I have a son that is almost 4 yrs old. He is very social, articulate, and loves preschool. He interacts with his friends and adults normally and has a sweet disposition. Since he was one year old I have been concerned with his "hand flapping." Although, I call it hand flapping it is more like a palsy movement and stiffening of hands and arms. He does this when he is excited or tired. It appears he holds it in during school, but on the drive home I will see him flapping as if he has built up all this excitement and needs to get it out. When my husband takes him fishing it is out of control or we go to an aquarium and see the fish in the tanks he starts flapping. Sometimes while watching a movie he will start flapping when an excited part happens....cars racing quickly etc. My pediatrician keeps telling me he will outgrow it. By age 3 he was still doing it so we decided to take him to a pediatric neurologist and was told it is something he will outgrow by around age 5 and to allow him to do it at home, but try to keep it under control in public and school. He seems to be getting worse, will do this on a daily basis, but again only if excited or exhausted. We plan to take him back to the pediatric neurologist in a few months when he turns 4. There is absolutely know other signs of anything wrong besides the flapping. We feel very blessed to have a healthy, bright boy, but am concerned because it is not getting better as he grow older. I have seen other postings from a few other mothers that have the same concerns and was hoping there was some feedback from some of you, particularly shelbydog. Shelbydog had a posting about a year ago regarding her son's similar behavior. Everything you described regarding your son sounded just like my son. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.
This is something you should not worry too much about. He is still growing up. And the best part is, he himself know how to control it when in school. He will slowly learn to control it in other social situations also. Children learn by observation.
His mind is probably conditioned to react this way when he is excited. This can be "un-learned" over a period of time. You do not need to do anything extra.
my son also did this flapping when excited or very happy. When he had playmates come over some noticed. sadly some asked him what is he doing and to stop. Doctor had him take an expensive test around 7 in the hospital with these pads on his head and body. it was negative. my son is now 19 and when he is happy or excited he clentches his hands -.fists together for a few stiff shakes. when he is walking into a event and is excited to be going he walks stiffer and arms straight down shaking his closed fists a couple times. Your son will adapt also to something less obvious than the flapping in time. just remind him when he flaps that you see how happy is he about something but he should try to not flap as much. tell him all kids have to tone down thier way of showing excitement. some kids scream loudly and need to lower voice. some clap and clap and need contol. he won't feel bad about being so happy but understand all things are done in moderation. on the brighter note . my son is highly intellegent and my brothers child (6) has been doing the flapping thing and he is staight A student. best wishes.
I am glad to see that other people share our experience. My son has been flapping his arms in excitement since he was a baby. He also will clench and unclench his fists when he gets excited or happy. Things that make him do this are tractors, trains, amusement rides, or anticipation of a favorite snack or drink. He just turned 3 and still does it. The flapping only lasts a few seconds. I don't think I could ever catch it on camera. Now when we catch him, we say "stop flapping" and he does. He is the most social, well developed, typical boy. Like Dr. Deshmukh said, perhaps it is a learned behavior because everyone got a kick out of it when he was younger, so he kept doing it, and now it's just a habit??? I am a nurse and have pretty good instincts having worked with autistic children. Although it is a little embarrassing in public, and the first thing I do is think that people will think he is autistic, I am not rushing him to a doctor. I think with awareness he will soon learn to control this behavior and outgrow it altogether. In the meantime, I know of a parent whose son displays every autistic characteristic under the sun besides hand flapping and she seems to have no clue. At least you are in tune with your child and if it does continue to be a problem for him, you can seek further advice from a neurologist. The point is, he's a happy child and you are a great parent, so he will be a happy adult!! Maybe they were birds in their previous lives!! Haha.
Hi...our son's behavior is virtually identical to yours. He is happy, intelligent, very verbal, creative and well adjusted. How is your son doing? Our son does this also when very excited or socially engaged. His preschool teacher has been noticing the flapping at school during their lunch time. I also notice it at home when he is eating and talking/sharing with others. She recommended we talk to our pediatrician about it, but my husband feels it is a non issue and that as he grows and becomes more aware of the flapping it will decrease. It's amazing how similar they seem.
