Hand Flapping

by shari
(california)

My son is 38 months old. He has been seen by our Regional Center for autism testing when he was 20 months old. He was given OT and speech therapy (for eye contact only). At the age of three he was dismissed. They said IF he is on the spectrum he is very high functioning.


My problem is that he is a hand flapper. This is the only thing that has ever made me think about autism. He has flapped at ceiling fans since he was 6 month old. He loves wheels and water. He will all of a sudden see any of the above triggers and stop in his tracks, focus in really close and the he almost zones out, starts flapping his hands (rolling at the wrists mostly) staring, grimacing his face, jumps and sighs) this lasts for about 10 seconds then he is off doing something else. He never does it consistently or for long periods. It is especially weird when he will put the toy or whatever on the table so it is at his eye level and then really start to flap.

It almost looks seizure like except that I can stop it at any time by talking to him or touching him. He is in preschool and does great, he is social, affectionate,and engaged. The teachers don't notice anything different about him, he doesn't flap in school except when in the bathroom and the roll of paper towels goes around. It is very odd. No one sees especially concerned but it freaks me out. Does anyone else have anything like this happening???

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Dec 05, 2016
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regarding the comment below
by: Bob

To the poster below talking about his wife's facial expressions - you sound absolutely awful, very immature and I feel sorry for your wife having to put up with you pointing out how 'weird' and 'embarrassing' her facial expressions are. How do you think that makes her feel? I bet there are quite a few things about you that she thinks are embarrassing, how would you like it if she pointed those out to you all the time? You should try being a bit more compassionate and understanding about something your wife can't help doing, no matter how weird it may look to you, you are supposed to love and respect this woman not make her feel bad over things she can't control.

Nov 25, 2016
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hand flapping
by: Anonymous

my son did this when he was really young but grew out of it by 13. my wifes mouth and toungue waggle and open and shut when she does things like tie her shoes or something. its very annoying and embarrassing. she claims she doesnt even know shes doing it therefore denying it.

i watch her do it though and sometimes her whole face and mouth just spazzes out and opens really big. ill say stoo it and she immediately returns to normal like she got caught doing something wrong. weird. i hate it. i think she did too much dope.

Nov 19, 2016
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change through age
by: Anonymous

I've posted several times. My son, now 7, is able to limit his behavior in class and is less distracting in class. Good.

He still flaps at home, which is permitted. We may intervene if it overtakes him (+30 mins of constant flapping (which is rare)).

In sports, he has more focus and quite talented in skiing, soccer, swimming, drums and tae kwon doh. My wife and I thought if he was going to have this behavior his arms would be quite strong. And they are!

Also a concern is if he was older and was driving, he would injury himself or another, but after watching him ski (which requires 100% concentration), he doesn't flap at all. No time for it.

He's still strong in math and art.

Nov 19, 2016
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New Normal
by: Anonymous

My son has dyspraxia with his Sensory Processing Disorder. He had a lot of difficulty with speech and balanced. He also makes sounds when he is flapping his arms and "zoning put" as you called it. It isn't a cough but this just started happening this year. We have speech and OT once a week and have been going to both for 2 years. He now sounds like every other pre-k student in his class. He is super smart and flaps with a speech and balance problem without an autism diagnosis.

My daughter is 7 and has started to modify her arm flapping in school and in public without doing it on purpose. It is a low wrist flap that can be hidden under a table.

I flapped when I was a baby and now clap fast when I am excited. I don't remember modifying it on purpose. John Hopkins is doing a lot of research and work on behavior modification for flappers if you want to learn more about it.

My kids just do it when they are focused and happy, so we have always accepted that that is them and our family has a new normal.

I will think of you and hope you find answers to your new normal!

Nov 18, 2016
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Autism / Aspergers / PDA
by: Ari

Hi Rachel

My daughter is now 4, I posted about her hand-flapping on this board around a year ago & assumed other than being very bright she had no other unusual 'traits'.

Having watched her grow up and become more strong-willed & experience very strong emotions (joyous & quirky one minute, melting-down the next) it felt like a replay of my own childhood (I was a hand-flapper too).

She just seems to react more strongly to everyday stimuli than her peers. She flaps when she's joyous & melts-down when she can't cope with life's demands.

I strongly suspect high-functioning autism (Aspergers) with PDA traits & looking back have realised that I too am probably on the spectrum.

Nov 17, 2016
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Re: Cough
by: Ann

Rachel-you said you treated him with nose spray and then he developed this cough. Is the nose spray an ongoing medication? B/C I would guess the cough would be a result of that??

I have spoken with 2 Moms lately who thought their kids were autistic only to uncover severe allergies-dairy and gluten. Once their diets were changed it was like a fog was lifted. I believe so strongly in diet as the source of our illnesses.

Could you try to give him a really healthy diet for a few days-(organic fruits and vegetables, brown rice etc. No candy, sweets or chips and only water to drink or almond milk) and see if anything changes? I know it is really hard but there are a lot more healthy snack options out there if you are willing to spend the money.

Also the last time my pediatrician tested my daughters urine she found her to be severely dehydrated. She told me the majority of children she sees are severely dehydrated. Juice is not good for children. So now I am constantly telling my daughter to drink water.

Some days she comes home from school in such a bad mood she can hardly talk. I make her sit down and drink 8 ounces of water and she transforms into a sweet little girl.

Rachel-my prayers go out to you and your son. Good luck with everything.

Nov 17, 2016
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Hand flapper to a constant light cough
by: Rachel

My 7 year old son has done the hand flapping and playing with toys super fast in a zoned out way. He would go off on his own and I always noticed so did others close to us.

When I asked his doctors they said it's normal he's playing in and with his imagination. Lately kids have said things to him when they notice and he had a speech problem also the past few years and has came along way with it. He had his tonsils and adenoids removed and then speech teacher and I thought something still wasn't right.

So I had his nose and throat looked at again. The doctors didn't want to do more work I had to push it. Sure enough adenoids can grow back if they are taken out at a young age. His were large and we had them removed again.

He had surgery in June 2016 and started school late August. He is also the youngest in his grade. His birthday is September 1st and that is deadline for school age at 5 for kindergarten. We should have waited but he was ready we thought.

He's smart as a whip with numbers and loves maps and history. Dates. Wants to know things. Some kids push him away because they can't understand him and he will get mad and cry and get anger they then know how to get him anger and bully him. When I see it I say something. My heart hurts for him.

We keep working on his speech but when I had IRP meeting a last month they suggest something for allergies or sinus problems. We suggested together maybe use some sinus relief nose spray. We did and few weeks after he started making this cough like clearing throat sound. When he is asked why he says he doesn't know why. He just does it.

I have seen to notice that he isn't doing his hand flapping as much. Could he have developed a different tix like reactions!?? My husband doesn't want to think he is slightly autism but it seems like it slightly. I wonder also is maybe he has noticed what he is doing and is trying to stop it bc kids say things to him?

Oct 12, 2016
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Same here
by: Anonymous

I have a 3 year old and he flaps his hands and tenses up when excited. He is also a late talker. We are doing speech and he has started to say some words. But it is sure frustrating for not knowing what he wants some times. It's nice to know there are other kids with the same doing. Because we sure got the looks at the park from other moms and one even took her kid and moved it to the other side of the park.

Sep 28, 2016
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Hand Fidgetting
by: Anonymous

I'm 20 years old. My parents tell me that as a child I would constantly flap, fidget, or play with my hands. As I grew older it became less prominent. I still do it often, especially when I'm excited or there is something I like (I never notice my dad points it out). Point it, I've always done this and still do, and I like to think I'm fairly mentally healthy.

Sep 21, 2016
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2 year old hand flapper!
by: Anonymous

So glad to have found this post and read many positive comments. My son is 2 years old and has hand flapped from the age of around 8 months.

He also likes to pace back and forth whilst grimacing and flapping. This usually happens when he is overexcited or when the tv is on. It also happens when he is in a room full of people.

He doesn't have any real words, just babbles and communicates by pulling my arm to show me where he wants to go.

It has been suggested that he may be sensory seeking and we are currently waiting for an assessment.

For those people who have said they have always hand flapped, were you also late speakers?

Aug 25, 2016
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ticking and school.
by: Anonymous

I've posted several times here. To answer Ann, my son did the same thing at school where it was something new or something hard to understand (writing). It disappeared when learning math.

His school tried to diagnose him for taurets in an attempt to get school funding. We denied them that.

He has seen the school psychologist and an occupational therapist. The psycho was an idiot. The ot gave some good outs. Ticks are permittable in the house and car, not in public. If he needs to do it, he should excuse himself and go to the bathroom.


Aug 25, 2016
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Transient Tic
by: Ann

My 6 year old daughter was not born premature. The hand and arm flapping increased so much lately that we brought her to a neurologist. He did a complete examination and found everything neurologically OK. His diagnosis was a "transient tic".

Our family recently moved to a new house and the doctor felt the flapping was being caused by anxiety over the move.

This seems logical to me. The tricky part is that she always did a little bit of flapping but never as pronounced or frequent as now. So more anxiety-more flapping? Yet as I read in my last post-sometimes it is flapping to excitement not nervousness so I'm a little confused.

The doctor told us it should disappear in 3 weeks and if it didn't to come back and see him. It has indeed slowed down a lot after 3 weeks but this past week when we went to visit her new school, she was flapping like crazy. Not sure if I should go back to neurologist or not.

Aug 24, 2016
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Hand flapping
by: Anonymous

Hi, I'm a hand flapper & so is my daughter - neither of us were early x

Aug 23, 2016
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Hand Flapping
by: Anonymous

Hello, I have a 11 year old son who is a hand flapper. It has gotten worse lately and he seems to be fixated on imagining that he is in a war zone. I have a question. Was any of your children premature??

Jul 22, 2016
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Hand flapping
by: Anonymous

Hello, I found your site by searching for "hand rubbing adult involuntary". I read your posts on hand flapping. I am 43 year old male from USA. When I was a child I would hand flap when I was playing with my toys. It was something I did privately because I knew it was not normal and tried to hide it. I stopped hand flapping when I got older (teen years) but flapping turned into hand rubbing. Again, I did this when I was alone. It usually happened when I was excited or day dreaming.

My involuntary hand rubbing stopped a few years ago when I started doing heroin. Yes, that nasty drug heroin. Obviously heroin addiction is a horrible thing but ironically it made my weird, embarrassing hand flapping - hand rubbing stop. I know this probably seems really strange but when I went to rehab and quit heroin I began hand rubbing again. It started after about 3 months of being clean. Unfortunately i started doing dope again but the hand rubbing stopped.

I can't tell you exactly when it stopped. I've never been diagnosed with autism or anything like that. Does any of this make sense to you? Please do not preach about the hazards of drugs. I'm well aware of how bad heroin is for me. It's just really strange that my involuntary ticks have gone away with use of the drug.

Jul 18, 2016
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Excited fingers
by: Mama and Little Miss

My daughter (7 now) has what we call "excited fingers". When something is exciting to her she will open and close her mouth and hold her breath while twiddling her fingers. It happens when she is excited or when she daydreams, especially in the car. I worried for a bit until I realized that I have my own version of excited fingers but I rub my hands together very fast like I'm trying to warm them, I tense up my arms and hold my breath. It happens when I'm happy or excited or anxious for news. I can tell when I'm a little off emotionally (a short depressed spell) because I won't be doing it but if I chose to have excited fingers it actually helps me feel better!

Jul 07, 2016
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Me and my daughter
by: Omar

Hi everyone I am so happy to have found this blog. I have been rubbing, squeezing my hands for as far as I can remember, I am 32 years old, one of my daughters squeezes, waves and flaps her hands as well. I found it so interesting that my daughter has "inherited" this from me. I spoke to her teacher about her she said it's just a phase and it will pass (little does she know that I'm 32 and still do it lol). I try to stop my daughter from squeezing her hands due to the fact that I know when it's going to happen(as I recognise the triggers) but in some occasions me and my daughter squeeze at the same time and I find so funny because I can tell her not to squeeze her hand when I'm doing it at the same time. Like every one our triggers are excitement day dreaming about a successful achievement etc.i just wanted to share my experience. Thanks for reading.

Jul 04, 2016
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Anyone Left Handed?
by: Ann

My 6 year old daughter has been doing the hand flapping on and off for years. Usually it is only when she is excited. She jumps up and down and at the same time flaps or flails her arms. My husband and I used to think it was b/c we had her in that crazy jumperoo all the time when she was a baby and she used to jump like mad and love it. But now I'm getting worried about her. Reading this blog about the daydreaming diagnoses was interesting but I don't understand how that applies to my daughter who seems to flap only when excited.

For example tonight at the July 4th firework display she jumped and flapped throughout the whole firework show. It doesn't look exactly abnormal but rather like a young childs excitement. My girlfriend did make a comment about it though but I think I notice it more than anyone.


My daughter, despite being one of the youngest in her class (late Oct birthday) is still one of the top students and the best reader in the class. And similar to the other posts, she is very friendly, affectionate, engaging, social etc. I'm writing to ask if any of the other flappers are left handed? My daughter is and neither my husband or I are. I'm wondering if there is a left handed connection? Thanks for all the great posts. It is very encouraging to read them.

Jun 30, 2016
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Vaccine connection?
by: Anonymous

I know this is a touchy subject but just wondering if all the vaccines now-a days can be causing such a thing a hand flapping. I have 4 sons and the oldest who is 14 has done it since I can remember. All my children have been vaccinated. Once I started seeing bad reactions the day of and/or after the vaccines were given to them, I now refuse any more. Could it be the heavy metals? God Bless, Monica

Jun 07, 2016
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Flapping
by: Don

Thanks to everyone who shared the experiences. This has helped me w/ my 5 year old daughter who has had me worried. This has helped ease my thoughts & worries.

May 17, 2016
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33 year old flapper
by: Jack

Hi, This page is awesome! I have flapped for as long as I can remember. When I was younger I would also jump with my mouth open while doing it, but if anyone got my attention I would immediately stop. I have learned to tone it down, either by rubbing my hands or shaking them as if I have writers cramp, but sometimes, when I know I am alone at home, I can revert back to full flapping.

It always happens when I am excited about something going on in my brain (usually involving me succeeding in something or other positive daydreams). My parents hated me doing it, and used to try to make me do it on command so that I could see how weird it looked, but I can't. I can stop on command, or avoid the full blown action, but I can't make it happen.

I'm glad to know I'm not the only non autistic person who does this. All I can say is, if your child does this, let them. They will get whatever they need out of their system, and be more relaxed if you let it follow its course. If its a public thing, suggest that they rub their hands together or put them in their pockets so that they can release that energy in a more publicly "acceptable" manner. Don't stop them from doing it, they will just learn to hide it from everyone and get more stressed because they don't have an outlet for it. This is only from my own experience however, but it's a behavior that hurts no one and relaxes me at least, so I think it is just the way that my body regulates stress or excitement.

