What is verbal/auditory stimming and how can we stop it?
First, What is Stimming?
Stimming is short for "stimulation." According to
Neurodevelopmentalists Marilee Nicoll Coots, B.A. and Cyndi Ringoen,
B.S., B.A. in their article, "Sensory Play":
is repetitive, often appears compulsive and can occur using any
of the senses. Parents usually describe it as something that doesn’t
seem quite right...
Sensory play is a learned behavior that an individual develops for
several reasons. Primarily, it feels good so the behavior is
You may have heard some say that sensory play is beneficial, calming,
a communication attempt or even a type of psychological mechanism. It
is possible that on an unconscious level some children use stimming to
control their environment or to avoid the things they wish not to do.
For example, if a child stims, he may be able to avoid uncomfortable
social situations. It is important to consider that many adults engage
in various behaviors for the same reasons -- including: smoking,
drinking, taking drugs, overworking etc. Just because a behavior has a purpose
does not mean the behavior is healthy or developmentally helpful.
is often a metabolic component to stimming. When children are out of
balance metabolically, their stimming is increased. Appropriate metabolic
intervention can often reduce stimming and occasionally halt it.
sensory play creates endorphins, “happy,” “feel good” chemicals in the
brain, much the same as the “runner’s high.” These chemicals become
addictive, causing the individual to repeat the activity in order to
renew the good feeling. Thus, the child becomes trapped in a compulsive
behavior. Development stops progressing, becoming more and more delayed...
seek to stop sensory play, not as an end in itself, but as part of an
overall treatment plan, which includes addressing the underlying
neurodevelopmental causes of the behavior...
most frequent verbal stimm that I've heard is a constant
"Ehhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh....." But that might just be
because it's hard to ignore in public. Jett's verbal stimm when he
was little was to talk non stop. At his worst, he'd repeat every single
word that he heard. Everything. Any conversation, anything on TV, etc.
It was maddening!!
Examples of Verbal Stimming from "Sensory Play":
What Stopped Jett's Verbal Stimming?
- blurting out loud and/or high pitched noises
- Repetition of odd noises/sounds
- talking to self-- excessive and nondirective
- echolalia of phrases, movies, songs........
- nose humming
- banging on everything
- throat sound--compulsive (Andi's Note: this can also be from a mycoplasma infection. Read the book America is Infected.)
- pounding toys or books
- excessive giggling (Andi's Note: this can also be from yeast overgrowth.)
- electronic games that repeat sounds
- inappropriate giggling (often a sign that they are stimming)
- repeating a video scene over and over
- telling the same story over and over
- constantly singing
- reciting alphabet over and over
BME is an Ayurvedic medicinal herb traditionally used for enhancing cognitive functioning. I discovered this cure by accident. I was trying to stop Jett from running around in circles... which led me to why
animals in cages do it... which is because of stress... which led me to
trying to regulate his stress levels... leading me to bacopa monera.
about 2 weeks upon giving Jett BME, not only did it stop the running in circles, but it
also stopped the verbal stimming! Score!
Jett started it when he was a year or so old. And it has never come back -- unless I run out of BME. Then it reappears about two to three days upon
stopping it. I also saw that Jett was more affectionate.
|Jett quietly standing still.|
Benefits of Bacopa
- Memory Enhancer. Human studies conducted on 76 adults, between the ages of 40 and 65, showed significant
improvements in memory retention of learning new information.
- Neuro Protection. Acting as a powerful neuron
antioxidant, BME was shown to provide significant protection against
free radical induced toxicity of the neurons as well as a protector of
DNA against damage. Further protection was demonstrated for aluminum
induced oxidative stress, and against excitotoxcity elicited in
- Anti-Depressant. BME was found to provide important antidepressant activity in animal studies.
- Reduction in beta-amyloid deposits in the brain (as
is characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease), in animal research. The
authors suggest that such mechanisms of action may have application in
- Enhance learning and academic performance and improve mental alertness.
Check out this post for more about bacopa, including recommended brands and dosing information.
- Enhances mental focus in stressful situations and improves mental clarity and mood.
- Helps regulate cortisol levels.
- Thyroid-stimulating. An animal study investigating the effects of botanicals on the
thyroid found Bacopa increased T4 (Thyroid Hormone) levels by 41
percent. (If you do
give this to your child, be sure to watch for signs of hyperthyroidism
although many of our children can't convert T4 to T3 anyway!)