My 19 month old son is showing very similar signs. He has flapped/twisted his arms when excited or stressed or tired since he was able to sit up. everything else seems to be progressing normally, very social, great eye contact, but his arms seem to flap more and more as he gets older, even while in his booster seat while i prepare dinner. sometimes he gets so excited that his legs kick too while sitting down in booster seat.
paediatrician dismissed my concerns 6 months ago and made me feel stupid, saying all kids flap and not to worry, he will grow out of it as he gains more control of what hes going. my husband thinks im crazy thinking someone is wrong, but ive never seen any other kids his age doing it so frequently.
going back to paed next week for follow up and will express my growing concerns. least i can see some other people with the same concerns on here.
Most of these posts describe my son's behavior to a t... My son is almost 4 and has been diagnosed with Stereotypical movement disorder (SMD).
If you google Dr. Roger Freeman in Vancouver BC, he has several publications on this.
Our children are NOT autistic, it is not tourettes or tics. I have taken my son to several specialists. I myself body rock and have all my life, it's just my son's movements are hand flapping, jumping and he does some facial grimacing too. I didn't do any of those.... Don't worry!
My son has flapped arms and legs since about 1 1/2. He was diagnosed 2 years ago with Stereotypical Movement Disorder. They told us he would probably "grow out of it " and he is now 10 and in 5th grade and has NOT grown out of it !!! He is being teased constantly by the other kids and he has recently been telling me that he does not want to live any more !!! I am blaming myself for letting this go for so long because I was told he would probably "GROW OUT OF IT" and now I have a very very depressed 10 year old that hates school and hates his life because of these unusual movements.
Note: When I ask my son why he does it he says... When he gets bored in school he starts to daydream about either cartoons or a video game and then he gets excited and starts flapping. This happens throughout the day and the kids now being older, think he is doing it on purpose and they do not understand and tease him constantly !!!
I don't mean to scare you or depress you, but I want you to know what is happening to my son now that he is older. I am now in a panic to stop these movements because they are ruining his life. He is very depressed and angry when he used to be a very happy boy.
My 3 1/2 year old son does the same thing. He does not have autism or asbergers (sp) and he is quite social, intelligent, etc. His doctors and preschool teachers have been unconcerned, so I feel like it is not a big deal. He stops when you point out the behavior and it has happened less and less over the last 6 months, mostly when a favorite song associated with a TV show or movie comes on (he dances along with it in these cases). My mother-in-law claims that my brother-in-law did the same thing when he was little too and grew out of it (I haven't noticed him exhibiting these behaviors and we live in the same town, so we see him a lot, although he is a high energy person). Anyhow, I'll keep an eye on things and hopefully he will continue to grow out of it, but it is nice to see a lot of people in the same situation, so it feels a little less odd.
I HAVE THIS HAND FLAPPING AFFLICTION (and now your attention too, please read)
I'm 19 years old and have this condition you are all discussing, although i dont know what the medical term is like most of you. I am described by my parents as flapping my arms in front of me, although since puberty I have gotten better at toning down the emphasis onj the actual flapping motion, although I still definitely flap and also make weird sound effects. For a little background, I showed no other abnormal signs throughout my youth, and am now a pretty smart kid, I attend the University of washington, so academically like ive been reading, just like most cases here im bright with no hindrances educationally. However to explain the flapping a little more; Its like the expression of a very strong urge I get to enact my body upon the exciting thoughts that I am having, influenced by a variety of sources; action scenes in movies, good and emotional music, or even an imaginary situation. The point is, when i get into this state I imagine myself in the position of whatever is exciting me, the musician, the action hero, and a lot of the time these thoughts even though I am in them are 3rd person. I hope that this is an ok description, this is the first time ive ever addressed this issue in writing. Hope it helps and let me know if you have any questions, as im still trying to learn about this myself.
I HAVE THIS, CONTINUED
I have done more research in the course of this night and have come to the conclusion that the condition is Stereotypic movement disorder. go to this link, its what made me convinced.
And now I am going to continue this post as a means of self expression on the topic and as a journal entry.