May 02, 2016
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My almost 4 year old
by: Anonymous

Hi, l'm looking for some advice about my son flapping his hands. I am amazed by the amount of people who experience the same. My son started doing it when he was about 8 months. It got worse when he started alternating weekends and some weekdays between dad's home and my home. I thought it might have to do related to anxiety. I notice he does it when he is excited about something, when he needs to pee pee or randomly he start flipping his hands, biting his tongue, and looks at a fixed point. He does very well in school, he's bilingual a very smart and warmhearted boy.

I'm trying to understand this about him, I doubt that he has autism or any developmental disorder.
But would it go away? And can someone help me understand what does he feel when he does this?

Thank you for your support

Apr 20, 2016
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Confusion
by: Anonymous

I'm 16 years old, and for my entire life I've done this weird flapping thing. I've always been very creative and artistic, so one of my favourite things to do was (and still is) think up my own animations. It could be as small as imagining a dragon flying, or a wolf running, to something complicated like a a scene involving fights or IRL sequences. Whenever I imagined these, I'd flap my hands and twitch weirdly, usually my shoulders and neck. I'm never aware of my my face is doing, I think I shut my eyes sometimes? But I wave my arms all over the place. I have been harassed for it and I'm extremely embarrassed about it. I learned years ago not to do it in public. To this day it still confuses me, I'd really like to find the reasoning behind it?

Apr 14, 2016
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My theory on flapping
by: Anonymous

I’m 33 and also a flapper, even though I'm usually able to keep it toned down to rubbing my fingers or snapping them. I once asked my mom, who has a degree in child psychology, if it ever occurred to her that I might be autistic, and she said that was ridiculous. I was also in gifted classes growing up, and was particularly good at languages and math. I flap when I'm excited, but tend to generally have no idea WHY I'm excited. I’ll sometimes get little spurts of energy out of nowhere, or will replay conversations over and over in my mind, especially when someone said something that was nice to hear, or when I feel that I’ve won an argument. I definitely don't have Asperger’s, however - I’m extremely good at reading people. Unlike others mentioned in this post, I'm not creative at all. I also tended to do poorly in classes that required the memorization of facts.

It wasn’t until high school that I learned that I'm a highly kinesthetic learner. I can't absorb information unless I am doing something with it or am moving around. I think that flapping simply helps me process

Apr 02, 2016
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flapping question
by: lucy fuller

Ok so I'm a 15 year old hand flapper who is mildly autistic, but I have a question for any fellow hand flappers, does anyone feel depressed when suppressing this excitement? Any answers will be accepted with a open mind.😊

Mar 20, 2016
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My son is a flapper
by: Anonymous

Wow, I'm glad I stumbled upon this. My son now 81/2 has been flapping since I can remember and like most posts I've read its when he is excited and/or imagining things. My husband and I have been through the testing for him to see if he is autistic and he is not the doctors tell me it is normal. Yet he is the only child among his peers that I have seen do this. It was nice to see that there are others out there who do this and live productive lives. He to does well in math and reading and has an amazing imagination the stories he has told me are quite wonderful. I have asked him if there was a way he could stop flapping would he do it and he always tells me no. I will admit I don't understand and at times wished he would stop mainly because of what people will think or make fun of him and sometimes it can be stressful and overwhelming for me. But if stopping made him less of who he is I wouldn't want that.

Feb 19, 2016
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A flapper at 17
by: Anonymous

I have always done this, im 17 almost 18 and have managed to controll it a little in public so it just looks like figiting but when im imagining things and everytime i listen to music i flap my arms and legs. No one ever really looked into it as im generally a very normal person otherwise whose going to become a medical student next year. I falp all over though so it almost looks like a fit, my parents always thought it was cute but at school when i was younger i was really embarrassed. Does anyone know why we do this?

Feb 19, 2016
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Young adult, rubs fingers and always has
by: Anonymous

I am a 17 year old female who just realized that maybe theres a name for what I have done my whole life. I remember as a child I would flap my arms and hands and it got to the point that my dad would yell at me and threaten me (nothing bad.) After I would get scolded, I would stop and just do it in private. But if I ever did it around my dad, he would get very upset. I know i've done this my whole life, I just never thought that maybe theres a reason. It used to be flapping of my arms and hands, then I dont know what, and for the past few years its me rubbing my fingers together. I just watched a funny video on facebook and realized I just move my fingers around now, but I also rub my fingers. I think. The funny thing is, when i'm doing it, I dont know that I am. I basically hold my breath, focus/lose focus, and move my fingers around. I noticed in class one day that my friend does it as well. I can tell she loses focus and she puts her hands at her sides and moves her fingers quickly. She also tenses up and looks dazed. Its brief but I notice it because I know what shes doing. I imagine I do this too. I dont know what to think, since I see people talking about aspergers and adhd and what not. I have often wondered if I may be either of these things since I lose focus easily and can't sit for long. But I find myself normal in social situations, I fit in with normal people, and I dont have most problems associated with autism or adhd, so I am unsure. I just want to know if there is a name for what I do and have always done. I am glad to see i'm not the only one who does this as a young adult going to adulthood.

Feb 05, 2016
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9 year old
by: Anonymous

This truly made me feel a lot better. My 9 year old is very noisy and a hand flapper. He also is very smart in math and loves to read. He had a lot of friends affectionate and caring of others. Another thing I find odd is his s name of tast and smell. If he can smell a food and doesn't like the smell he won't eat it. Needless to say he doesn't like many foods. We keep trying to get him to try things but it just hasn't caught on.

He is the youngest of 3 and his sisters are a lot older than him. Lastly he is very uncoordinated, taller then the other kids and men's size feet. Just one big kid. Love him dearly and he is the first boy and quite quirky. Glad to hear the flapping is normal. What about the other stuff. Teachers all say he is great. I often associated with his food allergies with his behavior. In at be crazy but I think it's related. His sisters tell me they junk he is autistic. Maybe he is somewhat but I will accept that because he is normal except the sports issue. Would much rather read or sit and watch a movie with mom.

Would love feedback.

Jan 28, 2016
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My grandson is a flapper
by: Anonymous

I am glad I found this post. My grandson who is 5 is a hand flapper and one of my concern of course was autism... Not that that would be a bad thing and could still be a possibility but my main concern for him how is how society treats people who act differently at times. He is such a sweet and very sensitive little boy and I know his heart would break as will mine if he starts to get teased because of it. Kids and adults for that matter can be so mean and he will be starting school soon

Jan 25, 2016
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Flapping experience with my son
by: Cassie

I have an 8 year old son who has been flapping his hands since, gosh, he was about 3 months old. It was always when he was excited about something. We ignored it for many years thinking he would eventually grow out of it. When he started school, his teacher suggested he see a paediatrician as over the years she had seen many autistic children who flapped the same as he did. Once assessed by a paediatrician, it was decided he was not autistic. We had a few sessions with an OT but it didn't do anything. Paediatrician suggested a psychologist. Psychologists said there was nothing wrong with him. So now, I just let him do it. Now that he is older he only seems to do it when he is playing his iPad or gets really excited about something. I have spoken to him about getting teased at school, and he assures me no one teases him about it. I guess the other kids are used to it, or my son just hides it better. My son has lots of friends, is in the middle of his class with reading, writing & maths and is VERY advanced with visual arts. It seems a lot of flappers are creative.

The reason I have posted this is to give hope to other parents. Just because your child flaps, does NOT mean they are autistic. In my situation, it seems to be a habit that just hasn't gone away.

Jan 16, 2016
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Tom's absolutely right ...
by: Anonymous

Hi Shari
My 3 year old daughter could be your son's twin! She rolls her hands at the wrists and grimaces too, according to playgroup she is high functioning but very perceptive and sociable (They say she cheers everybody up!). We're all different and I'll bet your son will excel in everything he loves to do as he gets older ... the most important thing you can do is make sure he never feels ashamed about his hand flapping because he needs to do it and in time will learn to control it himself (I myself was a flapper too!)

Jan 15, 2016
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flapping 38 month old
by: Tom

Shari,

Please read the older posts. They will tell you all you need to know.

Your son is far from alone in this. Its a part of him and always will be. Best of all he'll learn to manage it and have a wonderful, creative, and energetic life! Lots of friends too!

I've had a wonderful 65 years, great career, and 4 non-flapping kids even though I still flap a little.

So calm down and enjoy his precious younger years.

Take Care,
Tom


Jan 15, 2016
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20 years old - USA
by: Las Vegas

I flap when I get imaginative. I have been doing this for years, but mostly in private at home. I get a real intense head rush that causes me to flap. I've gotten reports from my mother and father of when they heard me flap, but I have no memory of it. I usually visualize a scenario of something happening and replicate voices that match whatever that scenario is about. I also feel an adrenaline rush when I hand flap.

Jan 14, 2016
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famously flappy
by: Anonymous

Good to embrace it! If you read the posts you will find your imagination surpasses everyone else's. Truly a gift 😊

Jan 14, 2016
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To FamouslyFlapping
by: Anonymous

Dear FamouslyFlapping,

Its great to hear you are accepting that you are who you are. These are the kinds of things that makes us all a unique and thereby make the world a beautiful and interesting place.

Where did it come from? Probably from somebody back in your family history was a flapper. But in the olden days everyone hid it and never talked about it. So odds are very good you will never find out who.

As you get a little older the urge to flap will die down some. But it will never go away. You will also learn when it is OK to flap. Again it makes you who are and that's wonderful.

We hand flappers tend to high energy, imaginative, and in general very creative. So have at it. Dream your dreams and go after them.

I wish the best of luck with the rest of your life.

Tom


Jan 13, 2016
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What?! Me too!
by: FamouslyFlapping

I do the same thing! I'm a 13 year old non-autistic girl who STILLS flaps! I would never change that though. I feel like its apart of me! Flapping is how I get relief from overwhelming excitement or other strong emotions. In fact, I'm doing it now!I am afraid to do it in public, as it looks really strange. I usually do it when I'm at home or alone? I can't explain why I do it at all? Noboby else in my family does it either! Why do you think I do this?

Dec 28, 2015
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5 year old jumper, flapper, silent screamer
by: Anonymous

i have been searching for others experiencing similar "symptoms" to what is going on with our 6 year old. He has always been a tip toe jumper, which wasn't unusual as his older sister who is now 10 walked on tip toes for the first 5 or 6 years of her life, but didn't jump, she has no diagnosis and no issues. So he was a tip toe jumper, no big deal. About a year ago, at age 5, started to do the "tense up" thing and open his mouth as wide as possible as though screaming, but with no sound. He will lock his arms, clench fists or grab his crotch and do the face thing. Now he is jumping, face thing, and instead of stiff arms will bend at elbows and flap. We are beyond confused about is going on with him. He is bright, no problems with empathy or eye contact, he is affectionate, likes to play with other children, knows his "sight" words and can write his name. He just does this strange thing which looks very disturbing. His Dr. is puzzled.

Dec 14, 2015
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My daughter is a flapper
by: Amber Davila

My daughter started flapping at 6 months of age and was been flapping since. She is now 4,she seen multiply doctors and a neurologist he was the only one that help me with a diagnosis with was asd level 1 which is high funtioning autism she is my lil miracle. Feels good to know my lil one is not alone an I thank everyone for sharing there comments as well.

Dec 12, 2015
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23 yr old UK
by: Anonymous

I am so glad I found this..I honestly thought for years I was the only one in the whole world that did this. I have flapped my hands since I can remember. My mum used to get very frustrated with me and told me to sit on my hands, as did my teachers. One time in class when I was about 4-5 years old, my teacher was reading a story. I was imagining every detail of the scenario she was reading, in my head. So of course, my hands started to flap as I imagined. I didn't notice but the teacher was looking at me and thought i was 'disrupting the class' so she forced everyone to look at me and told all the other children to copy what I was doing to embarrass me and stop me doing it. From that day I felt awkward and out of place. This hand flapping tends to happen when I listen to music. But if there is a lot going on in my head or I am planning what I am going to do in my head, I will pace and do it at the same time. It can be very distracting. Time is wasted imagining while I could be actually doing things!
I have a 2.1 degree and a lot of that was using my imagination which is particularly vivid having this..disorder? So in a way it is part of me and will always be a part of me and I am not ashamed of that.

My parents are not aware that I still do this, because I have learned to hide it well. I have told them that I USED to. I'm not sure whether I need to see a doctor about it? If someone could give me advice I would be very grateful. To try and stop myself I rub my fingers and hands together as I've read a lot of people trying to cope have done. It's nice to see I'm not the only one in the world, I just wish I knew what to do about it! I always thought it was because I am left handed and odd..haha.

Thanks for reading this..hopefully more people will become aware and not feel like they're alone anymore


Dec 03, 2015
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Maybe we flappers are 'special'?
by: EpicElf

I was a 'flapper' as a child, I'm now 40 & have learnt to hide it quite well but was a little stigmatised for it in my early years- my youngest daughter (age 3) is doing the exact same thing and I see so much of myself in her - she is gifted with high functioning language skills (apparently)& I was very successful academically too.

From reading the other posts here, we all seem to have special little gifts that go along with our quirky natures! I am fiercely protective of her right to be who she is, so far it's going well but if she starts getting singled out at school I will move her or home-educate - childhood is so precious.

Dec 02, 2015
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53 and a flapper !
by: Anonymous

I am a 53 YO female who flaps. As a child I would twirl my barbie dolls and jump in a circle while doing it. My friends would die out laughing and so would I. I would get a dishcloth and "flap" it in front of me for about a minute sometimes jumping while I flapped. I loved to twirl a tassle while jumping around as well. I needed something to hold while I flapped around. As a adult I still do this ( at least I get some exercise while doing this LOL ) but do it in private. At work I noticed I started flapping my hands but would say things like "My hands are numb and I need to get feeling back in them". Or, " My hands are cold and I need to warm them up". I have absolutely no idea why I do this. I cannot relate it to anything good or bad. My brother used to rip paper and make small flags and twirl them in his fingers. You would find hundreds of these things all over the house and it drove us crazy. I thought that was weird but not what I did was weird ha ha.

Dec 01, 2015
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And yet another adult hand flapper
by: Anonymous

I was so thankful to read these posts. The one from the 29th of October matches my own experience to a T, (I'm a 60 year old woman). Even her replacing the flapping with hand rubbing matches my own coping mechanism to hide this habit. Unfortunately, the shame and self-consciousness I felt about this, along with my suspected ADD, has had an effect on my adult life, I think. At least kids today can find more help and understanding in today's world.

Nov 09, 2015
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re: 23 yr old hand flapper
by: Anonymous

It was great to read the comments on this page. I'm almost 50 yrs old and the Anonymous post by "23 yr old hand flapper" (Aug 2015) describes my behaviour and triggers for it exactly.

Flapping hasn't had a negative impact on my life in any way. I did well in school, have a good career, social life, and family.

Nov 05, 2015
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Hand flapping 2 1/2 year old
by: Anonymous

My son is two years old and he flaps his hands when he is watching tv or even when he is excited. I actually go him tested for autism a year ago because it took him a while to talk and got him a speech therapist. All of the sudden he just started talking away.The therapist said every time he flaps to have him clap instead. So i have been working with him to clap instead of flapping. I honestly through he was gonna out grow this and it hurts my heart to think that he's not. Hopefully he dose but from reading the comments it seems like they don't. I don't care what ppl think i just don't want other kids to tease him.So parents have them replace the flapping with clapping.

