Flapping (also known as: Stereotypy, Stimming and Ticcing): These are repetitive movements such as rocking, hand flapping, head rolling, noise making etc. These are common for people with an ASD, and work by ‘stimulating’ one or more senses. Stims can be the things that I mentioned above, or other more subtle things. Rubbing your foot along a carpet, blinking very fast, rubbing the legs of your trousers when sat down, humming a noise over and over again. They keep you calm, together, help block out the world and help you feel safe. And guess what, you do them too. Biting your nails, chewing your hair, fiddling with glasses or earrings or tongue-studs, flipping a fringe, tapping your fingers. Same thing. They are also a form of communication, bigger than subtle facial expressions. Look to my hands and I’ll ‘tell’ you what I’m thinking and feeling.
So here is my poem, spread the word, I mean You!
And help turn our world into Kalamazoo.
Flapping to Kalamazoo
A boy flapped his way down to Kalamazoo,
I watched with delight, and so I flapped too.
He flapped at the birds and the puddles and toads,
And he flapped at the cars and the shadows and roads.
'Cus he flaps when he’s happy and flaps when he’s sad,
Flaps when it’s good and flaps when it’s bad.
But as he was walking, a noise he did hear,
A cough, so he turned- saw a man with a sneer.
The man dressed in blue, so the boy had a flap,
The man grabbed his shoulder, so the boy flapped- bad.
"Excuse me young man, but I just have to say,
That you should not show what you’re feeling that way.
You smile with your mouth, or you scowl with your eyes,
Not flap with your hands like you’re covered in flies!”
The man then let go, and the boy moved away,
(Which is good, as no-one should grab you that way)
He flapped with his hands and he ran and he ran,
And tried to forget about the flappy-flap man.
He flapped over fields, with the flowers in bloom,
He flapped through the night and he flapped at the moon,
While he flapped with his tiredness, flap he saw light,
Struck out for the village, with all of his might.
He knocked at a door, where he hoped he could sleep,
And a lady came out, but she stopped with a “Meep!”
"Don’t hurt me!", she squealed, and his flap was now flap,
It didn’t look like he’d be getting that nap.
He flapped to say “Please say, ‘Come inside my dear.’”
The door slammed shut BANG, she did not seem to hear.
He was so very tired, so he knocked more and more,
But the lady did not come and answer the door,
So all through the village he knocked and would roam,
Flap, flap, flap, flap, flap, he just wanted a home.
He sat on the pavement, lent against a sign,
Took a card from his bag and he started to pine.
The postcard of colourful Kalamazoo,
"The Place For People Who’re Exactly Like You!"
He gave one last flap and he put down his head,
And he dreamt of a sandwich, a home and a bed.
He woke to hear whispers and flapped at their frowns,
"What’s wrong with it?", "Why has it come to our town?!"
"Why is it doing that?", "We don’t want that here!"
And the boy looked around as he flap-flapped with fear.
The colourful buildings, the trees neat and slim,
And all of the people who were nothing like him,
No, no, flap flap, it just couldn’t be true-
This shouldn’t be, couldn’t be, Kalamazoo!
He got to his feet, and again ran and ran,
At worst he’d just get back to where he began.
Then CRASH went his body, and flap went his hands,
And found himself on his back sprawled in the sand.
"S-sorry young man." Said a voice, through a bruise,
The girl flapped her hands, and she stared at her shoes.
He flapped at her flapping, the first for a while,
She looked at his flapping and flapped back a smile.
"I’ve lived here for years, and I though they were wrong,
There was no-one like me, and it lied all along,
But I am like me, and you are like you,
We’re both like each other, thank Kalamazoo!”
So they shared a pink house and the town’s people stared,
But together they found that they just didn’t care,
As they taught and explained why they were like they were,
The town became open, more friendly for sure,
They knew then that no-one was ever alone,
And with people like you, you would always find home,
It takes people who don’t flap and people who do,
To make somewhere special like Kalamazoo.
"But now," says the Once-let, "Now that you’re here, the word of the Lorax seems perfectly clear. UNLESS someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not." - Dr. Seuss (The Lorax)