My friends and family are the only ones that know I do this. I have done it all my life, and even though I never do it when I think anyone is around, I vocalize the sound effects of my imagination while im doing it; i.e. ill make drum sounds when i have music in my head and I start this state. This is the most embarrassing part of it, and what always gets me caught. My parents will hear from the other room, or ill do it when my friends are turned away and they'll hear and turn around and see me. Its embarrassing, but none of my friends have ever seen it as a negative trait, just funny or weird, so it has not made me depressed. However I have never done it at school, and i do it in public very rarely and only when i think no one could see me. I went to europe with my friend michelle last year and she never saw me doing it, however she claims to have heard it a few times. Her reaction I think is more interesting. Firstly, she is a female, and to my knowledge the only female other than my mom and sister who knows about it. Also, out of everyone, her initial reaction was the most negative, she actually told me that she wished i didnt do it because it made her feel uncomfortable. we are very close, and it makes her feel uneasy and more distant from me. I didnt like her response, but after explaining it seriously one evening, i got her to understand that she was being very insensitive, now im not exactly sure what she secretly thinks about it in her mind (females..) however the incidences of my doing around her even though we hang out for extended periods of time have always been very very low, and i am always much more cautious, and am able and motivated to keep it from her without detriment to my state of mind and without feeling a continually building urge throughout the day.
TO ANONYMS'S POST:
I read about your son and i feel sympathy for him, but also hope. If indeed what he has is stereotypic movement disorder, I think there are things that I might try suggesting based on my own experience. Tell him that most people with this in fact do not report it as bothering behavior, but as something that feels good and that they just do. I am self conscious about it, i never intend to do it around others and certainly never imitate it to satisfy their curiosity. However all of my friends throughout my later teens have accepted it as a part of my personality. 90% of the time they have seen it as not something to be made fun of, even though they may laugh hysterically when they see me do it for the first time. My best friend has tried researching it on his own and he gained respect for it upon realizing it was a legitimate and fairly common, behavioral disorder, while never thinking too much about it because most of the time it is no big deal. I would consider anyone who finds it to be a fault in my personality, or something to tease me about, (beyond first learning about it), an immature child, and below me in terms of decency and personal quality. I have been successful despite all of it. Good luck to you and all other parents and kids out there who relate.
Wow, I'm glad my husband fell upon this site...My son just turned 6, and rocks and flaps like he's ready for take-off....I had him tested for autism and asperger, but that was negative...The specialist in AUSTISTIC psycology said that I should tell him to stop when he does it and he'll "grow out of it"...
I read something you wrote pink about the thinking when done...That is exactly what my son tells me when I ask him why he is doing it...He says "Mommy, it makes me think, I can't think without doing it".
He is now in the 1st grade, and the teachers have approached me about it...He has done it since he was able to sit up. The kids are also always asking him why he does it and sometimes snicker at him(and call hima chicken)...He tells me that he is a weirdo....It breaks my heart.
I haven't had a chance to read all these post, but the ones I did read were exactly like my son...Smart (actually smarter than most 1st graders), articulate (he says words even I can't pronounce..lol) etc etc..
I am presently looking for a psycologist to see if there is something we can do to tone it down....(no meds!!!!)
This is a long post but I hope it's helpful. Do keep in mind that it's all based on my personal experience; I'm not a doctor or expert in this at all.
I'm a 24 year old woman and I've had the hand-flapping habit my entire life. I'm otherwise normal-- I went to an Ivy League college, did very well, and I've just started a PhD in biology at another Ivy League college. I have a normal social life; I've remained very close with several people from high school and college and I tend to make new friends quickly. What I'm trying to say is: don't worry, your kids can live perfectly normal and successful lives. It's definitely a survivable habit. :)
I feel the urge to flap my hands when I'm thinking about something that makes me excited and happy, for example, remembering times that I made my friends laugh. If I'm alone I'll often just allow myself to indulge in the habit because, honestly, it's enjoyable. When I think about something happy I feel this buildup of physical energy (the same as if you were at the starting line of a race), and to release the energy and feel even happier I flap my hands and sometimes jump up and down. It's fun, like skipping or dancing. It's a little outburst of joyful energy. The problem is that unless I actively pay attention, I don't notice that I'm doing it. Not at all. (You'd think you'd notice yourself doing something that ridiculous, but when I'm thinking about something great I can get so engrossed in the thought that I completely don't realize what I'm doing.)