Oct 29, 2015
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From Another Adult
by: Anonymous

This has been SO eye opening to me to read these posts! I am a 49 year old, successful, happily married mother of three who has done some form of hand flapping for as long as I can remember. This is the first time I have ever come across other adults describing experiences just like my own.

I can remember as a child flapping my hands or rapidly slapping my legs when I was excited. Apparently I also tended to grimace and stare blankly while doing this. Friends sometimes commented, but never made a big deal about it. The first time I realized that it wasn't "normal" was when my mother asked my pediatrician about it at an appointment. I distinctly remember them talking about the possibility of a seizure disorder. From then on, I became quite adept at hiding my flapping. It became a source of embarrassment and shame that I had to hide at all costs. I would hide behind doors, or in the bathroom. I would minimize the flapping and disguise it as something more acceptable, such as tapping a pencil.

As an adult, I still do this because it simply isn't possible for me to stop. I am, however, even more guarded and subtle. Instead of flapping I usually rub my hands together vigorously, as if warming them. It is not just a habit, it is a need, a compulsion, an energy release, and as others stated, it simply feels good. It helps me deal with excitement, with pride, and with anticipation. It helps me works through creative dilemmas. I made it through college, grad school, and a successful career with no one knowing about it. I once briefly mentioned it to my husband and explained that sometimes when I am thinking I still rub or wring my hands, but even he has rarely seen it. My kids just think I have cold hands a lot!

I may be more introverted than most and more easily distracted than some, but I would not have been diagnosed with any of the spectrum disorders discussed here. I am sharing my story because I have found it helpful to read stories that others have posted. I am not an expert, but I would encourage parents to guide their children toward forms of sensory stimulation (such as hand rubbing instead of flapping or using fidget toys) that are more socially acceptable, but to avoid reprimanding their children if they exhibit this behavior. I know that my shame and embarrasment did me no good. It is a part of how my mind and body need to process thoughts and emotions and I cannot change that.


Oct 23, 2015
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Happy Flappers
by: Anonymous

My daughter and son are happy healthy flappers too!

Oct 23, 2015
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My son loves to hand Flap
by: Justin

My youngest son hand flaps like a champ. I wouldn't have it any other way. He is 4 now and if I can remember correctly he has being doing it as a infant. At first didn't think nothing of it, that it was just something he did when he was happy. As time went on it happened more and more, his mouth would be open and it almost seemed like he was holding his breath. It wasn't until my sister, who thinks she knows everything, said he is showing signs of autism. This got my wheels turning in my head, we ended up having him tested and the results were he wasn't. He is just a hand flapper. When he does it it's because he is excited or bored...he'll do it in the other room all by himself, even tells me that he is going to do. I have asked him what are you doing, he responds with "I am' then shows me his hand flapping. I have asked him if it makes him happy and yes is the answer. He is very smart, his social skills are on point he just enjoys a good flapping. I am sure over time he'll learn to control it.

My biggest issue is other people...he'll do it in public...I'll do it with him but you can see people looking and their minds working. My son awesome and if you have a hand flapper relax let it be, its normal to him so let it be normal to you!

Oct 07, 2015
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Adult hand flapper
by: Luna Stark

I must admit that I'm a hand flapper myself. I was diagnosed with ADHD five years ago when I was 20 and told I was possibly on the autism spectrum, though I'd be high functioning if I was.

I have problems with acknowledging/speaking about how I feel, and making eye contact with anybody feels awfully intimidating. I'm an awkward duck when in face-to-face social situations; typing and social networking is the best way for me to communicate everything without choking up.

Then there's the hand flapping. My mom calls it "flailing", which she says reminds her of the robot in Lost in Space when he says "Danger, Will Robinson" and flails about. But I tend to do this when I've sat still for too long, I'm over-stimulated (like being in a crowd of noisy people), or something that excites me.

Nobody ever made fun of me in school for it. They all just saw it as one of my quirks and they never questioned it.

Sep 14, 2015
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Oh By the way.....
by: Tom

Just in case your curious.........

Everyone in this blog does, or has someone they love that flaps hands. I am no exception. I too flapped hands. At this point in life, aged 65, I can now say with certainty that just because someone flaps hands does NOT mean that all their offspring will have the problem. I have 4 wonderful children who do not flap hands. So its a hit and miss kind of thing. If it is passed on to an offspring just remember its a blessing not a curse.

Take Care,
Tom

Sep 13, 2015
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6 yearl old and 3 year old sons both flap
by: Anonymous

I'm amazed at all of your posts. I have never posted on any health site, but felt I had to chime in. I have 3 boys and my youngest two both flap, but my 6 year-old does it more often. We have never been given a good diagnosis from multiple peditricians. We have been told he would grow out of it and more lately that he was probably on the spectrum-- he also was diagnosed with ADHD. He is bright, energetic and athletic but he really stuggles with attention and he literally climbs the walls at our house and can be found jumping, flapping or standing on his head at any given time. Specifically he brings his arms back and straigt and rolls his wrist while contorting his face and making quiet noises. he will bend down to get closer to any item on table. Triggers are watching sports or anything exciting on TV, drawing or writing, and really just anything he focuses on that is intersting to him. He will go in intervals and can go on for a long time. He often jumps around in between. AFter reading posts, I"m thinking Primary Motor Stereotypies but am still a little concerned about all the other ADHD issues. Currently we aren't using any meds and hope not to. Wondering if we should really seek behavioral therapy?

Sep 01, 2015
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my son too
by: Anonymous

It is so funny that I just happened upon this link researching for something for work. My 14 year old son was a hand flapper when he was younger. He too would do this when he was excited about something. He would jump up and down and flap his hands when he would see like an airplane or when he was watching a TV show, ball game or video game that excited him. As he got older he would maybe just roll his wrists (again, probably trying to control it) and now he just tenses up his shoulders and his eyes still get really big, because he is excited. I always enjoyed watching how excited he would get about things and never saw it as a bad thing, although my neighbor across the street would laugh at him i what I always felt was a judgmental way. Maybe he has gotten negative feedback about it over the years so he has learned to stifle it, but I never was worried about it. He has always been very friendly, social, compassionate, athletic, creative, and smart. No worries from this mom.

Aug 27, 2015
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Hand flapping and twitching in sleep
by: Anonymous

My 4 year old does the same thing. Only when excited or bored. I had him tested and same results not autism and I was told he would out grow it. He also does hand twitching when he sleeps, all the time every time. I was worried and I got a referral to a neurologist by now I feel better knowing others share the same behaviors.

Aug 19, 2015
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change in behaviour at 6
by: philip

So my guy is flapper. I Posted earlier in thecomments.

He has developed his own technique to regain focus. He flips just his hands over once.

This is less obvious than the flapping.

We asked him who taught him. He said himself 😊

I don't want my kid to be teased but I think thus gift is very artistic in nature and to inhibit it would be a crime.

If he sells murals for lots of money and I successful, then he can flap his hands all the way to the bank 😊

Aug 19, 2015
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I have a very different view
by: AM77

My son is also a hand flapper. It is NO big deal. Society make a big deal of it. My son is very bright, very social, very confident .. NORMAL (other than the apparent abnormal hand flapping). Why does society insist on labeling with a variety of acronyms?

I have read countless comments from countless websites. Does nobody share the view that this behaviour is on the NORMAL spectrum!

Listen to your children not the apparent 'experts' who diagnose then (un)diagnose! This ends up giving your children unnecessary complexes and will affect their confidence.

I have read up a lot because my only concern is that the school labels him, singles him out and obtains funding for his imaginary disorder.
Many adults have twitches, foibles, etc., and they function perfectly well in society. They are NORMAL people!

Aug 19, 2015
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Flapping explained!!!
by: Jill

I am so so very glad to have discovered this page and the comments. My 2 year old is bright, the pediatrician said she answered questions in a way that a usual 2 year old would not, so we know she does not have a developmental delay but since 6 months old or so she has had this thing that concerned me. It is now a more complex movement, she just turned 3. When tired or excited she gets a wide mouth, contorted fingers and the flapping of arms. Reading this I now understand it a little more.

Aug 17, 2015
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MY 6 YR OLD HAND FLAPPER
by: LIZ F

I HAVE TRIED SO MANY THINGS WHEN IT COMES TO MY SONS HAND FLAPPING. THE DOC AND I DECIDED TO PUT HIM IN OT,PT AND ST,,,,I REALLY HAVE NOT SEEN A IMPROVEMENT ACTUALLY THESE PAST FEW WEEKS ITS BECOME WORSE. TODAY IS A EMOTIONAL DAY FOR ME. HE STATED 1ST GRADE AND HIS FIRST YEAR IN PUBLIC SCHOOL AND I AM SO SCARED OF KIDS MAKING FUN OF HIM AND MAKING FEEL EMBARRASSED I TRIED TO TALK TO TEACHER AND EXPLAIN TO HER WHAT MAKES IT WORSE , SHE SAID SHE UNDERSTOOD I PRAY SHE DOES. I WORRY ABOUT MY SWEET BOY. I JUST FOUND THIS SITE BY ACCIDENT BUT READING ALL THESE STORIES MAKES ME FEEL BETTER KNOWING ITS NOT JUST MY SON.

Aug 14, 2015
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hand flapping
by: Anonymous

Oh my that's just like my son only he only does it when he's nothing to do or he's not engaged with anything. It's seriously stressing me out and we are being referred by a doctor. What is it??

Aug 06, 2015
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23 year old hand flapper
by: Anonymous

hi all!

I am a 23 year old "hand flapper" and have been doing it for as long as I can remember, and ever since I was a small child according to my parents and siblings. Much like many of the other posters on this forum, I tend to flap when I am overly excited, but I never flap in public.

In my early teen years when it was still a very strong urge, it would take conscious effort to not do it public but I managed to not let anyone know, even my best friends and other family members that I didn't see very often. As I aged, it became a habit to just not do it in public and I replaced the urge to something more acceptable, such as shaking my hands slightly as if they were wet, or rubbing my palms as if I am cold. Both gestures don't draw much attention at all and I can live with that, but no replacement gesture can replace the feeling that the flapping provides; I don't know why and can't really explain it. As one other poster said, it's almost euphoric. The only time I will actually flap is when I am playing a video game that I am enjoying, listening to a song that I enjoy a lot, or am watching an exciting or dramatic movie/tv scene, and I will still only do that when I know(or think) that I am completely alone, because I am fully aware that the flapping is a very odd thing and not quite normal, so I am embarrassed by it to an extent.

As for what happens when I flap, I am generally thinking of very detailed scenarios in which I am usually a direct part of. For instance, because I am musical(I play the saxophone and was very good at it in high school), when I am listening to a rock song that I particularly enjoy, and the guitar solo comes in, I will begin flapping and envision that I am the one playing the guitar solo, for a massive crowd and everyone cheering for me. To me, that is a dream-come-true scenario that I don't feel I will ever get to experience, so it brings me a lot of joy to be able to experience those scenarios in my head.

Up until yesterday my immediate family(my mother, father, brother, and sister) were the only ones that had knew I had this habit and always teased me about it but never told anyone because they knew I was embarrassed by it and tried very hard to keep it up control in public, but I currently live with my girlfriend of over 2 years and I think she now knows about it. I was playing a video game in my guest room of our apartment. When she is home, I do not flap unless I know she is in a different room; well, I began flapping and then a minute or two later I heard her say something - she was sitting behind me at her computer desk. I have no idea how long she had been there, but she likely saw it and just didn't mention anything. I didn't mention anything about it either and continued talking to her as if it didn't happen. However, I have decided that I will let her know of my habit. She will be the first person outside of my family and my doctor to know about it in all of my 23 years of hiding it.

Again, along the same lines of the other flappers on this thread, I feel I am quite successful for being only 23. I have always been fairly bright and am able to envision future scenarios and consequences very well. I do not hold any technical degrees of any kind, but I work as a lead configuration position for a local software company. I speak with clients in other states on a daily basis and handle it very well. I was moved to my lead position because my team lead notice how well I handle people.

So if you're ever worried about your child being socially inept, I wouldn't. It seems fairly uncommon for people that flap to be socially awkward, going by these posts. Anyway, sorry for the long ramble, but it feels great to know I'm not alone in this and wanted to give my two cents. Thanks!!

Aug 03, 2015
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Me too!
by: Anonymous

This is the first time I have ever posted on a blog, but felt so overwhelmed to read people's comments (and that I am not alone!) I wanted to share my story.

I have "flapped" since I was a child, but as I got older gained more control in public. As a child it was a combination of tip toes, mouth open, and hands wildly flapping all at once! As I got older it is much easier to manage, and I mostly rub hands together now when I get the urge. However if in a safe environment, such as if I know I am at home alone, will certainly let myself go into a full "flap". Like people have said, it is somewhat euphoric, a form of deep daydreaming, problem solving, or excitement, and can feel great! Can be easily managed in later years, and will usually just go to the bathroom or another room in the house.

I have been very successful in life, both socially and professionally. I have a degree in architecture, and have had a successful career in the industry. I was a high achiever at school, over a range of subjects particularly maths science and arts; and have been popular socially throughout school and into my adult years. Fit and healthy, physically and mentally in everyday - it's is just a special thing that makes me me!

Thank you all for sharing!

Jul 29, 2015
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Daydreaming & Creativity
by: Tom

Hi,

Being a 65 year old hand flapper I can make this statement;

"I daydreamed as a youth and even do some to this day. I had a great work career since by my "daydreaming" I could literally envision solutions to problems. This ability made invaluable on jobs."

And yes at that point I had the hand flapping well under control.

I see my daydreaming as a blessing not a curse.

Tom

Jul 29, 2015
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Hand Flapping
by: Michelle H.

My granddaughter, who is now 3 1/2 has been hand flapping since she was about 9-12 mos. I never thought anything of it until I was in the nursery with her at church and a friend of mine questioned me about it. Needless to say that started me worrying because she said that was a sign of Autism. My granddaughter is very smart and intelligent...loves to be read too, loves to pretend and act out things, very imaginative..great at drawing. I get nervous when she is out in public and starts this. I feel so guilty for feeling that way because we love her regardless and it doesn't matter what people think. My son's GF tells others she may have Autism...it's like she already has her diagnosed and they look at her like she's weird. She has a son the same age and he is not nearly advanced as our granddaughter. Glad to know there are others out there that have dealt with it too. Praying for everyone.

Jul 25, 2015
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Maladaptive Daydreaming
by: Anonymous

I'm so glad I found this forum because I have always been confused about this behavior. I'm 17 and have been flapping since I was a baby. I would stretch my arms to my sides and flap/wiggle my hands while opening my mouth really wide, occasionally making a short, high pitched noise. It happened when I was excited, daydreaming or concentrating hard on a thought/concept. I would space out, sway side to side and stare at a blank wall or object and become unaware of my surroundings while seeing a highly realistic alternate reality. It's time would vary from seconds to minutes in intervals. My family made fun of me for it and gradually I was able to do it only in enclosed private spaces (bathrooms, alone in a room with the door shut).

