Rocking, Stimming, and the Autism Spectrum

Stimming is a form of self-comforting for many on the autism spectrum. Rocking is a common way of doing this. Actually, rocking is a stimming technique for the entire world!

It always baffles me when some people want to “cut back” on the stimming an autistic person does. I suppose I can understand it if the person is head-banging against walls and causing themselves damage. But rocking? Really?

We grow up rocking in cradles. We graduate to rocking on horses and other toys. Our favorite activity growing up could be swinging on a swing. I could enjoy that gentle rocking motion for hours.

And hammocks? Sheer bliss!!

I still remember in high school that a friend of mine and I went to a playground after hours and rocked on the swings. I felt sad that it was no longer “proper” for me to be there. That I was thought to be “too old” for the playground.

But then adults have rocking chairs. We sit on porches and rock while we talk. And when we have children of our own, we rock them to sleep.

Isn’t rocking something all of us want to do? Doesn’t it soothe all of us?

Scientists even created a bed hung from a pendulum which slowly rocked back and forth. Those who tested it LOVED the bed and wanted to buy one.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0960982218316622

So what am I saying here? If someone loves to rock, I say to have at it. Is it really that distracting for others around them to have that person rocking? How many situations in life require everyone to be absolutely still? I suppose if they were in a MRI machine or an XRay or something. But except for that, I’m fine with someone rocking because it calms them. If someone is anxious and rocking eases that anxiety, that seems fine to me.

And yes, I love to rock :).

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