You can definitely learn to control the habit, and if you really wanted to, I believe most affected people could eliminate the urge over time. The problem (for me at least) is that it's fun, so I don't entirely want to stop. But I've learned to cut back on the habit a lot; most of the time when I have the urge to flap my hands I just hold my arms down to my sides and tense the muscles and clench my fists, which is less noticeable to other people. In high school I got rid of the habit for a couple years just by paying attention to myself and telling myself not to do it. Eventually I even stopped having the urge to do it. But when I stopped caring about it in college, the habit did come back. I've noticed that it has flared up a lot recently during my move to a new place for grad school. I think the flare-up is stress related. Now I need to actively focus on controlling it again. If I focus on stopping the habit for long enough (maybe a few weeks or months?), I'm pretty sure it will recede. I think the key is *never* to allow myself to indulge in it; when I allow myself to flap my hands in private while no one is watching, I feel the urge to do it more and more frequently, and before I know it I'm flapping my hands in public. Oops.
I do tell my close friends about the habit, especially if we go on trips together, because if they're with me for long enough the likelihood that they'll see me do it is pretty high. I usually say something like, "Hey, just so you know, I do this weird thing. ...Don't worry, it's not a seizure or anything." They usually answer, "Haha yeah I already noticed it."
Based on my personal experience, I think it would be very helpful for parents to explain to their hand-flapping son (or daughter) that he is not "weird" or "crazy," but that he can and should learn to control the urge. Learning to control it has made my life SO much better. I think the earlier a child starts trying to do so, the better; I think it would be harder to learn as a child got older. Do NOT encourage this behavior by praising it or being amused by it; I think that would make it much harder to stop. When I was little, my parents told me (kindly and gently) that I'd have to learn to stop so that other people wouldn't tease me. That helped me; it made me actively think about stopping, which worked for me once I really committed to it. Fortunately, other kids never made fun of me (within my earshot), but I'm sure they would have as I got older if I hadn't learned to control the habit.
It's really interesting that all of you say your sons have this problem. Before, I had only heard of it/seen it in girls. My next door neighbor was an elementary school English teacher, and she said one year all of the girls in her class started flapping their hands. She called it "flying south." So it seems like the behavior can be "contagious." My sister (who never did it as a child) picked it up from me when she was in her teens and now can't stop either. Two of my closest friends (who are unrelated to me, and both girls) picked it up from me when we went on trips and lived in close quarters together for a few weeks. (I'm pretty sure both of my friends have since stopped.)
I have occasionally wondered whether medications might help me stop this habit, but it's never gotten bad enough for me that I've seriously considered it. I've never even talked to a doctor about my habit. It just hasn't been a big issue in my life. For more serious cases, though, I can imagine that medication might be last-course option worth considering. It really is a difficult behavior to control because you truly do not realize that you're doing it. You have to learn to pay attention, monitor your own thoughts, and stop yourself before you start to flap your hands.
Well, I hope this was helpful. I've never written about this before. Best of luck to all!
i have basically the exact same story as another_one. however, i am a sophomore in high school and mine seems to appear more through creativity. i love art and writing and any way of expressing, and i have to stop whatever i'm doing every few minutes to flap because i get excited. i can control it around other people, like when i'm writing in class.. but i don't feel as creative if i can't.
the first time i distinctly remember realizing what i was doing was one friday in first grade when i was excited about going to spend the weekend with my grandparents. when i was younger it was like i would hold both hands us as if waving, very rapidly. however, now it's just my fingers moving rapidly, as if playing piano.
i've never really sat down and thought about it. i guess i've never really thought of it as weird, or i just thought everyone did it. i'm not sure. but lately i've been paying more attention to it and so i searched it, which is what lead me to the website.
it's interesting to see that it is something that affects some people, but not all. i'm a perfectly healthy, extremely creative, all a's student. and i don't think anyone should worry about their children "flapping." if anything, it seems like everyone who has posted here are intelligent or have very intelligent children. i mean, i've had to stop a few times in this post, because of it. i hardly notice when i do it as others have said. but i involuntarily don't when others are around.. it's a normal way of expression for lots of people. don't worry!