It's often triggered by music/songs that I really like, a great/interesting movie, and exciting events involving celebrities or ideal hypothetical situations. While I flap I have extremely vivid daydreams, often with characters of my own creation or imaginary circumstances involving myself and people I know or famous people. I see scenes as if I am watching a movie, and have created complex characters, detailed settings and scenes that I tend to revisit and repeat when I flap. The subject matter can shift from frightening/disturbing to fun and enjoyable based on my mood and the vibe of the media. I am very interested in all art forms and found it has helped my creativity, especially with writing and visual arts. However, I do sometimes have trouble focusing on things and can avoid real life and real problems by retreating into this fantasy world. It is usually relaxing and enjoyable for me, but my fear of others walking in on me can make it stressful. I was worried I might have undiagnosed autism or Asperger's, but looking up the phenomenon called Maladaptive Dreaming has been extremely helpful and I took a quiz claiming that I probably have it. Research is still being done but so far it seems to be the most likely explanation. Thanks to everyone who has contributed their stories here, and I'm glad I'm not the only one!

Jun 17, 2015
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Children's Book about Flapping
by: Happy Mom

My daughter flaps her arms when she is really happy or excited! She too has no other challenges, but often worried about what other kids would think about her flapping. I bought her the book, What Makes Me Special!, that is also about a little girl who flaps. The author actually posted on this blog. The book's moral is what makes a person different, is what makes them special. My daughter identified with the book and has not mentioned her worry since. It is a quick read, but worth it! It was amazing to hear my little one say, "hey, I do that too." It was nice for her to know she wasn't alone and that she was special because of it!

Jun 13, 2015
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A new discovery for me today
by: Bill

I suddenly had an epiphany today. I am 47 years old. When I was young, I engaged in hand flapping and walked on my tip toes. Walking on my toes went away after my mother bought me cowboy boots and I got used to not doing that.


My hand flapping also went away, but was replaced by foot tapping and drumming on my lap and other such behaviors.


I was not developmentally disabled in any way. In fact, early testing of my abilities and my later successes in math and science have given me great success in software engineering, music, and art. The only thing I can say is that I have always felt "different". I was always able to see things that others could not. I mastered reading at very high levels starting when I was 4 years old, and went on to master chess and win chess tournaments with ease. But socially, it took a long time for me to become "normal", whatever that means.


The epiphany, however, is not about me as much as it is about my two boys. I have an older son who is high functioning autistic who exhibited the same behaviors. Unfortunately, his autism behaviors are quite a disability for him and he has been developmentally disabled for his whole life. Regardless, he is happy and healthy and that is what is important.


My other son, however, is quite a different story. He started hand flapping around 8 months of age. When he started walking, he walked on his tip toes. He is now 7 years old and still walks on his toes, although it is less prominent when he wears shoes. The amazing thing about him, is that his developmental testing is off the charts. He reads at a 5th grade level and often corrects my wife's English and choice of words when she speaks. In many ways, he is exactly like me.


I have worried about my sons hand flapping for a while and thought I should look into it, but until today I hadn't even realized it was considered a sensory "disorder". I am beginning to wonder if in fact I would consider it a disorder, or simply a symptom of brain activity that is in need of the right kind of stimulus to untap hidden gifts. For now, I am not going to try to change my youngest son's hand flapping behavior. He is happy with it, and he is typically engaged in learning activities when he does it. Perhaps it helps him to learn faster, or to shut off certain stimulus to help him focus.


Jun 12, 2015
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Response to last commenter
by: F

This is a comment to the person who just left a comment. Its controllable so no you wont crash a car. As kids it may me more uncontrollable but they'll get a grip on it. They might fantasize more or day dream more but that's really the only effects and make sure to support this don't criticize it. Try different creative avenues for them to express themselves. Support it. Writing. Painting. Music. I am really even keeled more so than anyone I know I think, but that may be because I've trained myself not to get excited or it could just be my personality.

The flapping, which is now for me is more finger twitching or scratching or rubbing my palms, only happens when fantasizing and it's kind of like leaving your body. Part of it is euphoric. I used to have these grand fantasies when I was young that felt like they lasted forever. But they were always in privacy. Now, in the real world, it's like micro fantasies a couple seconds here, a couple seconds there, unless I am doing something creative and then I can get lost for longer stretches without the flapping. I still do it for longer periods probably in the bathroom or shower. It can be an escape and it can be distracting to studies particularly if you are stressed.

I ran into a bump in high school where I was choosing the fantasizing over studying during finals. It was a college prep school and I was overwhelmed and probably unhappy. It didn't hinder me as much in college where I felt more relaxed and interested in my subjects. The only way I see that it hinders me now is that i have too many ideas and too many interests and things that I want to do.

Jun 11, 2015
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Hand Flapping and School
by: Philip

I was wondering as I think my son (who is 5 has this). What did the teachers at school do when this occurred? I have read the posts and you all seem to indicate some sort of control over the hand flapping.

My son appears to be unable to sense when the hand flapping will start and it seems centered around day dreams and after an exciting experience.

What about driving? Do you swerve off the road? Not good to daydream while in the car !

Sorry about the weird questions.

just concerned and want to understand the breadth of what we're dealing with here.

Jun 10, 2015
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68 and have hand flapped since earliest memory...
by: Anonymous

Hello -- Never knew it had a name --- thought I was just weird.

I will be 68 next week and have been hand-flapping when I am excited or "proud' of an accomplishment! I don't know how or why but I now only do this in private ---- on an unconscious level, ever since I was a tween -- I knew this was odd and as a kid got teased over it.

I do not have autism.

Again, it only seems to occur with sensory overload. Never when I'm sad or depressed -- just when I am excited or proud!

May 02, 2015
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My 3 kids are flappers
by: MM

My 3 kids are flappers - hand and legs :) I was a little worried - especially with family pointing out there is something wrong wit them. Two of them are teens already and the flapping continues - while daydreaming, getting very excited etc. They are very bright, bilingual, love people and there is nothing wrong with them at all. They are home educated and they do not have to worry about peers laughing at them at school, but they learned how to control themselves in public.
But it help to know there are many more happy flappers :)

May 01, 2015
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I'm not alone! I thought I had epilepsy!
by: Karen B

I'm so happy to have run across this blog! Maladaptive daydreaming? Thank goodness that's all that it is. I've had it for as long as I can remember, and I'm now nearly 59 years old. I now wring my hands and my eyes cross instead. My mom would call me a "flapper" as a child, and would criticize my mannerism. It begins as everyone else has said, I'm actively daydreaming or excited. I'm quite aware what's going on around me then as I am now as I was flapping, now I'm handwringing and eye crossing. I can instantly stop when I choose to or when someone tells me to. These episodes rarely go on for more than a minute. Usually it's only seconds.

I knew as a child it was not a good thing to do in front of people and would hide when I did it only to have my mother catch me do it and tell me to stop. The daydreams seemed like I was deeply into them and highly experiencing them. I actually enjoyed the daydreams! I would say I'm a creative person, too. I have to read all the blogs so far to see if this is rooted in something physical or just emotional. Now I have a name to this "flapping" and know other people that have it, too! I'm not alone! Just to let the younger mothers with "flapping" children know that I was tested to have superior intelligence, and have a great job and many friends. I certainly do not have autism in any form.

Mar 29, 2015
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Complex Motor Stereotypies
by: Anonymous

sounds like Stereotypes, my daughter was diagnose when she was 5 and is now 7, she started her movements when she was an infant.

Mar 12, 2015
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Like mother like daughter and son
by: Anonymous

Thank you all for your comments! I am 37 and flapped my hands in my early years when I was excited. As I grew, my hand flapping turned into clapping and the rigid straightening of my arms at my side. My daughter (6) and son (3) both flap when they are excited as well. Since I did it, my husband and I were never concerned. It is just apart of us and makes us who we are. There have been times when my daughter voiced her concerns about what classmates would think about her flapping, but we believe what makes a person different from others makes them special. I actually wrote a children's book with my daughter about her flapping that comes out May 5, 2015. It is entitled: What Makes Me Special! We want the profits of the book to go to a local and national charity. Still searching for the right ones though. It is so nice to know that there are so many special people out there!

Mar 04, 2015
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Not always autism
by: Musings of a Christian Woman

My son is very advanced intellectually. He taught himself everything kindergarteners learn at two and started reading at 3. He started walking at 8 months and this is when we noticed the hand flapping. Kids have never been mean to him but parents have asked me strange questions that prompted me to get him looked at by a neurologist who assured me that he was not even on the autism spectrum.There are kids who have this type of motor stereotypies that have nothing else really wrong with them, or maybe it's sensory processing disorder or ADD. What makes me more upset is his scratching. He scratches himself in his sleep to the point of drawing blood. But what I do know is I try to have him involved with lots of healthy activities that feed his curiosity and gifts.

Mar 03, 2015
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Proud Mama
by: Anonymous

My son has done this too since he turned 2. I think it's cute. He does it when he's excited and it never was an issue that raised alarm or concern. I wouldn't care if he did it in public but he never seems to when out and about, just at home or at his grandparents. If he still does it when getting to school age, I think it should be something rather than taught not to do, but how to deal with (excuse me) a-holes who wanna say anything about it. I really dont see any problems whatsoever. They are just expressing a good feeling (excited) outwardly because it is too much to keep in. I dont think he has autism. He makes eye contact and talks fine, but even if he had a mild case, I dont care but to try and figure out how to make things more comfortable and easier to understand. My brother has high functioning autism, so I am familiar with the differing thought processes and behaviors that may be noticed. I say its no issue at all. Its not hurting them or anybody else. Society really fills us with a bunch of BS on what exactly "proper" behavior is. Love your kids and make them feel confident in who they are. And I might add, my advice is if you act like when they are doing that they are doing something wrong, you are just going to end up making them feel bad for something they reflexively do! To each his own, but put yourself in their shoes. It's not "weird." Like I said, to me it's cute and actually makes me happy to see him so elated. Come on.... gimme a break people!

Feb 14, 2015
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Any Advice?
by: Anonymous

My daughter is 5 now and she definitely flaps when she's excited. I cried when I recently watched Happy Feet again. It was a whole new experience watching it this time around and it made me feel so guilty for asking my daughter to stop her flapping in public situations. It breaks my heart when children at the age of 4 are pushing her around and making fun of her because they notice she is different.

I hesitated with getting her the "diagnosis" because I didn't want her to be labeled. I wanted her to be treated the same as everyone else, but as mentioned, getting the ASD/autism diagnosis opened up a lot of doors for us with therapies. At the same time, I don't live in a place where the therapies are advanced and current. It's very generic and they're only focused on what she needs to function in kindergarten.

I have been getting her therapies since 18 months cuz she didn't walk till about 19 months. She's brilliant and fits more of an Aspergers syndrome even thou that diagnosis is phasing out. But she seems to be getting weaker in her muscle tone, has crazy growth spurts and is the tallest in class and the 6-7 year olds! She wears a size 7-8 right now, but has always been this way. She flaps when she's excited, has an amazing memory, poor handwriting and drawing, doesn't greet people but loves her friends. Definitely has issues with staying focused and maintaining a good conversation and eye contact.

Her neurologist asks me if she's had any seizures yet and sends me off. I don't get much in terms of what to do next and what she might need aside from therapies. She's a "mystery" to all her therapists??? frustrating:( Searching online for answers only gets you confused and drawn into all sorts of directions. I'm from the city but live in a small town now and it just doesn't seem fair for my daughter.

Does anyone with a similar child have any advice on what to expect, what to seek out and what to try? I started her on the low glutamate diet which has surprisingly helped and plan to get genetic and CK blood tests done. She has seen an audiologist and got tubes again, but it seems there's a processing issue with the hearing and not necessarily a physical problem.

Any anticipatory guidance?
I'm big on early intervention.
Thank you for any help you can offer me.

Jan 14, 2015
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Be thankful
by: Tom

Relax he will have a very good life. I have been that way for 64 years. I have a Master's degree and a good family. I like other people in this blog have dealt with this and had very normal lives.

My Mom used to correct me when I was little because no one understood what was "wrong" with me. To me I was being myself. I was being my version of normal. I was doing nothing wrong in my world.

Work with your son. But do not act like he is being bad or is in some way strange. Teach him to manage it. As he gets older he will manage it better by himself. Do not make him feel guilty or ashamed of what he does.

As I got older I did learned to manage the situation. As a result it never hurt me socially or on the job.

Be thankful. It sounds like you have a wonderful child, who will be highly creative, and live a very normal life.

Jan 13, 2015
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Sounds like CMS
by: Anonymous

This should explain your concerns:

http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/neurology_neurosurgery/centers_clinics/pediatric-neurology/conditions/motor-stereotypies/faqs.html#7

Jan 02, 2015
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Hand Flapper Like Mother like son
by: Anonymous

I am 29 years old. I have flapped my arms all my life. I have learned to cope and ease my sensation by just waving my hands at the same time or taping my fingers separately.

My family makes funny remarks about my hand flapping, and as a child they named me "pollito" which is little chicken in Spanish. For the reason that I look that I wanted to fly.

I learned to do this privately and sometimes it just comes without asking. When I am doing dishes, my homework, my makeup and anything that is exiting to me deserves my hands to be waving in the air.

My mom took me to the doctor when I was small, and since there was not enough research then, the doctor told her that it was just a way to express my happiness and that it should go away with time.
It did not go away. I just learned to not do it in public.

I am married, I have 2 wonderful children and I am about to finish my bachelors in science of psychology. My youngest is a boy and he is 2 years old. He has flapped his arms and hands since he was 4-5 months old.

I am concerned that what he has and what I have has a name, since I always tough it was just a sensation to release my energy and my excitement.
I have lived a normal life, other than the hand flapping, never had a problem in school, great speech, never had a problem following orders, was never a brat, I am a bilingual and I love to socialize.

Then my son and your children can live a perfect life as well. I know the concern, and I read most of the posts and made me realize we are not alone.

When I see me son, I know how he feels. He does it several times a day and it is always when he likes something, like the Christmas tree, on the car, watching movies or anything that relates to happiness. He is very smart, he knows his vocals, says more than 30 words, plays with other kids, loves to kiss and hug. My husband's aunt is a child psychologist and made comments about autism. Yet, if my son acts the same way I do, does that mean I could be autistic too??!!? Not that I do not want him to have autism or saying that is impossible, of course no parent want anything different going on with their kids, however I do not know what to do.

I never thought about doing research until my husband's made comments. He has an upcoming appointment by the end Of February, 2015 and will mentioned to his pediatrician again. Thank you all for sharing your stories.

Jan 02, 2015
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Have 13 yr old who does same...
by: Sonja

My son is 13. He will flap his hands,rub his hands together, or rub his hands down his pant leg when he's excited. He's been doing this for several years now. Some of his friends have found it odd and not accepting. Others, however, act like they don't really care. He has plenty of friends. For a long time I've wondered why he does this..and at times I still do. When he was younger he would open his mouth wide when flapping his hands.

One day I was listening to a popular TV talk show host ask about a guest's child's hand shaking/flapping , and the parent said they believed their child did this to release energy or excess energy when excited. It made sense, but I still question WHY.

