There are all kinds of therapy. Music, painting, puzzles, and spa. One of mine isn’t one that I’ve seen mentioned in any of my autism social media groups. It is pecan pickin’. It is a repetitive movement of walking and bending over. The more bending over, the more pecans. This isn’t a strange phenomenon. Picking pecans is a popular activity that comes in autumn for those who live on or off the Spectrum. Pecans can be bought in a grocery store but at a pretty price. The expensiveness is incentive enough for folks to find places to pick pecans where pecans trees are dropping pecans like flies.
Everybody does a repetitive movement, or simply, fidget. It’s just with more frequency and deeper intensity that I and others with Autism do it. I don’t know if I could name off all the ways I stim but pecan fishing is one of them. Many a time when I’m in meltdown country or bored to tears, I’ll go out for a walk and pick pecans. It is a seasonal form of stimming instead of a year-round one. Pecans have a limited life span with some arriving before autumn’s arrival and some gone before Ol’Man Winter even gets serious. Since there’s a pecan tree in the backyard, I don’t have to go far to work up a “stim”.
In early autumn of 2019, an EF-1 tornado came through to the north of my neck of the woods. To say the wind was kicking up its heels that night was an UNDERstatement! The higher the wind, the more branches swing, and the more branches discard stuff. On the following morning, after the wind had taken a hike, I had a jam-packed worth of stim-pecan-pickin’ on my doorstep. PLUS, leaf-covered branches and oodles of twigs and branches. Two trash cans worth!
I wish I could get more out of pecan pickin’ than the only stimmin’. Truth be told, most of what I pick lands in the trash can. Far and few between are ones that have the “good” stuff inside. I kept a baggie of eatable pecans. By Thanksgiving, there was enough not to bake a pie, but a mini-tart.