So glad I found this thread. I also have this condition, and everyone who has posted so far has perfectly described my experience. I've always described it as a surge of electricity running through my entire body, but it's happy energy, it's joyful and playful, if a bit explosive, haha. It always builds up whenever I hear a fantastic piece of music, or see a totally awesome action scene in a movie, or anything that's highly stimulating on a sensory level. It just builds up, and you gotta release it somehow! Sometimes it comes out as weird noises, or hopping around on the floor, or jumping up and down, or as hand flapping. Someone earlier said they were trying to embody the essence of their imagination through making sounds and movements - perfect description. It's a rather "ethereal" phenomenon, I've never really understood it, and don't really care to - I think of it as a bunch of creative energy that builds up whenever I experience new things. Playing video games as a kid got me so intensely excited(all the images and music and sound and action!) my parents saw that as the "cause" of it and tried to limit me as much as they could :P I also did well in school, I am highly creative, and have a knack for the arts - language, writing, music, etc.
Which leads me to today. I am 25 now, have had this condition for as far back as I can remember, and I don't see it going away anytime soon. Unfortunately, it's something I've lived in shame of for most of my life. My parents didn't understand it at all, and mainly encouraged me to try to control it. While not outright condemning it, they (probably not intentionally, but indirectly) made me feel a sense of shame connected with it. Which is too bad really, because it's "harmful" only in the sense that people will think you're weird because they don't know what's going on.
Thus, I have a knot in my stomach associated with it, a big knot of fear that's largely a fear of not being understood or of doing something wrong. Growing up - I was always expecting somebody to jump out and tell me to stop doing this or that, because it's just not done. I eventually started applying that principle to everything around me, and from age 20-24 I lived a very unhappy and depressing life. I've taken it upon myself to undo this knot, and to try and live with this condition in acceptance. It's honestly held me back from doing a lot of things I've been meaning to do. I've become quite good at suppressing the symptoms over the years - I also clench my fists and tense my body, among other things to try and release the energy whenever I'm doing something exciting. I've also found a creative outlet for the energy in playing the piano - wild, crazy, random, but beautiful piano playing that is developing into something substantial.
I suppose my point is first to say hi and thanks to everyone who posted here - I don't feel so confused now :D And the second is to say - don't let this thing hold you back from anything, no matter what people say. You can't stop the waves, but you can learn to surf. Accept it as part of yourself, and just go with it. Social expectations be damned! :D Take care everybody!
My son of 21 flaps his hands I have caught him a few times now he is older but he has always done it since he was little.he is a intelligent young man was agrader student at school and top of his uni now.he says it has always helped calm his brain when thinking as he always seems to have mutiple things going on at once , he has always been that way that his brain seems to work overtime.having read various sites it seems people who do this hand flapping thing seem highly intelligent.I have never tried to stop him doing it ,if it works for him then hey. I know he has never done it in public ie at school ,uni or in front of friends he would clench his hands in those situations. So try not to worry its just there way to how they feel
Guess what? Yip I'm unfortunately also one of the many or few ?? Which ever way you choose to look at it.
I'm a 26 year old female and don't flap my hands as such but definitely have a body rocking problem. In my opinion, it's quite serious as I believe it has a lot to do with anxiety, stress and extra energy. I am pretty normal though. Would be considered rather healthy, intelligent - as seems most of us - and have little or no problems with regards to social skills, coping with everyday obstacles and happily, also exhibit higher levels of creativity.
My problem however, is that it gets worse when I'm bored, stressed (as in long-term, on-going issues) and often at night when I need to switch off and go to bed. The rocking almost puts me in a trance which makes it easier to fall asleep or relax.
I really do, however want to get rid of it, as for example, I worry about what it would be like for me, my potential future husband (yes, I do want one) and kids, pets .etc. As much as one can say that it's ok because there's nothing you can do about it, it really is a huge burden for me. Not only because of the social expectations, but because I feel that it puts a big damper on the way I approach life. It's like a comfort which stops me from participating fully in everything. Literally a comfort, which makes me feel as though I can chose this 'easy' option over the next one which happens to be everyday life.
Matrix style: where the red pill is the trance-like escapee version - and that is so often the path which seems easier for me. ODD I know but there you go.
Hand flaping is neurological symtom. However 3 year old boys and girls are still learning the basic things about community. 18 year olds flaping could be a simple neurological disorder. They are not serious if they are flaping when they are alone.