My son is intelligent, great at Math and some other subjects, great sense of humor, enjoys sports, but does have a difficult time staying focused in class...gets distracted and loves to chat, but is getting better. Would this be considered a SPD? He has never been diagnosed with that. I questioned ADD, but his doctor said she didn't see it in conversation with him. He does have a tendency to get angry/mad if a game he's playing isn't going well. I usually have to tell him to lower his voice (he gets loud), and settle down. He just get into the game!

Dec 25, 2014
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38 years old
by: Anonymous

I have been a hand flapper all my life. I grew up in a time when they didn't label kids. I've always had a hard time making friends, because I was extremely shy. But, I have always pushed myself to be normal. I 38, I'm married with 2 children. I have a good job, ironically, I run a day program for severely autistic adults. And me 12 year old son has a genius icue, but has a label. I was treated like a normal kid, I found my own ways to cope without special help and turned out fine. Don't ever buy into labels they are a waste of time. And a can be used as a crutch! Good luck!

Dec 02, 2014
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22 years old, diagnosed.
by: Vincent

22 years, and I flap my hands when I'm excited, overstimulated, etc.

I was diagnosed with autism at the age of 11.

Odd? Sure. But I like it well enough. It feels like a good outlet of energy.

Nov 22, 2014
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Hand flapping, clapping and leg movement.
by: Alex's Mom

My 4 year old has been diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder. Lately I have noticed an increase in his movements especially when he is watching his favorite shows on T.V. . He gets really excited flaps his arms and legs and claps his hands. This has increased as he is getting older. Is this normal or should I take him back to the Dr?

Nov 15, 2014
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Still flapping after 64 years
by: Tom

Hi,

I read with great interest the entries from Chris and from a 65 year old. Like them I have had this all my life. I never knew what it was or that other people have it. It happens when I get excited, principally when I day dream or mentally stimulated about something. I am a highly creative person. I have a Master's in Computer Science, had a great career for 33 years, and now get in front of 300 people at a time to give presentations at a National Park. I still once in a great while catch myself hand flapping when mentally excited about something. My imagination is very vivid. I literally can envision great ideas (problem solutions) in my head.

The down side you or your child may have this all their days. They may also be a little slow in terms of physical activity or not as quick witted in some argumentative situations. This will never go away. But CAN BE EASILY MAMAGED!

It will lessen as time and experience goes on. But is never goes away.

For you or your child this will be their normal. Stop worrying and simply work with it. They will have a great life!!!!!! They will not be laughed at, they will be admired for their creativity and imagination. (I have 4 children with one exhibiting some of these signs. He is normal and at 36 is married and having a great life.)

We all have a little something. This is mine. In its own way it has helped define who I am. I have a great "normal" been a life.

To the student talking about how hard it is to study, he is absolutely right! But with persistence and management it can be done. Getting my Masters while working 40 a week and raising 3 children at that time was painful, just like for any normal person.

Be thankful your child is basically normal, things could be a lot worse.

Take Care,
Tom

Nov 02, 2014
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My son is 7
by: Anonymous

My son of 7 is a hand flapper and tip toe walker. He is very bright, social and lovable kid. I am exploring the idea that it is a visual problem. Not a 20/20 vision problem, but a visual processing problem. Have your child tested for a binocular vision test. We have just started vision therapy, and I am so hopeful that this will be the answer


Oct 28, 2014
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My son flaps
by: Anonymous

My 4 year old flaps, claps and paced up and down. I became concerned when he was about Years old. Has he would zone in the middle of playing or doing anything really, get into a trance like, mouth opened wide and clap for a few seconds stop and do it again. The nursery didnt notice this until I had brought it to there attention. They decided to write a letter to my gp for a referral. Even though we saw the specialist. He has not been diagnosed with anything. I am very concerned as now the flapping is becoming more frequent.

Oct 26, 2014
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Similar things
by: Anonymous

My friend's 7 year old does something very similar. It happens if she's waiting for something, or if she's working/concentrating on something. She starts shaking her hands quickly (as if shaking water off of them), and kind of bounces on the spot/in her seat, and kind of zones out while doing it. Happens multiple times a day, unless she's completely exhausted. I believe she has seen drs, however they just say it's her way of expelling energy. Completely "normal" (hate using that word) Kid otherwise. She'll be sitting there quiet and content, and then suddenly has those moments. Haven't heard of anyone having a similar thing until I saw this....

Oct 20, 2014
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flapping hands and crossing eyes
by: Anonymous

well i know now that i'm not the only one going throuth this.my daughter is 13 years old ,and flaps her hands and crossing off her eyes at the same time.she has nueroframatosis.trying to get her help with this,she holds back from doing it at school,but the other day she was spotted by a teacher doing that.which gave me a relief feeling,since her teachers would not see it.

Sep 29, 2014
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hand flapping (3 year old)
by: Anonymous

My three year old son does exactly same (hand flapping when excited). Otherwise very normal kid.

After reading this post, I have requested for pediatric appointment, hopefully I would get it in next few weeks. Thank you very much for the post.

Aug 11, 2014
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More details
by: Chloe B

Hello Shari,

Thank you so much for the update on your situation... it sounds like he's at the very edge of the diagnosis (being out at 3 and in, sometime between 5 and 9).
I don't necessarily wish so hard that my son isn't diagnosed with ASD (because after all an autistic diagnosis would give us access to ABA therapies, apparently lots of people find these helpful) so no head in the sand behavior here but it is true that it's not something I would be ecstatic about either (regardless of how marvelous my son is).

Now, outside from the flapping stopping around Kindergarten what are the quirks he developed later on ? (just so It gives me an idea what to look for)

Another piece of information I found VERY interesting is the result of a new study made by french researcher back in February this year (I am french but live in Los Angeles)
http://www.inserm.fr/espace-journalistes/un-essai-clinique-prometteur-pour-diminuer-la-severite-des-troubles-autistiques
It's a french article but use an automatic translator, I think it's worth it to look into it for your son as well... I'll talk about it to my dev. pediatrician on my first visit.

Aug 11, 2014
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update on this original post
by: Anonymous

I wrote this post about my son 7 years ago. He is now nine years old. The flapping stopped sometime around kindergarten. It was discovered that he is on the autism spectrum. He was seen at UCSF autism clinic when he was 5 and we were told at that time he was fine but will have different "quirks". He is engaged, friendly, happy, stubborn and amazing at 9 years old. We have had OT, PT and behavior therapy. My one piece of advice is this...don't wish so hard that your child doesn't have autism or spectrum disorder that you ignore your gut. Having your child "labeled" is really no big deal. It is one of the only ways to get any help. A label can be removed at any time. We have always been open with teachers, friends, etc. No one would really even notice my son has Asperger's syndrome if I didn't tell them. Ryan has had some challenges but we have worked with him and he meets them head on. My son has the most trouble with social skills. Even though he has lots of friends and makes friends easily he has difficulites in social situations. He will say "mom other people know how to deal with certain feelings but I don't" so we are working on this with a social learning class. I guess what I am trying to say is be an advocate for your child. I have seen so many people bury their head in the sand because they are afraid of a spectrum/autism diagnosis that they wait to get any intervention. The earlier the intervention the better the outcome with this type of thing. Hand flapping, pacing, toe walking are warning signs. Have it checked out. If your gut tells you to check it out do it. They are the same person today as they will be if they have a spectrum diagnosis. My son is happy, funny, well adjusted, smart and is the love of our lives!

Aug 11, 2014
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My 37 mo old does the exact same thing
by: Chloe B.

My 37month old have been doing the EXACT same thing + speech delay, I didn't went yet to the dev. pediatrician but I am about to, I feel like he will not get an autism diagnostic (despite being a handful, my son shows a lot of empathy and concern for others, loves hugs and snuggles but he does play rough).

His flapping happens when excited (about whatever, food, daddy, movie) and also when bored (to which he adds running back and forth on his toes), on both he has a facial expression that goes with it. I can also stop him If I talk to him or engage him in some other things.

Jul 17, 2014
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Autism or mood disorder
by: Anonymous

He is 19 months when excited with something he does he flappers arms opened mouth loves to watch things spin loveable seems smart but is he have anything wrong ..thank you

Jun 03, 2014
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8 year old daughter the same way
by: Anonymous

I feel alot better reading this. My 8 year old has been hand flapping since she was a baby. She would do it in the bathtub with bubbles. She also opens her mouth up wide when she flaps. I was concerned it was some kind of autism, but she is a perfectly normal child, very smart and very creative. My husband and I talk about it with her and try to tell her to focus on not doing it in public, but it seems impossible when she gets really excited. I have never heard of CMS but I will look more into it. I do hope she learns other ways of expressing herself so she doesn't become the object of bullying. She has a ton of friends, is very loved - but is entering that age where kids can be mean. Any advice on how to re-direct her energy would be greatly recieved! Thanks all! I do feel alot better now.

May 29, 2014
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Almost 18 and glad to flap
by: Anonymous

I've actually been know by my whole family for "flapping my wings" when I get excited. I learned to do it when no one was looking, as I normally did it unconsciously, if just do it without thinking but even now I do it when I play scenarios through my head, if just feels good to let my imagination and body go wild! I tend to (as I said) "flap my wings" when my imagination gets going, and I see nothing wrong with it! My brain is working hard and I'm enjoying the imagining! I have never been diagnosed with anything or had any health issues (knock on wood) so as far as I know, i just have a wild imagination!
Hope this puts some people at ease, and keep on imagining!

Apr 07, 2014
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Its Maladaptive daydreaming
by: Anonymous

Im a 30 year old male who has done this all my life, i tend to drift off in to deep imagination, when this happens my fingers move rapidly. Over the years i have controlled this so that i do not do it in public and only when i'm on my own, i don't consciously do it when i'm on my own it just happens, i guess due to having time to allow myself to drift into the imagination.

To the mothers on here worried about their kids doing this, if this is the only thing thats worrying you and they do not have any other issues then you have nothing to worry about. I am bright, have a degree and a good job so its never caused me an issue, its just something i do. :)

Feb 20, 2014
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same here
by: gemma

Hi that sound just like what my 3year old does and I'm so worried for him he has speech problems so I fort maybe it could be that but I'm so glad I seen this bow I no my boy is not the only 1 xx

Feb 18, 2014
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Some help us
by: Jenna

I have a son that ia a six he has adhd. He takes a straw and flapping the straw and went to doing it with pencil its kinda scary to see. I've tryed to get him tesyed don't know where to go, we live in Coloma M.I. His insurance is medicade. Help me please.



Sincerly Jenna

Feb 09, 2014
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Flap worthy!
by: Anonymous

My son is autistic and has been stimming since infancy. Any rapid movement of a toy, wheel or in a movie will bring on high stimming.. The underwater scenes in Nemo- flap worthy. Video games - flap worthy! Marble run toys, race track toys etc. I can spot them a mile away. We called it roundey round ( because of arm movement) The rule is we only do this at home. My son is ten now and we still do this only at home. The only thing is that TV and video games bring it on. I do not know if I should stop or limit the things that bring it on. He is clearly over stimulated from these things. He says it makes him happy to stim. I don't know if I should allow him to be exposed to things that make him stim.....or not. Please give me advice.

Jan 20, 2014
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Motor stereotypy
by: Anonymous

Most of these movements described sound like motor stereotypy... There is not a lot of research, there is a support group on FB... worth looking into this website: http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/neurology_neurosurgery/specialty_areas/pediatric-neurology/conditions/motor-stereotypies/

Jan 18, 2014
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Nice to know I'm not the only one.
by: Anonymous

Hello, I am a 26 year old male. Since I was a child I would always tap my hands togeteher very rapidly, mostly my fingers but my palms would never touch eachother. I'm not sure why but it is connected to excitement. I tend to do it when I play video games or when I'm about to go out and have some drinks. But it also comes and goes throughout the day alot. I like everyone else will not do it in front of people but when I'm alone It is a habbit. When I am driving I do it alot on the steering wheel, mostly when I'm at a stop light. Well I'm sure this will never stop but just thought I would throw my story in here along with all you other fine people. Thanks for reading.

Jan 09, 2014
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18 and still the same
by: Anonymous

Hey guys

Glad I'm not the only one, I've learned myself to do it on a more low key way I would make fists with my hands when this happens, it help the process although it's not as effective and doesn't give you that full experience, when im alone I still do it, pointing my fingers to my face like an alien and start shaking and overwhelmed with excitement. I truly believe people that can do this have a bigger imagination your heart can't keep up with your brain you your brain waves want another way to get rid of the energy, it's actually amamazing that we can do this. You sleep often les then others but that Iis cause we are the only once that can decide what we want to dream about so ouer head work overtime, it's a bit harder to focus. But completely harmless

Much love and chill you/your kid is 100% normal

Jan 09, 2014
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it's normal
by: Anonymous

"Since childhood I would do this thing with my hands when i get overwhelmed with excitement;I always thought I was just a bit weird, and that these stereotypies were things that happened because I didn't know how to control that, or something along the lines of that. I would always do this things with my hands where I would sort of tingle my fingers together in front of my face, or sometimes my whole body would shake as well", I call it day dreaming, tried to stop it but it's impossible. It's actually the best feeling so if you have this see it as a honer and a gift! If you know someone with this respect them it's not easy living with thee "unknown" and judging people might make everything worse, people also tend to scare you wile you do this, Don't! It's overwhelming and more likely to cause a heartattack! You will never see a teenage do this in front of someone, cause lets face it it's not normal!

Jan 05, 2014
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Good to know I'm no the only one!
by: Anonymous

I'm currently 17 and ever since childhood I would do this thing with my hands whenever I was completely engrossed in something or got overwhelmed with excitement; Thanks to this post I finally I know what it is and that it's not just me that does it! I always thought I was just a bit weird, and that these stereotypies were things that happened because I didn't know how to control that, or something along the lines of that. I would always do this things with my hands where I would sort of tingle my fingers together in front of my face, or sometimes my whole body would shake as well, and I've even seen videos of me doing it when I was little. My family also told me stories about when the teletubbies would come on the TV I would start flapping my hands up and down like a mad man haha. I did get picked on by some people and was unfortunately known as 'that kid that does those things with his hand' by people from my primary school, but oh well that was a while ago. Interestingly for a while last year the stereotypies almost completely went away after I stopped playing video games as much, which has always been something that triggered these actions, but since recently going back to gaming the steretypies have come back even more than when I was younger.

It may be weird and perhaps an unfavoured trait/condition, but I see it as part of my creative process and the way I think sometimes. It feels completely natural to do it even if I don't consciously choose to, and to me is a manifestation of my feelings and emotions which have no other way of escaping my body. I'm also notably a passionate dancer as well, which is a great way to unload the energy inside me and channel it through moving in a more constructive and meaningful way! CMS does however distract me from my school work sometimes though, which to me is perhaps one of the reasons in past I haven't received the best grades, but still I know I will never grow out of the stereotypies or will never try to change because it's something that's definitely rooted deep inside me.

Peace to all :)!

