Friday, January 9, 2015

An Awkward Problem

By Philip

I am dealing with awkward behaviors all the time. At school I sometimes pace when I should be sitting or I shout out when I should be quiet. People think i am doing it on purpose. I am not. I get caught momentarily mightily by an impulse. My body cannot stop itself. I momentarily lose control. People can plead with me to stop. I want to listen but at times my body won't obey. Ramming against a caring mind is my body. Going near loud noise hurts me literally. I am each day daring hard to fit in.  A tame mind can ease my day. Peace comes day to day from people who accept me at home, school, and church. Popular ideas about autism say we don't care about people.  This is not true. People intimidate me because I cannot talk or act normal. Peacefulness awakens when people understand me and like me.

Pacing is an annoying habit of mine.  I annoy others by walking away and not looking at them. I seem to be rude. People think I am ignoring them. I am listening always and can't concentrate on what you are saying unless I look away. There is no way to help my body stop except by making me sit. I also need to not be made to look at you when you talk to me. 

I shout out to release tension from fear, frustration, or stress. People hate when I yell. I mightily wail that I even hurt my own ears. I have lots more annoying behaviors like smelling people or stealing people’s food and drinks.  Lucky I have mom to put up with me.

Listen openly to me. Please be patient with people like me.  No matter the behavior, we want to be included. I long to be like my brother Carlos. I want to play soccer and be cool too. My goal is to be more courteous and less annoying.

(The following is a response to the question, “What is the difference between an impulse and stim?”)

Impulse is trying to reach for peace momentarily but it is opposite in potential. Peace never comes from acting on impulse. It only brings remorse. Unlike impulses, stims are necessary for living. Stims should be tolerated at times. One day you might learn to appreciate them. Ceasing to stim bodes poorly on my thinking. Lots of thinking happens as I pace, flap, or use another movement. I think stims are healthy but impulses are not. Help me by stopping impulses but allowing stims as long as they do not hurt anyone.


  1. Perfectly said Philip!!! I know how much effort you put into getting through each day! Thank you for the great explanation of the difference between stims and impulses! Keep being you!

  2. I love your son! He does an amazing job of explaining things which others simply cannot understand because they have not experienced anything which is similar. Thanks for sharing him with us.

  3. Philip you are amazing person. I have daughter with Autsim that has the same problems when it comes to people. And you take and break it down bye step bye step. And how it is affects you and what the world around you are saying. You are intersperstion to all of us. Thanks so much for sharing Philpi I love you're story hats off to you

  4. Thank you once again - your insights and perspectives are always educational. :-)

  5. Thank you so much, Philip, for helping us understand! I want to get better at recognizing which movements are stims and which are impulses. Please keep sharing to help us help our friends with Autism!

    1. I'm so glad Philip us able to help. He agreed to let me share a list of movements that he classifies as impulses vs. stims:

      impulses- smelling people's aroma, looking to escape, being very dreadful, and stealing food and yelling.

      stims- pacing, tapping, flapping, looking at nature, mouthing things

  6. Added to the list of stims is rocking. My brother does this. He also hits his head. I know this is also stimming, and many people find this behavior unacceptable. Personally, I do not like it when he hits his head because I am afraid he will hurt himself. I try not to let it bother me, but it is hard. As far as the rocking, I say, "Rock on, Timothy!"