18 answers

Hand Flapping

My daughter is almost 2 1/2 years old. She is so bright and is way ahead of what is typical cognitive development for her age. But here is what worries me. She has a strong tendency to flap her hands. It happens when she gets hurt, while she is eating, and during any times of stress. I work with children that have Autism and Autism related disorders, so the hand flapping is very common to me. She doen not do it right in front of her face, like many of the kiddos that I work with do, but more out to the side in the air (kinda looks likes she's trying to fly). I don't think that I am worried that my daughter is on the Autism spectrum, I was just wondering if any other moms have children that also do this kind of movement with their hands. She also swings her legs a lot, but that doesn't bother me as much as the hand flapping does. Thanks!!

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My 3 1/2 year old son has PDD NOS - Pervasive Developmental Disorder not otherwise specified. This is on the autistic spectrum. I noticed that he was not talking, making eye contact, doing repetitive things when he was 2. He does do some hand flapping when he is mad or excited about something. I started with the local AEA office. They came to my house and observed and evaluated him. They started working with him about once a week. He is very smart as well, he just cannot express everything in a manner that WE know what he is saying! They suggested that he be evaluated for autism (which I had a gut feeling about) and gave me suggestions on where to take him. We went to the University of Iowa to do this. I do know that there are places in Omaha that are great too. I would start with the AEA. They were so nice and easy to talk to.

Hope this helps! Good luck!

My son did that for the longest time. Especially when he was told no and started a tantrum. It used to drive me up the wall when he did it! I thought that was almost worse than screaming. He eventually grew out of it and no longer does it. It's probably just something that she does when she's frustrated. She will probably grow out of it too. Good luck!!

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My son was also a hand-flapper at that age. Mostly when he was excited or sometimes when stressed. I really wasn't too worried about it but because of some speech issues his ECFE teacher wanted him evaluated at age 2 1/2. Long story short, the OT tried to tell us he had some sensory issues but the rest of the evaluators concluded he was just very bright and very verbal - still is. He outgrew the hand flapping and is thriving in kindergarten. Of course if you are really concerned, see an OT or your pediatrician. But if things are fine otherwise, I'd just let it go and not make a big deal about it. If you stop paying attention to it, one day you'll realize she doesn't even do it anymore.

I have an 8 year old son who does odd things with his hands when he is excited. My husband used to do that when he was little, so I think that is were my son got it from. I wouldn't worry about it too much, it is probably just a funny little quirk she will eventually outgrow.

My 3 1/2 year old son has PDD NOS - Pervasive Developmental Disorder not otherwise specified. This is on the autistic spectrum. I noticed that he was not talking, making eye contact, doing repetitive things when he was 2. He does do some hand flapping when he is mad or excited about something. I started with the local AEA office. They came to my house and observed and evaluated him. They started working with him about once a week. He is very smart as well, he just cannot express everything in a manner that WE know what he is saying! They suggested that he be evaluated for autism (which I had a gut feeling about) and gave me suggestions on where to take him. We went to the University of Iowa to do this. I do know that there are places in Omaha that are great too. I would start with the AEA. They were so nice and easy to talk to.

Hope this helps! Good luck!

I have a 22-month old son who does what sounds like similar hand-flapping. He does this when he's excited and happy. His father apparently did the same thing. I was a little nervous about since he has speech/language delays, but he is so social and does not exhibit anything that makes the therapists think autism. Does your daughter make any verbalizations when she does the hand flapping? Is her doctor concerned about it?

My son (now 13 years old) flapped his hands too. He started as a baby, and did it mostly when excited. He also liked spinning objects, so I was a little concerned. He also jumped up and down a lot in excitement - literally jumping for joy. And he was a high energy little boy. He was ahead in all of the milestones, (except walking - not until 15 months!). He always had excellent eye contact.

Now, at 13, he is very smart, and a straight A student in school. He is very social, and relates well with others. He has no problems with focusing or sitting still when he needs to. I think the hand flapping gradually went away by the age of 5 or 6, but he still will jump up and down now and then (like when playing RISK or talking about an interest).
The only difference I see in him is his intensity - he does become rather obsessed with his interests: toilets at age 2, vacuums at age 3, lawn mowers at age 4, computers at 9, the current passion is cell phones. He knows everything about the subject. But he is happy and successful in his life, so I leave it at that.

My son did that for the longest time. Especially when he was told no and started a tantrum. It used to drive me up the wall when he did it! I thought that was almost worse than screaming. He eventually grew out of it and no longer does it. It's probably just something that she does when she's frustrated. She will probably grow out of it too. Good luck!!

Hello,

I have been working with children who have Autism for several years. They do not always flat in front of there face. She may have Aspberger syndrom a form of Autism. It may benificial to you to ask your doctor. It sounds to me as if those are Autism ticks. I have worked with very high funtioning autistic children and some very low children. They all are very special in there way.

J.

I just watched a VERY interesting show in Autism that was on HBO the other day. I believe the autism term would be called "Stimming". Alot of autistic children stimulate themselves in many ways, the typlical is the hand flapping...but some do other movements of stimulation. I'd do some research about that first. Most likely it's not Autism, because usually children with autism show other more obvious signs, like staring into space and losing the ability to form words and loss of words, etc. Do some research on your own.

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