Self Stimulating Behaviors

Self stimulating behaviors.

Doesn’t sound so great does it?


I’ve been researching this lately because of our sweet Benja.

It’s something we’ll be talking to his early intervention team about at our next meeting.

Benja’s behaviors are head banging and rocking. When he’s tired he shakes his head, sometimes very hard. He will often (thought not as often as he used to) bang (sometimes quite hard) his head on things. He also often rocks rhythmically in place while staring off into space. These “sessions” of rocking/head-banging seem to have decreased over the past two months but regardless, its something I worry about.

I know that this is often seen in severely neglected/institutionalized children but Benja was in a “good” orphanage where he got a lot of stimulation and attention. So I’m not convinced it is just post-institutionalization behaviors.

Anyone have experience in this with their adopted child?

Here is a video where you can see Benja rocking slowly in the background. This is a mild example but you can see what I mean.


3 Comments to “Self Stimulating Behaviors”

  1. I have no help but I know this is common. I hope you get help soon. Praying for you.

  2. I haven’t had this experience, but it does make me wonder if it is something related to needing sensory input. It would be worth consulting with an Occupational Therapist to see if maybe he is needing deep pressure or something like that.

  3. i recently adopted my daughter from Uganda and she has some similar self stimulating behaviors. she rocks back and forth, humming to herself and she sucks her thumb constantly. she has multiple special needs and the occupational therapist thinks that she has a sensory processing disorder. if you’re interested in more information, i’d love to talk more. my email is and my blog is if you want to read more on my story. i’ve really enjoyed reading your adoption journey this far. it is so encouraging to me to see other parents adopting children with significant special needs. hope to hear from you soon.

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