|This picture shows Ben running in circles around a pond at my aunt's house. This was yet another wide open space where he enjoyed running endlessly.|
Stimming is a word often discussed in the autism community.
A stim or a self-stimulating behavior often has a negative connotation.
There are many articles that discuss how to reduce or eliminate stimming behaviors. While I understand that harmful behaviors such as head banging should be reduced and even eliminated, I believe that often a stim can be calming and regulating for a person.
We all have our stims, whether it is nail biting, pencil tapping, or hair twirling. For Ben, one of his stims is running. Running in circles. Running in straight lines. Running to be free.
Ben has always loved to run.
He does not run away, as some autistic children do. I am so grateful that he is not the child who runs into oncoming traffic or who may, at a moment’s notice, run out the door and into the neighborhood. My heart goes out to those families who must constantly be on their guard lest their precious child slips away from them and into harm's way.
No, Ben runs when he sees an opportunity, just as an artist feels compelled to fill a blank canvas.
Open spaces call out to Ben.
Areas that form a continuous loop call out to him also.
Playgrounds with rounded fences.
The sensory gym where he receives his occupational therapy.
A house with a front and back yard that connect.
While on our family vacation, we recently visited our friends for a cookout.
Their house rests on a beautiful plot of land with slightly rolling hills in the backyard where we often spot wildlife such as deer and raccoons. Rocky stone steps connect the side of the house to the long driveway of their front yard, with trails that loop in two directions where the paths meet.
The perfect space for Ben to run.