December 15, 2019

Sensory Sunday #7

Last updated on May 24, 2021

To promote our sensory differences—and by extension a greater understanding of autism—we are asking a weekly question on Sunday about your sensory experience. We are calling it Sensory Sunday. Here is last week’s question:

Sensory Sunday #6


We have been experiencing burnout, so we decided to take it easy and skipped last week’s Sensory Sunday. This week we are back, with the following question:

In what ways do you use stimming subconsciously
to regulate yourself and prevent sensory overload?


Autistic females are so good at hiding our stimming behaviours that we do not even see them ourselves. Let me give you an example.

Martin and I went out to a restaurant to eat. I told him that he should put his napkin on his lap, rather than leave it on the table.

He said, “Why?”

I said, “Because it is polite”. Thinking I should give him a more logical answer, I added, “So that we can discreetly wipe off our hands under the table.”

Well, we both made use of our napkins, but in very different ways. See exhibits A and B below.

Two napkins, both used for different purposes.

Martin’s napkin is the flat and politely used one. Mine…I think it looks like a dead frog. I am not sure that I used it to clean my hands…but you can see that I did use it to stim!

How did you find out you stim subconsciously?
Do you leave a physical trail of evidence of your stimming?

To explore the whole Sensory Sunday series,
have a look at the Sensory Sunday index:

Sensory Sunday series



This article
was written by:
I’m a dually licensed registered psychotherapist and naturopathic doctor, and a Canadian leader in trauma, PTSD, and integrative medicine strictly informed by scientific research.And not only do I happen to be autistic, but my autism plays a significant role in who I am as a doctor and how I interact with and care for my patients and clients.


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