Jan 05, 2014
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let it go
by: Anonymous

My son , diagnosed with ASD at age 3, is a hand flapper. He is now 10 and has lost his diagnosis through biomedical treatment. Still flapping :). Dr. Jin from the brain treatment center gave me the best explanation. Your heart rate and brain waves should mirror each other. So when there is a spike in brain activity (visual stimulation,excitement, etc) if the heart rate doesn't spike as well, the flapping served that purpose. It elevates the heart rate to match brain activity.
We spent many years trying to get him to quiet his hands, but once we learned of the brain/heart connection, we realized it is the body's natural process to regulate itself and we don't interfere with it.

Jan 02, 2014
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2.5 yrs old and CMS since baby
by: Momma with questions

Thank you everyone for your comments and sharing your stories. It's been relieving to read about such highly functioning individuals with this characteristic. My daughter is 2.5 and has been showing signs if CMS since she was as young as 7-8mo (when she would see a toy she loved). She now does it randomly throughout the day, but often upwards of 30-50 times a day. Primarily when tired or overstimulated (or during a favorite tv show or arts/crafts that she likes). I'm not overly concerned yet, but would like advice from all of you about how to help a child 'hide' it, as so not to be made fun of when they get older and interact with others. Should we consider any sort of therapy or could you all offer advice as to what helped you, anything important you think you would have wanted your parents to know, to help them understand?
Also, our daughter has been a TERRIBLE sleeper since birth (worse than a newborn even at 2-3 yrs), any of you also terrible sleepers?
Thanks!

Dec 25, 2013
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Like mother, like daughter
by: Casey

I am a 34 year old flapper. Mine takes the form of fingers splayed and flutter like shaking. When I am really sensory overwhelmed or excited, my hands fly to my face and my palms press my cheeks. I have done it since I was little and it is an affectionate joke in my family.

My 10 year old daughter also does this. Her affect is different than mine, though. She waves her hands rapidly at the wrists. I can't help but smile when I see it. I also use it as a cue to what she is feeling. Is she really happy? Perhaps overstimulated? It helps me stay in tune to what she is feeling.

I am a college graduate with a beautiful family and a great job. I would say that there is something "odd" about me. However, I have always thought of it as harmless and quirky. I have had little negative feedback on it. As I type this, it is Christmas morning. I am so excited for the kids to wake up to their presents that I noticed my hands doing their dance. I decided to google it to see if there were others who do what I do while I wait to hear their squeals coming down the hall. There are!!! Merry Christmas!!

Dec 22, 2013
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hand flapping, open mouth, blinking eyes
by: Anonymous

My six year old daughter started these episodes when she was seven months old. She'd be sitting up the stick both legs out in front of her, her arms out to the side and her fingers would bend and straighten, her feet would roll and he mouth would be open. They lasted only seconds and she'd end it with a loud clap or a scream. I thought at first she'd grow out of it, but at four years old hadn't. I talked to her dr who sent her for an eeg which turned out normal. She is now six years old and still does it, even when standing (she'll kick her feet out to the side while fingers curl and hand roll, her mouth open and her eyes blinking) I have noticed this happens when she's excited or something is moving fast on tv or a toy moves in circles. Should I talk to her dr again? Her teacher said she hasn't noticed her doing it at school, but she's aware of it and gets upset if her sister (hf autistic) draws attention to it.

Dec 15, 2013
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Hand Grinder for Life!
by: Phil

Hey guys! I thought I would chime in for a sec and join the "Complex Motor Stereotypy" party.

I have been wringing and grinding my hands together my entire life. I have faint memories of speech therapy sessions and meetings to determine whether or not I was autistic, all of which resulted in my parents being told that I was happy & healthy and that everything was just fine.

My mother occasionally scolded me for doing it in public, and it eventually became a thing I did when I was alone, mostly while playing role playing games and other things that involve a great deal of imagination & immersion. When I wring my hands, it helps me process all of the awesome things around me & helps me channel the overwhelming appreciation I have for where I am right then and there.

For example, after unpacking and setting up my room in a new apartment in a new city, I found myself wringing my hands at the appreciation of how far I had traveled and how excited I was about the adventures that lie ahead.

I have had a life full of amazing friendships and have had numerous fulfilling romantic relationships. I am an accomplished professional and have traveled all across the globe for both work and pleasure. I had a very pleasant time in school and had great grades. I was even class president in my 8th grade year!

I once sat next to a man on a plane who I noticed did the - exact - same handjive as me. We started talking. He was an phD in Medieval Studies and had just finished giving a talk in the UK! So I think it's safe to say that we hand flapping/grinding/wringing types can look forward to a life of rewarding pursuits & amazing experiences. I truly look at it as a special ability that lets one's imagination soar to new heights!

Still grindin'!

Phil

Dec 10, 2013
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Finally, to know others do this strange hand thing too.
by: Chelle s.

I am so glad that I googled this last night. I think I have read nearly every post here. Several weeks ago I accidently found out that I have synesthesia...in reading about the symptoms of this ability, I began to reflect upon my hand flipping as they call it here...both responses to stimuli. Growing up my family termed it The bizz bizz. I first recall my Mom and Grandmother asking me about as I lay on floor make square shapes with hands in front of my face when I was about 7 years old. I didn't know how to explain it. It developed quickly into more of hand shaking/vibrating/spastic flipping. My family would yell at me and my siblings make fun. Because I became extremely selfconscious, I modified it lower to myself, rather than in front of my face. I would do it under that table, or if in public, I might lie and say I was just scratching my hands, or place my hands folded to my lips as if in deep concentration or perhaps prayer. I was very good in school, placed in advance classes, qualified for the gifted program, very social, loved acting/theater,active imagination,...but also constantly aware of hiding my hands around others. Sometimes my hands would flap or vibrate so intensly that my arms were tired when I stopped. It also felt very neccesary and like a needed release of creativy, energy or excitement.

I am 42, have a B.S. and M.S. university degrees and happily married. My husband is very supportive, though I still try to hide it. It seems especially needed during highly creative moments such as art, design, story writing, planning, etc.

To be honest, as I type and review this, I have had to do it, especially when I reflect on the past. The only tick type thing I have is the need to rub the right corner of my mouth with the thumb edge of my right hand with my mouth a bit open, but this comes and goes.

I would not want to be medicated as it seems linked to my creative thought process. My best advice is modifying it to something less noticeable and to try very hard not to do it in public. I think parents should have a discussion about it with affected children but don't yell or punish or make fun. I am sure mine thought they could make me stop, but you cant. I still do it every day. If I went around doing it in public, people would think I was a freak, and maybe so, but seriously, it could cause social problems with making friend, finding a mate, finding and holding a job. Thank you to all posters who have made me feel less alone in the world with my hand ticks.

Dec 02, 2013
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Hand flapping tip toeing
by: Anonymous

Hi,

This website is great. My daughter is 6 years old and has been twizzing (hand flapping) for years! not sure where the name twizzing came from but she is very aware of it so won't do it at school. She is bright, articulate and affectionate.

I did not know of any other person that did this so was great to find this website especially more mature people who have turned out fully functioning. It is a worry yet she is so happy when she does it. she can spend ages skipping back and forth twizzing, usually with a long slim object like a pencil and more often than not walks on her toes (really ought to get her into ballet! The summer is best as she can spend hours on the tramploine going round and round whilst twizzing!

We have discussed this and she says it makes her brain work faster and more creatively? we have talked about how other children may not understand this and she told me that she did it at school once in reception and they asked her what she was doing, they didn't laugh at her for which i am grateful but it was enough for her to realise that not everyone does this and she is unique.

It is now part and parcel of her home life in which she is happy to do this in front of our family, is able to laugh aboout it when she catches us watching, intially she used to get upset but now she justs smiles and says stop looking at me! lol

Although she would stop if i interupt her i am choosing to let her get on with it, as long as her homework is done and playroom is tidy etc. She is such a happy little girl it would seem cruel to stop her doing it. If i can give any advice it is to say talk to them, give it a name and talk about how other people/children don't have this ability so may not understand.

i shall look forward to more comments especially from adults as it is still reassuring to hear of people leading fully functional lives and relationships.

Thanks

Nov 25, 2013
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our son'
by: Anonymous

My 5yr. Old started his finger tapping at 2yrs old. that turned into total hand tapping. Looks more like as if he's knows sign language. What a smart kid. On a 6yr old level of reading and numbers at the age of 3, he is autistic, and we no plans to change him. He does get ABA, and has SPD, along with therapy. We love him just the way he is!!!

Nov 17, 2013
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Thank you! :)
by: Anonymous

Thank you all for your comments. I have one too and you have just eased a lot of worry! :)

Nov 17, 2013
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Thank you all so much! :)
by: Anonymous

I've worried about this for years now! My 11yr old Son does most of what people have described. He's been bullied at school for his quirky ways and it's worried me a lot. He has outgrown a lot of things and that's what made me feel better for him at school. He's very intelligent and has been a straight A student all through school but, I still worry about him. Thank you everyone for speaking out and helping ease and educate a worrisome Mom! :)

Nov 16, 2013
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18 Year Old- Still flapping
by: Holly

Ever since I was born I flap my hands usually when either something excites me or I'm deep in thought, or planning something like what I'm going to do the next day, etc.When I read the part about him putting something at eye level & flapping, I smiled because my parents said I used to always do that with my Polly Pockets as a child. I am completely normal, and I usually only do it when I'm by myself but VERY occasionally I'll slip and do it around my boyfriend because I'm comfortable with him. But really wouldn't worry about it, because I'm completely normal, and unless you flap in public around some judgmental/rude people, it won't really affect your life in any way. My boyfriend thinks it's cute because I just get so excited that it's like I have to get the energy out somehow. Don't view it as an obstacle, view it as a cute quirk :)

Nov 14, 2013
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14 year old hand flapper
by: Anonymous

I still hand flap, about 3 years ago i stop doing it in public and realized that i actually have something wrong i would always ask my mum what is wrong, but she always said you will grow out what ever is going on. nowdays my bedroom (locked) and to toilet are the safest place for me to do this, i once was walked in by my parents and i was to embarrassed to leave my room so i just stayed in there in tears, Flapping for me occurs when i put on my headphones and listen to music, or if i have a really lazy day and had heaps of energy when i go to bed i would just lay there and bounce up and down on my stomach, some nights i could be doing it for 1-3 hours! i would finish up being very sweaty and worn out. i find fantasying very scary for me attempt because if i do fantasy i will start flapping

It is very reliving to see all you people that i can relate to it helps alot!

After my own personal issues with flapping and looking at these comments i think the only thing that effect flappers s the fear of getting caught flapping for me flapping has know develop anxiety and OCD, i cant have cords out before i flap i cant have switches on before i flap and no cloths can be in sight, i always am paranoid someone will walk in while i am flapping, even when i am home alone.

basically i keep on flapping for the relief it gives me after would without flapping for a few days i really start to change i become alot me snappy and moody.

I hope this can relate to alot of other people
Thank you :)

Oct 24, 2013
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I am a 38 year old hand flapper!
by: Anonymous

Hi everyone! Ha this is great I can't believe I came across this. I am a fully functioning hand flapper. I am a college grad, was always pretty good in school and sports. Now I have a great job and a beautiful girlfriend ( not always though). It happens when I get excited much like everyone else on here. I just rubbed my hands together after writing that line. My hands need to move when I get excited. When I was young it was hand flapping and i would do it when I was excited, sometimes at recess or when i fantasized about something. It never seemed to happen during sports as it seemed to have an outlet at that moment. But if I stopped and fantasized about kicking a goal it might. Other kids noticed it in kindergarden and would make comments and it did upset me. I always very conscious of it and knew when I was doing it and began hiding it or doing it in private. It moved to hand rubbing, or kind of flicking my middle fingers back and forth on my thumb was a good way to tone it down and away. I did go to a therapy session for it and she said I was fine. I was into comic books at an early age and would spend a good deal of time imagining a whole adventure. During these times i would lock myself away in a bedroom or bathroom and take the reins off my hands. My brother caught me once by sneaking up on me when i was a bit older and i broke down into tears.

Now that I am older I tend to snap or tap my fingers, rub my hands, or do the finger flick thing. I don't do it around other people. There is an addictive element to it where I do feel by fantasizing and exciting yourself you are giving yourself a shot of endorphins or something. I definitely wish sometimes that I didn't have it, ( my hands hurt at then end of the day sometimes) but I also consider myself highly intelligent, passionate and creative person. Heavy exercise does help. I feel if I am sitting around on my lap top or in the books too long and I haven't exercised, it emerges. Hope this helps! Best to everyone! If anything you should ask your kids what they are thinking about when they are doing it and explore that fantasy with them and try to support their imagination, creativity and dreams.

Oct 18, 2013
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Complex Motor Stereotypy
by: Chris

I am 20 and Have some of the fore mentioned symptoms of a Primary Complex Motor Stereotypy. It is very likely that this is the name for the 'disorder' that most people's comments have alluded to. This disorder usually begins to manifest itself in a variety of ways before the age of 3. This disorder is widely considered as more of a nuisance than legitimately harmful to the individual. It is associated with an increased chance for ADHD, OCD, Perfectionism, etc. It is also commonly accompanied by decreased white matter in parts of the brain in otherwise normal male children, as well as a slower mean reaction time. There is much more that can be said about this disorder, but because I am certain that I am effected by this disorder, though I have not been diagnosed by any qualified individual, I will instead write a bit about my personal experience with this disorder.

There are many triggers that may cause this disorder to manifest itself; the trigger for me is excitement. Here is the train of thought that led to me wiggling my fingers in front of my face. I would begin thinking about something when I was bored or talking with friends that excited me. I would then unknowingly drop out of reality and travel into my thoughts. Whilst I did this I had no idea what anyone was saying or doing around me. I also did not realize that I was wiggling my fingers in front of my face until after I was done thinking about whatever happened to be exciting me at the time. Most of the time I would stop and continue whatever I was doing as if nothing had happened. Sometimes while I was wiggling my fingers someone would point, laugh, say my name, or do something else that I felt was directed towards me. When this happened I was immediately distracted from whatever I was thinking, and resumed whatever I was doing before becoming excited. Now that I have attended college for a couple years, I see that this disorder causes me to have a remarkably low attention span, even among those who have ADHD.

Though I have learned to control it mostly, I find it very difficult and sometimes impossible to read complicated material as I constantly find it difficult to focus. I was prescribed a stimulant for ADHD and it does not work as well as I had hoped. though my attention span increases, I find myself constantly becoming excited and wiggling my fingers. I have read fairly deeply about this disorder, and I believe that any stimulant will generally cause it to worsen, especially if excitement is one's trigger to the manifestation of this disorder, as stimulants cause an overall increased level of excitement. I write this to help others, but also to ask for help. If anyone has any knowledge regarding medications to inhibit dopamine nerotransmission in the brain please comment on this thread. If any college student who also has a complex motor stereotypy and decreased focus reads this, It would be great if you can tell me anything that has helped you to focus in your experience.