Thank you Robbie, to write it down is very courageous and very helpful. I have been watching and discussing the hand flapping with my 8 year old son and the way I perceive why he does it sounds just like what you are describing. I hope my son grows into the same kind of lovely young man as you come across. Good luck with your studies! Anouk, mother of 8 year old Lior Scotland UK
I 'm so glad that I found this forum. My son 6 yr olds twists his hands and runs , make strange noises when he is excited. He does this since he was a baby. It's a huge problem because in the school, he can not stop it and the schools cannot handle it. He is very smart boy and he can control himself when he wants to but he loves doing it and he could not let it go. I 'm so helpless and depressed because nobody can help us. Do you think sports can help us? We will start Occupational Therapy , we have done sensory integration etc.. If you have any suggestion , I will really appreciate that.
I am so grateful I found this forum! My son is 3 1/2 and has been hopping, arm flapping, grinding his teeth and sometimes humming at the same time for a little over a year. My husband and mother-in-law have assumed that he is autistic and I have been stubborn in fighting them on this topic. My son is NOT autistic and his pediatrician agrees. However, his "condition" (assumably SMD) has been obvious and I have been desperately searching for answers. Pretty much all of the above postings have been identical to my son's situation. Actually. . . now that I am learning about this, I believe that I share the same condition, on maybe a much milder note. Since I can remember, I have had a "habit" of slightly sticking out my tongue, which would "vibrate" on it's own, and rubbing or "caressing" my arm hair with the palm of my hand. Throughout elementary school I curbed the tongue part, and through middle school I was able to stop rubbing my arms in public, although sometimes I do it just a little when I'm nervous or zoning out. And to be honest, I don't WANT to stop! It feels good and must release some sort of dopamine in the brain because it is a soothing and relieving sensation. However my I'm concerned about my son's symptoms impeding with his peers and how they will respond to him when he starts school. Are any of your parents successful in curbing these actions while in public? Are there any exercises to help them control this? I know school can be an exciting and stressful environment and I'm worried that this will make it virtually impossible to curb while he is there. I don't want people to make fun of him and I don't want to medicate him. Should I let him "let it all out" while at home and work on curbing it in public, or should I try to get him to control it all the time? I would love some advice, I have spent a lot of time crying about this and feeling very lost and alone as to what to do. Again, I am happy that I found this forum with other parents or people with similar experiences.
p.s. Thank you to handyRobbie, another_one, mjlovesparker, Just_Like_You and others who are more or less grown-ups who have shared their life experiences with this. It is refreshing and very helpful to know that you are all socially adjusted, intelligent people with bright futures and good friends. I have a kind of weird question though. . . . when my son was a baby, many many people who met him in his first few months commented about how they thought he was an "Indigo Baby", as in a soul who has "been here before". I don't mean to offend anyone on their beliefs, I am just curious if any of you feel the same about yourselves or if anyone has told you similar thoughts?? I'm just wondering if there is some "other" connection here . . .
HEy everyone. Glad I jumped on this. I have had the same thing with me since I was little. I am 21 now. I flap my hands in my face when I get excited about something. Like they said above, it's an explosion of joyous energy. It's just our own way of conveying the energy outwards. I used to have it alot but I have learned to taper off since I was about 17. I now clench my teeth and make a fist. I never have the urge to do it in public. Only when I am alone. I don't think it is Tourette's or anything like that, due to the fact that we can make it go away at will and alot of times it will dissapear for some time when we make it. It has not affected my social life at all. Nobody knows I do it. My mom caught me a few times when I was younger and that encouraged me to try to adjust my brain to expel the joy in other ways.
But overall, there is nothing wrong with doing it. Just let your kids know that they aren't strange or anything like that. It doesn't get worse than it is really.
Thank you all so much for your posts. My daughter is 5 1/2 and her arm flapping has evolved into hand clapping and making a rather loud siren like sound. Hearing from people who have one of these habits is so helpful b/c when I watch her it looks like she is just so overcome with enthusiasm and excitement that she can't hold back. I have always thought that I don't care that she claps, but her teacher recently approached me b/c she gets very loud quite often in class. We are going to have a social worker help us in collaboration with my daughter come up with other things she can do in the classroom rather than clap. So, for those of you that do arm flap, or body rock - have you found other behaviors that are just as satisfying, but less noticeable? Also, I am fine with letting her do this at home, but work on it at school - but does this work - is this a behavior we need to address all the time or just in situations where it is not appropriate?
thank you again for these posts - so helpful
My daughter is 2years old and when she gets excited she sits down with her legs in a bit and flaps her arms against her body (not hard). She has been in physical therapy for low muscle tone because I noticed she was a "clumsy" walker but quickly has learned to balance and walk great! Socially, she loves children, she loves to play with her toys and be imaginative, her verbal communication is amazing and a joy to be around! When she does the flapping, if I call her name she stops and laughs and so I have been playing with her constantly to change this behavior if at all possible! As a parent, I want to do all that I can if I can help this behavior while her brain is still developing. My pediatrician says he sees kids her age flap all the time. For the older kids who have commented on these posts, please know that I am so happy for you and I mean this post in no way to take offense.
