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Hi, I'm Amythest, and welcome to this episode
of Ask an Autistic.

[music]
Today I'm going to be discussing vocal and
verbal stimming which was requested by a viewer,

Chad,
so let's get started.
Vocal stimming is stimming that incorporates
the mouth, and lips, and vocal chords, as

suggested by
the name. Vocal stimming can take a wide array
of forms but some common vocal stims are

humming, making sound effects, mimicking noises
in the environment or from television shows

or
movies, singing without words, so singing
the tunes of songs, and yelling, shouting,

any other form
of making noises with your mouth that can
be vocal stimming.

Carly Fleischmann is an autistic advocate,
and she's great, I love her, if you get

a chance to go to her
facebook page which I will link to below.
And she has put it very eloquently in that

autistic people
use vocal stimming to block out bad or negative
sensory input from the environment and in

this way
they can balance themselves and self-regulate,
so vocal stimming can serve that person. Say

you are
an autistic person and you are someplace where
the noises are very loud or perhaps there's

a
particular noise that really bothers you,
it could be the electronic whine of a TV,

or an air conditioner
turning on, or feedback from a microphone.
Whatever it is, it sucks and you don't like

it. One way to
deal with it and to withstand the pain or
discomfort of it is to block it out.

Vocal stimming can also be used as a form
of expression. I find that a lot of non-verbal

vocal
stimming and expression is often misunderstood
by neurotypical people because it might not

be the
way they communicate fear or happiness or
joy or excitement. But I think that when you

are around
an autistic person a lot, like a family member
and you love them and you want to get to…to

know
them and speak their language, so to speak,
you can start to learn the nuances and you

know what
kinds of vocal stimming they do in situations
where they're happy or when they're stressed

and
what the different exclamations or sounds
mean.

You know, vocal stimming, it isn't pointless.
It can either be a method of self-regulation,

you know,
blocking out bad input with good input or
it can be a form of self-expression that is

very, you know,
unique to autistic people, but still I think
a valid form of self-expression.

I know that parents of autistic children can
have trouble with vocal stimming when it reaches

ear
splittingly loud. So, say you have an autistic
child and they vocal stim in a variety of

ways but one of
those ways is screaming. They say, you know,
“should I stop this vocal stimming? Should

I prevent
them from screaming? And if so, how?”
And to that, I say, “Unless the vocal stimming
is ear splittingly loud screaming, please

don't stop
vocal stimming”. Because, you know, it is
a method of self-expression and a great way

to self-
regulate. So, you know, unless you really
have to, please don't.

If you do need to, say, you know, you just
can't handle the screaming yourself or you're

in a public
place. Then, I would suggest methods that
aren't clicker training. Yes, I actually

found a post on the
internet, came across it accidentally, wish
I hadn't, of a mom who had, and she claimed,

effectively
trained her autistic child to shut his mouth
or to not vocally stim or scream by using

a clicker, like,
one of those things you train dogs with and
treats. Well, ok, maybe it… worked for her,

but,
you know, please don't use methods to train
animals on your children. Autistic people

are people
still and, you know, animal training methods
on humans, not cool.

Anyway, this mom who trained her child with
a clicker to stop any kind of vocal stimming

expression
suggested that all vocal stims are bad and
should be stopped because they're, you know,

an autistic
behaviour. Nope, nope, please don't do that.
If you really do need to prevent your child
from screaming, the best way is to redirect

the
stimming and give them something better. If
your autistic child is screaming for self-stimulation

purposes they want the sound, or they like
the vibrations in their throat, then you might

want to give
them something oral to fixate on. You know,
like give them really awesome Chewelry or a

chewy
pendant or something, 'cause if you're
chewing on something that's really awesome

to chew on,
you're going to enjoy that, and you're
probably not going to be screaming.

