4th Sep 2014
Stimming Fix On ITV
Alex Lowery, who has autism, finds repetitive movements help him cope with anxiety – now he wants others to understand the behaviour, which is known as stimming.
His story was broadcast on ITV News Wales at Six on Thursday 11th September.
Short for self-stimulatory behaviour, stimming involves a person with autism repeating actions like rocking back and forward to help them process thoughts and emotions.
But the 20-year-old Fixer from Holywell in Flintshire feels that this can unnerve others, if they don't know enough about it.
'Stimming is basically something that those with autism do,' Alex explains.
'It's a lot of movements like hand flapping or spinning around.
'I want to explain it to people, so they know it's not a bad thing.
'It's nothing to be afraid of.'
In the broadcast, Alex enlists the help of an actor to assess the way people react when she starts stimming in public.
One passer-by commented: 'It is a bit frightening, because you don't know what they're going to do next.'
Maggie Bowen, an Additional Learning Needs Trainer, also appears in the TV film in support of Alex’s campaign.
'We have all got ways in which we deal with anxiety,’ she says.
‘Maybe we twiddle our hair or tap our fingers and some of us like to doodle when we are concentrating.
'This is exactly the same for someone on the autistic spectrum - it's just far more exaggerated.'
Alex adds: 'I’ve had people who permanently tried to stop me from stimming and that definitely isn't right.
'They're just focussing on how a person comes across and not how they feel.
'My message to everyone is that some people stim – just get over it.'
Help Fix It - Share this story!
Knowing how it feels to have your behaviour misinterpreted, Lewis Beeston
is raising awareness of the different elements of autism. Watch his TV story.