Hello. My daughter is now 19 and has done this all of her life and still does, flapping her hand excessively when happy or excited as well as kind of a jaw dropping face. I blamed this on my mother for years as I caught her doing it with her one day long long ago when she used to babysit her. I wondered why my daughter was doing this odd behavior, albeit harmless as it is, and when I saw that, I was so angry with my mother for encouraging her to make a spectacle of herself. (My mother is a life long functioning alcoholic. Please reserve any comments about her babysitting. I grew up with my mother that way and didn't know any different being forced to accept an alcoholic parent in denial, you are told there is no "problem" and everyone else (me) has the problem. This was normal and the way life was to me until I was about 30 yo).
Finding these posts is a bit comforting that my girl is not alone. There has never been a diagnosis for us, but it has also never been brought up because she has had many other medical issues that superseded it. My daughter has cerebral palsy (open lipped unilateral schizencephaly). She's never been tested for any mental disorders either like autism. She is more or less living a normal life, still at home with me, functions daily independently except financially due to her limited physical ability. I wanted to write something here to let others know you are not alone. And to not always listen to Doctors about the "they will grow out of it" notion. The dr's said that about my daughter & her first couple of years in this world until I finally had a cat scan done of my own volition and we discovered her brain anomaly.
This does seem to be harmless behavior. Still a bit bewildering to me. I never ask her about why she does it as it's quite apparent why when it happens only when she is happy or excited. She can still be quite immature, but I blame that entirely on myself having sheltered her a bit more than I thought I was doing. Reading the above story from the guy who is 19 and described why he does this and still does has reassured me that it is just an idiom that some people have and makes them unique.
Please read as it may offer further insights about how retained primitive reflexes affects our behavior as we grow.
My 10 yr old daughter retained all her primitive reflexes, was a breech baby, didn't crawl, was a late walker, has low muscle tone, and continues to flap her hands in excitement to this day. Our chiropractor/applied kinesiologist worked on her reflexes 5 years ago and it did lessen the intensity of the flapping. I am certain that the hand flapping behaviour is related to retained primitive reflexes.
Hello, seems that my son has sterotypical movement disorder too, could you plz tell me what the occupational therapy/sensory integration means?
where do we do that? at a neurologist's?
and how's your son proceeding
Hello dear, i feel for you deeply, my son has the same condition but he's almost 4 now, other children imitate him, i know that at some point he will be teased about it, but what can we do? is there some kind of medication that they should be taking? should we be motivating them verbally to stop it and remind them every time they do that? where can we find a professional who can help with this? is it a psychiatrist? a neurologist?
I really have no clue as to what i'm supposed to do, i feel helpless, and very very frustrated being unable to do anything for my son. There must be something that should be done, but there's no one to guide me.
Could anyone help me out and this poor little 10 year old boy, who should be enjoying his life and thinking about his future instead of thinking about ending his life??
Thank you Robbie!!! This has helped me so much in understanding my husbands behaviours! I always find peoples quicks (I'm an observer), its actually cute because my husband is sometimes keeps thoughts to himself or is thinking over something, but I can visually see when he appreciates it. He does it around me so much (and never around anyone else) that it makes me feel really good that he is comfortable with me - he is comfortable to act naturally around me as most people do when no one is around.
Robbie, I read more on that disorder that you labelled it as. I don't know that that is the right diagnostic.. it wasn't associated with excitement. It was associated with stress or negative feelings and with a disorder. It really is just an outward expression of excitement isn't it?
