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Autism Signs in a toddler
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Autism Signs in a toddler

My grandson (who just turned 2) has unusual arm/hand movements that have been causing us to wonder if this is a sign of autism.

After visiting several web sites, the movements appear to be the only system of autism he possesses.

When he gets excited, his arm and hands flail out to his sides.  This happens during meals (when he likes what he is eating), ball playing, or the anticipation of a good TV show (Barney or Telly Tubbies!).

He social skills seem great.  He smiles, laughs and is a very animated & bright child.  

Do you have any idea what these movements mean?  Should he be tested for autism?

Thank you for addressing my concerns!
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10 Comments Post a Comment
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Avatar_n_tn
My son who is seven has Autism and it is mild, but  My brother has it more acutely. This arm movement that you are describing I am sure is not a symptom of Autism. It sounds like a personality kind of thing. The first thing that you should think of with Autism is Pattern of thought. Is his Pattern from A-Z or from K-Z then J-A for example. Are his social behaviors appropriate like will he have a flat effect when he should cry and cry when there is nothing to cry about. Does he have phobias or  any form of OCD (Over Compulsive Disorder) does he react badly to the slightest environment change. Like can you rearrange the furnisher in his room or play areas. Or is he always lining up toy, shoes, anything repeatedly? Is he soothed by a constant motion that he makes all the time? Like rubbing his hand or pushing a toy in the same direction over and over. Some children even as young as one or two don't like affection or don't bond well with the mother but bond more with an animal or person who is not the care giver. Autism is a spectrum but most children who have autism will not have a motion that only happens when happy. It will happen when they are fine or angry too. And usually many, many other signs show up first  in children who have mild Autism, that are much more aggravating for you and the child. If he sounds like this then I would most definitely have him screened and make sure you fight for it, don't be forced to see any child hood Psychologist or Psychiatrist make sure you see a Autism specialist. because in mild versions opinion can mean A world of difference for him in the long run. Good luck.
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Avatar_n_tn
Ditto!!! To the Capital H, But My son while he spoke Late 2years old he spoke and speaks fine now. But he sometime finds it hard to express himself when he is emotional And when he has pain. Its hard for him to tell me where. I had posted this before I saw the other thread.
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Avatar_n_tn
My daughter stiffens and opens and closes her hands and opens her mouth whenever she is excited...  I notice it's always in anticipation of something..  reading a book, having her hair done... anything..  Wonder if I, too, should be concerned.  
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Avatar_n_tn
My 2 year old daughter does the SAME exact thing.  I was trying to find information on this and thus came upon this web site.  I think/hope it is just how she reacts to excitement.  It is almost as if she tenses and stops breathing for a few seconds.  Some times she'll do it more often than others. Usually, when she is playing with something or one of her favorite shows is coming on or she is getting a specail trea,t etc..  It seems harmless but there is that worry in the back of mind.   Her 2 year checkup is tomorrow and I am going to ask her doctor about it.  I will pass along his response.  
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Avatar_n_tn
My daughter's doctor said this is quite common for young children, any combination of breath holding, arm movements, tensing and mouth open.  He said they grow out of it.  I figured that was all it is, still its reassurring to hear it from the doc.  
I wouldn't worry about the little things....just part of their personality in a way I guess.
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Avatar_n_tn
I was so glad to see your response after you checked with the doctor. My daughter (2 1/2 now) does the same thing. When she's excited or anticipating something she waves her hands and opens her mouth. Most ppl just think she's yawning. I was really worried and looked it up, hoping it wasn't anything. I try to just tell her to stop, which she does. She puts her hands up in a freeze pose and smiles like it's funny. I'm hoping telling her to stop doing it will just let her stop. Hope that's not inappropriate.
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Avatar_f_tn
My daughter who is 9 now still does it,she opens her mouth real wide stares into space and opens and closes her hands real fast sometimes while flailing her arms. I was also told the same thing by her doctor when she was 2 I was told its just excitement nothing to worry about now she has a lot of anxiety and is a very nervous child although very smart all A's in school. Now I notice that my 19 month old is starting to do the same thing she's flailing her arms when excited I wonder if I should mention this to my childs doctor and see if they should screen both for their symptoms
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Avatar_f_tn
My son just turned 3 and he is also making these unusual movements with his arms, hands and mouth. His teacher noted it could be related to Cerebal Palsy but I will confirm this with his dr. He only does it when he is excited as well or when he is praised.
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Avatar_f_tn
my 3 year old does the same only his whole body stiffins, with almost robot like arm movements, i was told by my doctor with my older son that it was an excitement thing and he will grow out of it which was totall rubish my older son is now 12 he still does it only not as severe as he has learned to controll it, he is now concentration problems learning difficulties etc and is waiting to be ascessed, so no dont let it go my 3 year old is waiting to see a pediatrition, and i am going to push it till my full satisfaction so that he is not pushed to the side like my older son who is suffering now!!! doctors think by spending 10 mins with your child that they no everything, only you no your child and if you think theres a problem dont let a doctor tell you theres not!!!!
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Avatar_m_tn
Thanks for your comments, my 3 year old daughter is doing the exact same thing and I'm concerned the pediatrician will say the same thing about growing out of it, did you learn anything else after you took your 3 yr old to the Dr?
Thanks
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