One very human trait we all share is the need to regulate our sensory nervous system.  Sometimes we are very sleepy and need to rouse ourselves, and at other times we need to calm ourselves down.  If we are bored we will look for something to hold our interest, and conversely if we are overly stimulated we will seek a way to tune out some of that sensory information.  What we do at those times is find some way to regulate our response to overly-stimulating situations or boredom.  

Frequently this process is referred to in individuals with significant disabilities as "self-stimulation", "mannerisms", or "blindisms". (See Looking at Self-Stimulation in Pursuit of Leisure: or I'm Okay, You Have a Mannerism) Individuals who are visually impaired with additional disabilities often demonstrate behaviors which are self-stimulatory in nature.  Some of these behaviors are viewed as problem behaviors, and in fact can become that when the individual persists in these behaviors to the exclusion of other activity.  

Dr. Nielsen addressed this concern and in the following video, Patty Obrzut discusses this issue and how to address it using an Active Learning approach.

Description: Providing an Active Learning environment will help to facilitate sensory input for children, so that they don't have to turn to their own bodies, or self stimulation, to provide sensory input.

Self Stimulation
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