I am 18 years old and I have flapped for as long as i can remember. My parents never really thought anything of it but would occasionally tell me to stop flapping throughout my childhood. I assumed that I would grow out of flapping at some point and now 18 and at university I almost forget that I ever do it. The one time I can't control it is when i am revising or doing university work on my own. This is now pretty much the only time i do it but i find it very difficult to revise or do work without doing it. In fact i simply don't realise I'm doing it whilst working until I think about someone else seeing me. I found it very interesting to see that other people feel the same and feel as if they cannot be creative without doing it. I feel restricted if i revise or do work whilst trying to not flap as this simply distracts me from my work. My brother does something similar but always had a stick in his hands when he was flapping, now 21 and at university as well he now has to hold a pen whilst revising and still flaps with it. Me and my brother are middle children and our older sister and younger brother do not flap. I honestly have no idea why I have always felt the need to do this and never really considered that so many others would do the same.
I guess not everyone does grow out of it as me and my brother still haven't but really the only 'issue' with it is it is embarrassing if others catch you doing it, as you get older you automatically learn to control it in certain situations and now the only time i really do it is when I'm revising and i don't think any of my friends are aware that i do it at all. So i wouldn't worry about your children even if they don't grow out of it, if anything it would have really benefited me if i had known so many other people did it too. Let your children know that its not 'weird' and maybe then it won't be such a big issue and easier to stop.
Finding this discussion has been a bit of a revelation since I've never seen this behavior outside of my own family. Thank you for everyone who's posting here.
I have engaged in various versions of this behavior since before I can remember. When I was a kid my primary movement was to flap my hands while jumping and making a sort of intense "O" face with my mouth. I did this pretty much every time I got excited or happy. My mind would start racing and I would just get lost in my thoughts and daydreams. Doing this meant I was happy and excited and I really enjoyed doing it. It was a release.
Unfortunately it made me a giant target in school. I was a goofy kid and this behavior didn't help. I was teased relentlessly. This was back in the 80s so schools didn't care about bullying and it just became a living hell. I knew my hand flapping was contributing so when I'd feel the need to do it I'd grab the seat of my desk or one of the metal legs and squeeze it hard, gluing my hand to the spot. This cut down the flapping considerably but it lead to the behavior that I'd have for the rest of my life: I make fists while clenching my jaw and (sometimes) pacing. Sadly I was already the least popular kid in school so being bullied wouldn't go away, it stayed with me 'till the end and my perception of myself was forever altered by it.
All of that sounds terrible but the good news is that as an adult I no longer see these behaviors as a problem, I just didn't know anyone else did them. I'm a filmmaker and TV producer and this hyperactive imagination thing serves me well. If people catch me doing it I explain that I call it "hyper thought" and that it's "just my super charged version of daydreaming." As for being weird, well, it is still weird but I'm an eccentric adult, I sort of revel in my weird little quirks now, and so I don't really care what other people think.
I do want to add a curve ball though. In all the reading I've done on Stereotypic Movement Disorder tonight, I've noticed it is very much associated with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and I do have that. These movements and OCD both run in my family. This may mean that my experience is different from many of you as anxiety is a huge part of my life. I don't know.
Anyway, thank you all for sharing here. Like I said, learning that other people do this too is huge for me. I wish I could go back and tell that little kid that other people do it too. I think I would have liked knowing that.
I am a 20 year old girl. I started making a twisty facial expression while moving my arms when i was 6 months old, for a year my mom thought it was cute. eventually Drs said i would grow out of it when i got to be a teenager or it would get better. Whenever I am excited or most especially if i am daydreaming about an outcome I flap my hands like a bird. My stepdad always would say are you trying to fly away? He was pretty harsh on me. When i was in grade school it was the worst because kids did make fun of me a bit. I got older and I could control the hand flapping a little bit better in highschool but the funny face not as easily. I am now married and out of school but I think it will be something I just have my whole life
I'm 13 and I have been flapping like that since birth. People tell me I should stop doing it because it makes me look autistic but I really cant help it. I only do it when Im excited or hyper. It doesn't really bother me but people often give me weird looks.
Both my children do the same habit of flapping their arms when they are excited. I don't worry because my husband does it, my husband's sister and brother do it, his uncle does it and I think another relative. It's crazy, but it's inherited apparently. Everyone is fine. My husband and his siblings have good careers. I just tell my son to not do it in public because kids will point him out. It only happens when they are excited. And now my infant is already starting with the arm flapping lol. Don't stress!
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