Sep 27, 2013
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Stim, Seizure, Sensory or....
by: Anonymous

My 43mo old does this too. She'll sway her head like "Stevie Wonder", while making a humming sound. She spaces out while doing this, and sometimes looks at her hands or the ceiling. When she was younger, she would put things at eye level and shake her head at it. She'll still run or pace back and forth while doing an accelerating humming sound. My wife and I are able to stop her by calling her name, telling her to stop running, or by simply touching her. I don't know if it's stimming, if it's a seizure, if it's a sensory thing, or what. Doctors, therapists and neurologists have all said the same thing, "if it doesn't hurt her, let her be. she might grow out of it or learn to cope with it". I want to know what it is.

Sep 07, 2013
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Hand flapping with eye crossing
by: Lynn

My 5-year-old granddaughter has been a hand flapper since she was a baby. She flaps her hands when she is excited and happy, and very often one of her eyes will turn in. She is active, bright, very social, and has lots of friends. I haven't seen any others comment about the eye crossing. Have you seen that?

Sep 03, 2013
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John Hopkins had best info!!
by: Anonymous

I found this website very useful in determining the cause of my son's hand and finger flapping.

http://m.hopkinsmedicine.org/neurology_neurosurgery/specialty_areas/pediatric-neurology/conditions/motor-stereotypies/symptoms.html

Sep 03, 2013
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Hand & finger flapping
by: Anonymous-29yo

I have experienced this hand & finger flapping/ twitching since my early to mid teen years, I'm now 29. The best example I can give is when I'm at a casino or somewhere I can play pokies/ slot machines, my hand and finger movement go into over drive when I get free spins or my machine is winning.
And it seems to be because of the lights, sounds and visuals on the screen that affect my hand and fingers to do this.

But it also happens for other things that get me excited or nervous, I try to do it discreetly and to not make it so noticeable. My family know I do it a lot, but are not really phased by it, they have become used to it I think.

I've always been really good at any sports I've played or taken up, kinda comes naturally to me. My hand/ eye coordination has always been great. I'm smart and knowledgeabe. But have always felt this is bit weird and that something was wrong with me... Does anyone know what this could be? :/


Aug 26, 2013
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My son too
by: lisa

My son when he gets excited rubs his face. We have never made an issue of it except perhaps to say, leave some face. He would laugh. He is 14 now and when he was in school, he actually had a possitive experience with the kids. They would be impressed at how fast he could move those hands. It was a teacher who pissed me off by yelling at him to stop. I went imediately to the principal and took care of that. I have never thought much about why this happens and I dont discourage him from doing it. Obviously it is a necessary release for him and I dont see the need to stop it. But seeing all these comments have made me feel better. Teachers should be educated on this as they can be cruel.

Aug 11, 2013
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Me too
by: Sue

Since as long as I can remember I've done this . I thought I was crazy . I'm 40 now , and I've finally realized I'm not the only one . I also have a couple other OCD type behaviors.

Aug 07, 2013
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Hand flap
by: Anonymous

I am 17 and have been doing it since i was a child, whenever i listen to music or i get excited i have to flap my hands and i am not even sure why i have to do it, just happens, is there something wrong

Aug 02, 2013
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thank you for this blog!
by: Anonymous

I am 31 years old and have been hand flapping since I was a child. Ive always thought I was strange for doing it, having never seen anyone else doing it. I still do it but only in private. It's never about excitement, more just for daydreaming for a temporary relief from reality. I'm sooooo relieved that this is more common than I thought and that I'm not crazy!!!

Jul 18, 2013
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my loveable hand flapping son
by: Anonymous

I luv every last comment! my son is now a seven year old hand flapper who runs back and forth through the house making humming sounds when he gets excited.He has told me himself that he does this because he gets excited. My son is super smart, an adorable chatter box. There have been a few instances when he has flapped his hands while humming out of know where and scared the mess out of people that I would be having a conversation with. I am able to stop him when I interfere with his flapping by touching his arm and asking him to relax. The only thing about flapping as a child is that kids can be very cruel and say hurtful things. I have never had my son diagnosed, but has been flapping since he was about 1 1/2. while reading the comments I have realized that he may be flapping throughout his life, but will always be mommy's adorable, loveable,tremendously smart amazing flapper :-)

Jun 10, 2013
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Merci
by: Frederic

Hello, i’m Frederic from France and I just wanted to thank the owner of this blog as I could not get those information on any french website. I wish to thank also the adults who shared their experience as hand flapper. Especially « college athlete », when you write down : « it is the only way I can relieve the bubble of excitement or happiness that I get when daydreaming or imagining things », this is the best descrition of what my 8 year old boy is feeling

May 31, 2013
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Want to connect with mom in miami area
by: Laura

Hi I don`t speak to much English
but I want to be connect with mom with the same I don`t know if the word is correct same issue.
I live in Miami area and Have a kid 19 month old.

I saw a few signs on him at 14 months. but I knew it from my pregnancy HE will be special.

Now he is diagnostic as a development delay.

in 2 days We will have a second appointment with neurologist.
I saw on him and treat like an spd.
but Doctor said maybe he is under an ASD.

He speack 25 word but I have to encourage him to communicate.

He love letter,shapes.numbers.

make eye contact. and I notice when his emotion are high he do hands flapping.


How Do you help your childrens???
I`m trying to get connect to learn and help.

My son loves be with other childrens. and we don`t have friends with toddlers.

I read and learn most that I can.


Thanks for read me.



Laura



axelkeanu@gmail.com

May 30, 2013
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Support
by: Anonymous

I joined this wonderful group to learn more about hand flapping and current pediatric research at John Hopkins. Go to Zfacebook and search for the group called "Complex Motor Sterotopy".

May 30, 2013
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7 year old daughter
by: Amanda

My daughter has rubbed her cheeks since she was 2. She does this when she gets very excited. The more excited she gets, the more she rubs her cheeks. When we went to Disney she had rub burns on her cheeks. She is very smart and social. She plays sports, guitar and twirls baton. The only thing that makes me nervous is the reaction of others. My little girl is so happy and sweet and I do not want people to make her feel bad for rubbing her cheeks. We all have things we do that make us different, hers is just more noticeable. I wish people could just worry about their own lives and not focus so much on what makes our sweet babies different. I think different is special! How boring would it be if we were all the same!?!?

May 07, 2013
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Mom of a hand flapper
by: Rachel

My little guy is almost 6. He was diagnosed with sensory processing disorder a year ago. He has had occupational therapy and that has been a very positive experience for us! The hand flapping has never bothered us, except for the fact that it is not socially acceptable. Just this week he told me that he was called stupid by another little boy because he was flapping his hands in school. So do I teach him ways to control the flapping? Or do I teach him about how to handle a bully? My little guy is perfect and brilliant and he is going to do amazing things in his life. I just wish the rest of the world could see what I see.

Apr 28, 2013
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Adult hand flapper response to Heather
by: Anonymous


I don't have kids so i cannot fully put myself in your shoes Heather, but i wouldn't worry about looking into therapies just yet. The only comments i remember hearing as a child were 'oh stop spriggerling!' So they even invented a name for it in my case, but it was meant affectionately. But in most cases it's social conforming that inhibits most things, i guess? Ever seen kids who happily pick their nose in front of you as embarrassment has still not struck them yet? That changes.

I think if someone put me near a horse at 6 years old, i would have flapped my hands right off with excitement. But maybe it is successful for your son. As for sensitive clothes, i hated wool and always will ;)

Apr 27, 2013
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Thank you adult flappers!
by: Heather

THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! The teen and adult flappers who have responded have really eased my mind in knowing my little boy will find a way to discreetly fulfill this need as he gets older. He currently does it in public and does not mind a bit! He is 6 years old and flaps and moves his fingers and shakes his legs and puts his mouth into an "O" shape (like tensed) when excited or in anticipation of something getting ready to occur - like watching a race. He also does it when he draws (which he is very good at) and then looks at the drawing. He says it is like the drawing comes to life in his mind.

I need some advice from the older and wiser flappers. : )

1) Do you wish your parents would have mentioned it more to help you control it or less/not at all when you were a child?

2)I thought about starting him in some sort of occupational therapy because he also has a mild clothing sensitivity issue and a slight tic when nervous or anxious. I researched hippo therapy with horses that seems to calm kids and help with sensory stuff. What is your opinion?

Thanks!!!

Apr 26, 2013
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Flapper
by: Anonymous

I am 20 years old and a college athlete. I struggle with flapping as well. It does not impede me socially I simply have a consistent necessity to let up the pent up energy that is built up inside of me. I have done this since forever, and I was not actually aware of my doing it or that it was... unusual until my mother and grandmother pointed it out. It is rather embarrassing, and it is really hard to control when I get really excited. I have done some considerations on it recently and realized that it is the only way I can relieve the bubble of excitement or happiness that I get when daydreaming or imagining things.

Apr 21, 2013
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son stimmy scares me!
by: Anonymous

my son is seven months old and he has been twicthing his hands and rolling his wrosts almost all the time. i can get hos attention vocally or with a touch turn will turn and engage sometimes keep doing it sometimes stop. he stops when i gove him a toy as well. loves visual stuff like fans too. he is advanced in all otjer area sometimes the hands r going so fast it scarez me! i have an app to get it tested soon next thursday. i am so scared he didnt start till he was four months old.

Apr 12, 2013
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We have the smartest, most beautiful 7yr old hand flapper!!
by: 3blueyedglrz

I've been smiling & chuckling while reading many of the past stories & comments. My husband & I have been (just slightly) concerned about our oldest daughter's hand flapping. We first noticed it when she was 4 1/2. It also started when she went through about a 3 month period of stuttering, which resolved just as quickly. She began reading at age 2 1/2 and is now reading The Hobbit & every Goosebumps book she can get her hands on. She is extremely loving & affectionate, & has a huge vocabulary. Yes, she talks non-stop & always on HIGH volume. She is well mannered, for the most part...always wanting to please her parents & teachers. However, most family members, teachers, and other parents, notice that she is "different" or "sensitive". She is very impulsive. When she gets excited, she'll run right up or out into the thick of the excitement (into the firing range of pellet gun, into the face of a huge dog, accross the road in traffic or parking lot, etc.) There's also the sensory issues. She severely hates things that smell...like anything. She cries EVERY DAY with tooth brushing, hand washing, soap or shampoo of ANY kind, air freshener, perfume, smoke, or anything strong or foul smelling. Then there's the flapping. It's only when she is happy or excited. Sometimes with objects in motion like big fans or watching roller coasters. But if she is standing up and playing a game or DS, or cards, or baby dolls, or anything that makes her happy or excited...she's flapping. I was never concerned until a teacher said something about it. Apparently, it is somewhat disruptive. She sits in the front row near the teacher in her home room class. In music, PE, art, or other classes, she is placed next to the teacher. I've found out recently it's because she is easily distracted. They all say she is a wonderful student & is always very excited about class, but that her excitement (loud talking, constant questioning, & hand flapping) is distracting. I don't think she is autistic in the LEAST! And I strongly believe that if this is ADHD, she is handling it well. It's just wonderful to add her story to all of yours. Maybe this will help others see that they are not alone. And in fact, it seems that many hand-flappers (& closet flappers, haha) are among the most brilliant minds. I wonder if picaso or mozart were hand flappers?

Apr 03, 2013
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11 year old son is a hand flapper
by: Lucky Parent

So glad to had found this disscussion, my son has flapped not only his hands, but objects in his hands. He really started when he was about 4years old. He is a very gifted child when it comes to school, computers and video games. He is in the 5th grade and reads on a high school level. I have noticed he will not look others in the eye and his social skills are not so good with adults or other children that aren't interested in what he is interested in. He has never really played with toys. He watches You tube viseos of "how things were made", "Steve Jobs" "the history of You Tube" "the history of video games" He has never misbehaved a day in his life, never through tantrums and he hardly cried as a baby. I feel so blessed, but I do have concerns, I have often wondered about autism, but I really don't think it is that.I just think he is so unique, in a great way.

Mar 14, 2013
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Fast hand moving
by: Anonymous

WOW I am so glad I found this...I have been doing this since I can remember...I used to just get so happy I felt like I couldn't control it so it felt good to move my hands haha I am now a very successful division 1 college athlete...I still do this in private lol

Mar 11, 2013
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10 year old daughter does this
by: Anonymous

She has been flapping ever since she was a baby. She has great grades, average to good at sports, and an exceptional artist. her school "flagged" her last year and asked us to seek out counseling. Well we did and now the counselor is telling us to see a specialist who may be able to "treat" the problem with medication. I am so angry, I don't know where to begin. So now I must medicate my child so that the bullies won't focus on her? What a B.S. society we live in. Thank goodness gay people have pushed the boundaries of normalcy and put the finger on the people with the real problem - the bully's - these who gain pleasure from hurting people emotionally or physically.

I love the wheel of fortune comment. Imagine if the winners just stood there and didn't react.

Feb 25, 2013
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Maybe the reason?
by: Anonymous

I left a comment earlier in this thread as an adult doing this strange hand flapping. It got me thinking about why? I suspect it creates an adrenaline or endorphine rush, as i notice my pupils seriously dilate when i do this. So maybe it's a gentle addiction. Humans are weird whatever, but its all biology i guess.

Feb 05, 2013
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9 yo flaps
by: Anonymous

My almost 10 year old was/is a hand flapper when he gets excited, scared, or really happy. He has substitued most of the flapping for rubbing his palms together instead. I used to be very concerned and consulted several doctors, but he always tested fine. Everything else seems to be mostly "normal". He has some focus issues, has a hard time with reading/writing and goes to speech for the "sh" and "ch" sound..but he has always been very vocal (quite a yacker actually). His comprehension is above normal and he is really good at math and science. He has friends, plays on a baseball team and seems to be well liked in school by his peers. He will grow up to be like most adults, "normal with something odd thrown in". :)

Jan 29, 2013
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36 hand flapper and wolf biter confession
by: Anonymous

I'm now 36 and still need to daily find time to let out extreme energy by hand flapping. I'd die of shame if anyone saw me. But if i dont do it for a couple of days an irritating sensation builds up. Its probably linked to my dreadful finger skin picking and biting. Otherwise i'm errr...well... Normal.

Jan 23, 2013
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i do this too
by: sarah

Hi, i'm 25 and i still flap my hands when i'm alone and particularly happy or excited about something, or imagining something very vividly. I've always done it as far as I can remember, and I've always felt embarassed about it so obviously I never did it in public.. I thought I was the only person who did it and I was really surprised to find out that it is often related to Aspergers. I am a very sociable person and always have been.. although I have to say that as a child I had other issues which could seem a bit OCD such as compulsive hand washing, repetitive checking and having to touch things a certain number of times.. But while these tipes of behaviour were at times annoying and frustrating for me, the hand-flapping really was not. I don't think it brought me any problems: I have many friends, go out quite a lot (well, except when studying hard for an exam in which case I disappear from the world!) and have always been a very good student.

Jan 05, 2013
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Hand flapping
by: Anonymous

I'm 17 and I usually do this when I'm alone is it related to the fact that I am ADHD I'm so embarrassed about this bad habbitt since I'm 17 should I be worried that I continue to do this since It started when I was about 1

Dec 25, 2012
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Hand flapping,self soothing, toe walking
by: Anonymous

I have been researching this since my child turned 6 months. She is almost 4 now and she is not autistic but she is highly or profoundly gifted as many of the others in the comment stream stated about themselves or their kids. Here is a fantastic summary of the link: nspt4kids.com/therapy/does-hand-flapping-mean-autism/.