So, that's one method, you know, substitute
something better. Every child is different,

so if you can
find something that entices your child and
has to do with, you know, the mouth, lips,

teeth, throat
area, then that can be a good way to redirect
the stimming while still allowing them to…stim

and
self-regulate.
For myself, I find chewing gum is very effective.
I won't vocal stim when I'm chewing gum,

probably because I can hear the sound of the…
of the gum being chewed in my ear and I can

feel the
really good deep sensory input in my jaw.
So, gum might be another option.

Verbal stimming is like vocal stimming, except
that it employs the use of words. Now, this

is very
closely connected to echolalia. If you have
never heard the word before, echolalia is

when an autistic
person repeats words or phrases. So echolalia
might look like a child being asked, “what

do you want
for lunch?” and they may repeat back “what
do you want for lunch?” or they might get

fixated on a
certain word and really enjoy it and so they
might say, you know, “basketball, basketball,

basketball”
and that's echolalia.
Verbal stimming can look like echolalia, individual
words or phrases, but it can also look like

singing,
lyrically, you know, songs with lyrics and
it can also look like chanting, or reciting

poetry, you know,
it can be all kinds of things and I found
the methods of verbal stimming are as varied

as autistic
people are.
Myself, I verbally stim by repeating poetry
to myself. I'll verbally stim to think to

myself and to
process what I'm reading. I also verbally
stim by singing…Disney songs. And I will

just sing to myself,
and not so much for, you know, singing the
singing to sound good, but just because I

really enjoy it. I
can hear it, gives me something to listen
to, also I really enjoy the sensations of

the vibrations in my
throat when I sing. So, in that way, it's
soothing and self-stimulating.

Verbal stimming, like vocal stimming, can
take a wide variety of forms. And I think

that, um, verbal
stimming is really important for the development
of autistic children, like echolalia is. And

I don't
think that verbal stimming should be discouraged.
I know it can be a little bit embarrassing
for neurotypical parents and people, because

echolalia and
verbal stimming is a very obviously autistic
behaviour. And so, say you're in public

and your child is
verbally stimming by just repeating one word
or one phrase over and over, you might feel

slightly
uncomfortable with that. But then it's more
an issue of the parent's embarrassment.

As far as
development and expression goes, it's really
important to allow both vocal and verbal stimming

and
echolalia.
And I find that some parents don't like
verbal stimming because they think of it as

meaningless and
they, they say “well, you know, if I allow
him to verbal stim and just repeat words or

just repeat what
I say back to me, what is he learning?”
But, autistic people, we develop in a slightly

different way, and
verbal stimming is a really important part
of that. I do not think that verbal stimming

is detrimental
to the development of autistic children, and
I don't think that verbal stimming or echolalia

will
impede language skills.
So, the fact is, that both verbal and vocal
stimming are important parts to the development

of
language in autistic children. And, I feel
like, they're not meaningless either, because

it's a, it's a
form of self-expression and it can often signify
that the autistic person is listening and,

you know,
tuning into their environment and I think
that's, that's important to take into

consideration.
And even if verbal and vocal stimming did
just exist for the purpose of self-stimulation

and blocking
out negative sensory input. Then, you know,
it's still not meaningless.

So, I'm a big advocate of both verbal and
vocal stimming, and I think it's great.

I'm, I'm happy to see
other autistic individuals and children verbally
and vocally stimming in public. Most of the

time, it
really doesn't bother anyone, it's just
the parents might be a little embarrassed.

But I think that
maybe they shouldn't be and I think maybe
if we all work together, we can move society

towards a
direction where autistic differences are accepted
and even celebrated, and not shamed.

So, this has been my video on verbal and vocal
stimming. I hope you found it informative.

If you liked
my video, feel free to thumbs it up and, if
you want to see more videos about autism,

you can
subscribe to my channel. I'm updating Ask
an Autistic on Thursdays now, but next week,

my husband
and I are going on a short trip, so there
will be no video update next week, but the

following
Thursday, there will be a new Ask an Autistic.
So, if you have a question that you would

like
answered via video, feel free to post it in
the comments section below. Thanks for watching

my
videos.
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Ask an Autistic #4 - What is Vocal/Verbal Stimming?

148 Folder Collection
1045162635a published on March 24, 2018
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