Stimming and Positive Academic Performance

Apr 13 , 2021


Julie-Anne Dietz

Stimming and Positive Academic Performance

According to Journal of Child Neuropsychology, 2016 someone who is experiencing trouble taking in sensory information and responding appropriately, may misinterpret sensory information such as sounds and touch, which can lead to impaired skills related to function.   Further, this can lead to feelings of being overwhelmed by sensory information, seeking out new sensory experiences or avoiding certain experiences altogether.

This is where our response to stimming becomes important. These are the repetitive movements such as rocking, jumping, or flicking fingers, resulting from a lack of undersensitivity (hyposensitive) or overload oversensitivity (hypersensitive), which according to the Journal of Educational Research, 1998, Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology,2015, states: “By engaging in different sensory systems through select stimming behaviours, significant positive impacts to a child’s academic performance, attention and self-regulation abilities can be seen.”

So it may be well worth re-thinking again about the important role of stimming and fidgeting for a child experiencing Sensory Disorder. Preventing students from stimming or fidgeting can become disruptive for that child and prevent children from learning (Journal of Child Neuropsychology, 2016). Yes, not all stimming behaviours are suitable, and yes it is important to establish which do and do not disrupt others or the environment the child is in, but optimising all children’s learning should be the end goal.

There is no one size fits all when reacting to stimming but where possible allowing this to happen may assist to manage each child’s circumstances towards optimising learning outcomes.

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