my joy, fascination or excitement,” Raya Shields, who is autistic, told Spectrum News in 2019.
A 2019 study of 31 autistic people found that participants described their stims as “automatic” and “uncontrollable,” yet no one surveyed disliked engaging in self-stimulatory behavior. But that doesn’t mean that non-autistic people accept stimming.
There is an obvious stigma surrounding autism, and that stigma extends to stimming. For decades, autistic people have been encouraged to suppress self-stimulatory behaviors by medical professionals and neurotypical people. According to Spectrum News, “this sometimes involved extreme methods, such as prescribing powerful antipsychotic drugs, slapping the children or administering electric shocks to them when they engaged in these behaviors.”
These behaviors — once “treated” with harmful, traumatic tactics — are commonly seen as odd or unnerving to non-autistic people, too. As a result, many autistic people report still feeling pressure to hide their self-stimulatory behavior in public. This has been shown to be “far from beneficial,” according to researchers, requiring a lot of undo energy and making autistic people feel more on edge.
Thanks to the autistic community’s advocacy, many clinicians have moved to accept stimming, only stepping in when the repetitive behavior causes bodily harm, like a person banging their head against a wall. Still, some therapists today still encourage autistic people to have “quiet hands” rather than freely flapping. In response, the autistic community has adopted the phrase “loud hands” to support stimming.
The act of stimming unapologetically can be a way for people to accept and embrace their autism, and show autistic pride. With the push to accept stimming, some autistic people and supporters of the community have started creating items made specifically for stimming — and that includes some incredible pieces of jewelry. Items include chewable necklaces, fidget-friendly jewelry and pendants that are pleasing to shake.
If you want to celebrate your stimming, these pieces of stim-friendly jewelry are a fashionable way to show autistic pride.
Shop: Silicone Quartz Half Moon Chewable Necklace, $17.46 (Orig. $24.95)
Shop: Purple Heart Shaker Necklace, $24
Shop: Clicky ASMR Pendant, $20.89
Shop: Sterling Silver Spinner Ring, $98
Shop: Soothing Spinner Necklace, $30.19
Shop: Wave Fidget Ring, $25.93
Shop: Nexus Fidget Necklace, $48.80
Shop: Teal V-Pendant Silicone Chewable Necklace, $10.46 (Orig. $14.95)
Shop: Citrus Sensory Chewable Necklace, $7.95
Shop: Calming Collar Thread Necklace, $65
Shop: Textured Silver Fidget Ring, $85
Shop: Leopard Sensory Chewable Necklace, $16.44
Shop: Colorful Chewable Bangles, $9.87
Shop: Shield Black Silicone Chewable Necklace, $13.96 (Orig. $19.95)
Shop: Rose Gold Fidget Ring, $27
Shop: Moon Fidget Spinner Necklace, $15
Shop: Marble and Rose Chewable Necklace, $18.40
If you liked this story, check out these innovative shoelaces that help autistic people wear laced shoes comfortably.
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