This toddler has hand flapped since infancy. Lately, I have noticed that it appears to be involuntary. I have also noticed that he is a little unbalanced. He walked at 16 mos. old. Also, maybe I am overly concerned, he is crawling sometimes instead of walking and he sticks his fingers in his ears and then takes them out. I know that he is hearing, and am not sure if he is actually enjoying hearing the difference with fingers in and out of ears. Of course, right now the hand flapping is most on my mind. He appears to be the only child doing this when we go to Mommy and Me classes!
Hi. Well, you don't say how old he is. Many kids have quirks and are perfectly fine. I know people associate hand flapping with autism but you would have more signs of autism than that. Things like speech, eye contact, etc. would be affected. However, things like hand flapping are called stimming. It is the nervous system's way to try and calm itself. Not all kids who flap is this the case but many. My son did not flap much but rolled his fingers and would spin. He does not have autism but a nervous system issue called sensory integration disorder. He has trouble self soothing and for the longest time, I was very sensitive about his spinning and moving his fingers in this odd way. Then I realized that he is trying to help himself with it. I never stop him at home. He is now 7 and doesn't spin much but oddly enough was doing it tonight. Sitting there eating a cheese stick spinning around. (he does not get dizzy). So we went to our basement and I did some exercises to help calm his nervous system as that is a sign that it is revved up and his brain sends the impulse to spin to do it. Some kids have the opposite, their system is "slow" and the stimming is to wake it.
Try not to be self conscious about the movement. I will tell you that as my son was being diagnosed--------- I wanted to stop anything that indicated there was a problem! (bad time in my life!!) But once we knew what the problem was, we worked on it and he is doing really terrific. He does well in school, has friends, does sports, is a regular kid.
So, things to look for------------ fine motor issues, self care tasks being difficult (like putting on clothes), easily melts down, social skill issues, etc.
And remember, it really can just be a quirk with nothing else behind it. I think bringing concerns to the attention of your pediatrician is helpful as well. Best of luck to you.
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