About using stim toys

Using stim toys can make a lot of things possible, for instance:

  • listening to a lecture
  • understanding what’s going on and not getting overloaded
  •  tolerating noisy environments
  • avoiding picking at your skin or pulling out hair
  • keeping calm while talking to people

The problem is, stim toys often annoy people. Sometimes this is because they are biased against people who look weird, but sometimes it’s because they create sensory distractions.

For instance, some people are bothered by repetitive sounds, and that can make stim toys that make noise problematic, and some people are easily distracted by movement. Some things that can sometimes help:

  • Use quieter toys. Ball chains can work in similar ways to buckyballs, without making as much noise.
  • Buckyballs are quieter if you make and unmake the tube rather than squishing them.
  • Not everyone is equally noise-sensetive. It can be helpful to consistently sit in the same seat, and make sure that seat is at a significant distance from people who are bothered by the noises
  • It can be helpful to sit out of sight of people who are bothered by repetitive motion
  • If you can sometimes get by with less intrusive toys, but sometimes need the stronger stuff, don’t try to decide in the morning which to bring. Bring both, and keep the stronger toy available as a backup. Having the more effective toy consistently available makes it easier to function, and also increases the extent to which the less-disruptive toy is useable.