My son shakes his hands when he is excited. He has demonstrated this behavior since he was 6 months old. He can stop this behavior when I tell him to, but I don't think he realizes he is doing it until I tell him to stop. Everyone thought it was cute, but he will be starting kindergarten next fall and I am afraid of other children ridiculing him for this behavior. When I tell him to stop shaking he will say,"Mommy I'm just excited." I do not see any other symptoms that would indicate autism. He is very smart, social, loves to be around people. He seems to be normal in every way except for the hand shaking. He does bite his nails (we are trying to break him of this habit), and he has always chewed on things since he was a toddler.(Straws, toys, shirts, etc.)
Is this a definite sign of autism? Any help would be appreciated.
While "hand flapping" is a trait expressed commonly in autism or other "autism spectrum" kids. Many normal everyday kids exhibit self stimulating or sensory types of behaviors.
Remember back when you were in school how some kids bounced there leg up and down. And some kids twirled there hair absently.
In kindergarten, there is so much going on in the classroom he will be getting directed from one thing to the next thing so there is not a lot of time to get "zoned out" and you may notice he only does it at home or when he is tired.
The kids will not ridicule others at the kinder-garden level as they are still learning about social groups and norms so are apt to avoid being critical until they have more information, experience, and confidence.
One think that may work is giving him something less socially noticed to play with absently like a squeeze ball he can carry. I have also seen some kids have little weight bands or bracelets attached to there wrists as a reminder to them when they start shaking them. Sometimes that is all it takes to get them back from that zoned in shaking hands mode.
If he starts dancing around on his toes and lining objects up end to end go get him checked out for the "autistic symptoms" just in case as early intervention is key if that were to be the case.
I wouldn't worry too much. He is still developing and will most likely grow out of that.
Biting nails isn't really an Autism trait. Moving your tongue around all the time may be but then again kids do stuff like that for no reason as well.
To set your mind at ease you can always call a neurologist and they will hook him up to a EEG machine and check his brain waves for spiky patterns, partial spacial seizures etc.
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