The Human Beatbox

One of the strangest and most notable of B’s traits is that he constantly makes repetitive, rhythmic noises to himself. It sounds like he is trying to make the sound of a drumbeat, like a human beatbox. I suppose like a person might sing the lyrics to a song or hum the tune, B does the drumbeat. He keeps a good rhythm (we bought him a toy drum kit- he’s quite good on that too!).

I guess this is what is called ‘stimming’. As I understand it, this is the person’s way of self-regulating and making themselves feel comforted or comfortable. ‘Autism for Dummies’ (I just got it) compares it to non-autistic person jiggling their leg when nervous.

Where B differs from what I’ve read is that it doesn’t happen when he is anxious. Rather, it is usually a sign that he is enjoying himself or content. Sometimes it seems to happen because he doesn’t know what else to do or when he wants to take a break from what he is doing. Mostly, it seems that he really enjoys making the noise.

It can be irritating and it can be embarrasing when we’re out, but is otherwise perculiar rather than worrying. I don’t yet know how to deal with it so it is tolerated. We try to distract him with something else although this is not always practical.

In the meantime, the beat goes on!

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4 Responses to The Human Beatbox

  1. kwhiting644 says:

    I love your writing. I am sitting here going through the entire blog. B is drumming because he is getting sensory input from it. It is his way to self-soothe. Instead of comparing it to jiggling your leg when you’re nervous, it is more akin to a baby sucking his thumb when he is the most relaxed or as I sit here on my laptop, I am rocking in my rocker-recliner. I am not anxious or nervous. Quite the contrary. I am very relaxed. I’ve never liked the word “stimming” because we all “stim” in some kind of way. It’s just that most of us are more socially adept at not making it so obvious – chewing gum, hyperfocus on the computer, drinking hot coffee, being engrossed in a good book, going for a run, cleaning out a closet. We know how to regulate our senses and do so intrinsically. We know what feels good. We know that even though it might feel relaxing to lay down on the floor, it’s not a good idea to do so at work. Children and adults on the spectrum don’t understand social cues and for some reason have hyper/hypo sensitive needs to stimuli.

    It’s really interesting to me to read your blog from a parent perspective. I am a teacher and an adoptive mom (she’s 2 now). thanks. I subscribed.

  2. Pingback: Making sense | Life with an autistic son

  3. Beatbox says:

    what a good talent beatboxing :D

    visit also my blogsite talks about beatbox

  4. Monika says:

    My daughter, who is 6, also does exactly the same thing. She has only been diagnosed with ‘executive function disorder’ but I think that there is more. Her ‘beatboxing’ as we call it ..happens all the time.. mostly just during a quiet moment..when she is sitting in a sunbeam soaking it in..or in the backseat of the car and she isn’t interacting with her two siblings. Like you said – it can be a bit awkward when you’re out in public and I ask her to stop her clicking quite so loudly (which she genuinely does try to do..but it usually picks up louder and more intently if I try to get involved)…almost like she is trying to drown me out with the clicks and beats. I need to get video of it.. because some of the complex beat patterns she comes up with are MIND BLOWING! :) Following your blog! Thanks for sharing!

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