I am interested in helping my daughter learn how to reign it in so that she doesn't get crap about it in public, and that is all. As her assynchronous brain developed, she became less and less interested in the physical, because so much is happening up there. So, she has decreased body awareness and low muscle levels, therefore this kind of a thing just happens. Also does like a child yoga pose self soothing thing when stressed and toe walks like a few minutes some days. Pointing it out to her and encouraging squeezing hands together makes it stop. Hand flapping is frequently classified with sensory issues, and so heavy work and sensory diet (use the google for more info on these, or search the above site or starfish therapies for ideas) may help with these, but possibly not. You know why? It only seems to work for kids to bring down their arousal or excitement level if it is self-initiated and not imposed in many cases. I would LOVE it if any of the kind folks reading this who do this would try an experiment for me, so i can help her control it later if she has questions for me... If you did this: a bunch of heavy work like lifting boxes or weights, and then do something that would normally make you flap, do you still flap? Seriously, I want to know. The heavy work seems to do nothing directly, but. What has seemingly helped is addressing some of their lagging physiological development so that she can be more physical with physical therapy (she is overly flexible and has extremely flat feet) and now she seems to be able to manage her arousal level better. Umm, high engine levels can be also indicated by trouble falling or staying asleep. She also has emotional modulation issues, not a shock with the high engine. I would love to know how much of a link is there, and also if the others who flap also have the self soothing positions like rocking etc, if expecting a stressful event or having experienced one.

Can someone explain more the "playing back the exciting thing over and over in your head" please?? She seems to do it for good/excited hand flapping and the rocking for bad, sad stressful.

I am only asking because when she is older to ask me why she does this and how to make it go away or reign in or whatever, so I have better answers. I'm perfectly happy for her to continue flapping and am ready to deal with the flack from other parents. All kids have little things that make them diffent and thats the most wonderful thing.

Dec 19, 2012
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Suspected there were otheres
by: John

I'll be fifty soon and I've been doing this as far back as I can remember. I've learned to control it in my teens and never do it in public, however when alone and excited or feeling good about something, I can zone out and play the same thoughts over and over with my hands very stiff or mildly shaking behind my back. I used to rub my palms together, but I stopped that. I've never addressed it to my doctor and have no intention to. Funny thing about it is I don't ever do it when I'm angry or sad. I guess this is who I am and its good to know that there are others like me who doesn't feel something's wrong with them.

Dec 10, 2012
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Another Adult Flapper
by: Anonymous

I'm 27 now, and I've always flapped as well. When I was a child, I used to do it more obviously, but now I can kind of hold it back in public, mostly sub-consciously, to some degree. Otherwise, I'm healthy, social, and well-adjusted! ;) I was also classified as a gifted learner throughout school, and I'm just doing my Master's degree now. I didn't have any related diagnoses (unless a hearing loss could be considered related).

Dec 07, 2012
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thank you!
by: Anonymous

My son is 3 and almost exactly as you describe...in preschool, social, affectionate. He just hand flaps when he sees things in motion. I would also like to thank the teen and adults for sharing. We are so relieved. God Bless you all!

Oct 04, 2012
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65 years old and still hand-flapping
by: Anonymous

As a child I did it in public and any time something excited me. Now I still do it but subconsciously I automatically and only do it when I am completely alone. My family has noted that I perform some other gesture with my hands when I am excited or anxious in public. It is much less dramatic...it is making a fist a both hands and sort of rubbing my knuckles together (sort of what people do when they are trying to warm up when they are cold).

I am flabbergasted that I do this--(hand flapping), and never revealed to any professional. I thought I was the only person in the world that did this, and thought so until yesterday when I saw your site here.

I can assure the concerned parents that I am normal in every other way---well, I guess that's debatable! I'm told I'm a tad eccentric and I do have many 'causes'. I am married have two grown daughters and four grandchildren--it is apparently not an inherited habit, as no one else in my family hand flaps! It only occurs when I am happy or very excited about something --not when I am sad.
What made me look it up yesterday, was that I recently attended a reunion of the children I grew up with and they were all bringing up the fact that I hand-flapped! I never knew it had a 'name'. This has been my "affliction" ever since I can remember--but it hasn't held me back at all.

Oct 02, 2012
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flapping my hands
by: Linda

Okay, I'm in my 6th DECADE.....thought I was the only one who hand-flapped!! As a child I did it in public without shame....as I grew, I automatically was able to control it in front of others.....Still do it when I am alone....usually when I am excited or proud of something!! I always wondered what it was and why I do it??? I just don't know??? Never do when I'm sad....just excited.

Aug 01, 2012
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Face squeezing
by: rab

My daughter is 6 and will periodically squeeze her cheeks with her fists. Sometimes she will do it several times in a couple minutes and there are times when you don't see it at all. At school they have given her a ball to squeeze instead of pressing on her face. I ask why she does it and she says it hurts. We thought it might be an allergy issues since it seemed like she was pressing on her nasal cavity but after many doctors that does not seem to be the issue. It seems to be some form of stimming. She also sucks her pinky finger at home while watching tv but that is it. In every other way she is fine with no developmental issues at all. It seems to be an uncommon form of stimming and I am not sure what to make of it.

Jul 15, 2012
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my 3yr old does this too!!
by: Kim

My son was just diagnosed with a mild case of autism 2 wks ago. He too does the arm flapping and has his mouth opened at the same time. At first they (evaluators speech and OT) said it could be self stimulating and may not be anything. He has speech therapy and occ therapy at his preschool. He didnt show the "classic" signs of autism. He does talk (50%intelligible) he plays with other children he's VERY affectionate, eye contact. He has poor cognitive skills. He has a hard time phrasing questions. He has little imagination, immature, and just not understanding things we say to him. I think part of it is because he had fluid in his ears and wasnt hearing us correctly. He has had PE tubes in and things are improving. I just wonder if the arm flapping will ever go away.

Jul 11, 2012
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omg
by: loving mum

I am loving the comments on this page. my 6 year old son has other children around just like him! My son flaps his hands while he has stiffened arms and body and holds his mouth open and makes a noise like he is taking a deep audible breath in, when he is excited or nervous, or extremely interested in something or someone. it started from around one, where he would just flap his hands, but it has progressed to a whole body motion as i explained before. I thought mabe he had a.s, because my brother has it, but i just dont know. my son also crys alot over nothing and can throw tantrums too. he loves watching gum ball machines or like wise things where a ball spins round and round down a tube etc. he is so obsessed with food too. i have five other children and apart from my 8 year old daughter having no attention span, none of my other children behave like my son. my son deoesnt like loud noises either. Does anyone have any advice?

Jun 30, 2012
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Maybe it's not ASD after all
by: Seraphim's Mom

I'm a mother of a 20-month old who hand-flaps and grits his teeth when he's too excited. It became most noticeable when he turned 18 months. For peace of mind, I had him assessed at 19 months, but mostly for speech delay. We thought it was just that. But the moment of truth came when my son failed all (PEDS, MCHAT, etc) This had me looking into ASD which I haven't been entertaining before. Dev't Pedia said he got a lot of Red Flags. It was a roller-coaster of emotion. I started my research on ASD since then (a month ago). But first & foremost the changes that we had to do to see if his speech will improve.

Doctor's top of list, NO TV! It sure helped a lot. Saw his quick improvement in days. Next, let him mingle with other children. Since he's our first born, we were so overprotective and we didn't even notice that my son has no playmate for 1 1/2 years. Just us,all adults.
After a month of following the no TV route and letting him play with other children, his speech greatly improved. And the social skills as well. He's role-playing and following instructions already. Note: he's a happy, warm and cuddly baby boy. Thus, I'd really like to rule out ASD.
However, with all the improvement, hand-flapping is and teeth-gritting is still there. And this site http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/neurology_neurosurgery/specialty_areas/pediatric-neurology/conditions/motor-stereotypies/symptoms.html helped me a lot to understand the repetitive movements that he's doing. Thanks to one post here who mentioned about this. I just hope that he outgrows it in time or at least when he could express himself thru words already. My heart will always be hopeful...

Jun 23, 2012
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I agree-what is this?
by: Anonymous

My son is 7 and still doing this. He is very social, does great in school, also very into technological and mechanical things-anything. We recently had him screened for asbergers but the psychologist said if anything he may be borderline at best. So what in the world is the hand flapping thing? Will it go away or does it need to be addressed? No one else in our family does this.

Jun 19, 2012
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5 year old hand flaps
by: Anonymous

My 5 year old has been hand flapping since he was 2 years old. I never worried because my husband’s sister did it when she was little too. He was starting to not do it as much but he is recently in swimming lessons and when the teacher puts him on the ledge he does it the whole time he out of the water. This other mother was laughing at him. I got really embarrassed for him. He only does it when he is excited and he is very excited to swim. He is very smart in school and has lots of friends. He can focus on things and listens very well to the teachers. I hope this is something he grows out of, I do not want him to be made fun of. I am going to bring it up to his pediatrician at his next visit.

Jun 07, 2012
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13 year old daughter still hand flaps a bit
by: Robin

My daughter is now 13 and still flaps, flutters, wristrolls and does a motion that looks like she's trying to shake water off of both wrists. She used to go up on her toes a lot when doing it; I haven't seen that combo in at least 6 months, though. She's a good student, very sociable, makes eye contact, etc., so I don't think it's anything to worry about. Her 32 year old male cousin (her father's cousin, actually) did it (and still does once in a rare while, but only when watching t.v.). I wouldn't worry too much.

May 22, 2012
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im 20 and still do this
by: Anonymous

I never tell anybody or let people see me do this because its very embarrassing . I grit my teeth and flap my hands or clamp them into fist when im alone and thinking or getting highly excited. I do it a lot everyday and always when im alone it does bother me and would love to know what it was.

Apr 24, 2012
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hand flapping
by: Anonymous

Hi
Funny i was just looking into this i am 36 and always remembered when i was young hand flapping, i sort of went into a intense day dream, and i find myself flapping my hands. I realsied from quite young that people thought it was adnormal so i hid it, but i still did it on my won for years, and still do on occasion now. It is a sort of relaese i suppose i dont really knwo how to explain it. But i never had any other issues, im now a doctor and a pilot.

Apr 12, 2012
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Hand Flapping
by: Bea

My son, who is now 36, flapped his hands when he was little and excited about something. I don't know if there is a correlation, but he was diagnosed in second grade with Tourettes Syndrome. Thank goodness, his case was mild.

His son, my grandson, is now five and he used to flap his hands when excited, but I haven't seen it in quite a while. We thought it was cute! lol

Apr 11, 2012
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The boy inside.
by: mbeatty

My son has been stemming since he was about 1 years old. As a parent me and my husband have gone around and around getting to the bottom of this to better help him. We have finally after many doctors found out he has non autistic complex motor stereotypes. If you want to learn more Google it.I was amazed to see other kids like my son. The hardest part was all the times doctors would say he had adhd and I just know that wasn't the issue. Something that helps some is a dye free diet. It can be hard to do but can slow down some of the stemming and the extra stimulation that causes it. People will stare and it does break your heart cause it does mine often but I wouldn't change my son for the world. His heart is just so big and people just looked on the inside the world would be a better place.

Apr 02, 2012
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Hand flapping 3 year old
by: Anonymous

Its such a relief to sad all your comments. I am beside myself trying to figure out my 3 year old. he flaps his hand when he's excited and jumps one one leg at a time, and makes a funny sound. He's got speech delay but i see a great improvement in the last few months. He seems to be an intelligent boy. He knows all his alphabets since the age of 2 and can count up to 30 or more and recognizes his shapes and colors. He also recognizes his numbers. He's not social at all. he doesn't play with his peers in class but loves his teachers. He can sing his nursery rhymes all day.

My other concern is that he doesn't say yes and no! I don't know of he's being stubborn or what the problem is. I have had him assessed twice but don't know what it is as yet.

Mar 28, 2012
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My son
by: Anonymous

I have a 5 year old his in kindergarten he a flapper his not doing good at school he moves away from other Kids when playing he doesn't really talks to anyone but my husband and I and his sisters I went to school so I can get help they hey said my son haa autism can some one tell me if those a signs of autism at home his very good his knows his numbers and his ABC um very surprise how his a very different person at school he shuts down my 3 year old is a out going girl but my son his friendly. but when kids talks to him he walks way sometime can someone help

Mar 24, 2012
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Stimming
by: Anonymous

I have read many stories of hand flapping from, i dont have autism and i hand flapped my whole life, to i think my child my have some signs of autism. I have a 5 year old with autism who when from severe to high functioning from infancy and i will say the HUGE difference is that a person with autism can not control it and typiclly when they get older are aware it is "different". It is almost an obsession and they usually stim VERY often! I know my son does it more when he is not feeling well or when stressed out! Hope this helps some out?

Mar 23, 2012
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Kids need time to develop neurologically
by: Anonymous

Stop with the stim and autism. Kids have immature nervous systems!!!! Many kids have tics or similar behaviors and outgrow them entirely or they really reduce in frequency as kids age. Stop looking for diagnoses or you'll be miserable. Not all kids are social. Not all make great eye contact not all talk on time or well. The world was a better place before we agonized over our kids and made therapists and neurologists and child shrinks and aba nuts totally rich. Enjoy your kids!!!!!

Mar 05, 2012
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Hand flapping to cheek squeezing?
by: Temo

At the early age of 20 months, my daughter started holding her breath whenever she got excited. There are no specific objects or singular things that triggered it, just happy situations. We would sometimes have to tap or lightly shake her because she would turn red. Scary.

At the age of 26 months she went from holding her breath to flapping. We found it cute and better than the breath holding. Grandma even nicknamed her, " my little penguin", which she loves. Now, at 4 years old she has transitioned into squeezing her cheeks tightly whenever she is very happy, excited or surprised. We are starting to worry. I don't know where to start with diagnosing her. Suggestions? Please.

Feb 29, 2012
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Hand flapping to Stemming
by: Anonymous

In reading the comments, I see a little bit of all of the kids described in my 5 year old son who was diagnosed with autism. He did the hand flapping between 18-24 months and replaced it with stemming. He loves narrow objects such as a CD case, toothbrush handle, sole of a flip-flop, etc. which he uses to "stem". He's full of excitement when he's holding either of the objects. He'll place the object on the end of a table or on a ledge, get really close up on them and make a strange face as if he's somehow communicating with the object.This behavior (called stemming) is very stimulating to them and it has a calming affect on them. He will find anything narrow to 'stem' with if the above objects aren't at his disposal. If he can't, he doesn't 'stem'.

Feb 26, 2012
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a web site that might help
by: Anonymous

hi my daughter hand flaps and i found a site that explains these movements, primary complex motor stereotypies. hope this helps

Feb 16, 2012
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Thank you, adult and teen flappers
by: Carolyn

I really appreciate the comments by folks who have been hand flappers all their lives. My five year old son never flaps at home and seems great to me, but his teacher wants him to be checked for autism because he flaps at school sometimes and doesn't like really noisy environments. My kid sounds like me, though I've never flapped. It makes me feel good to hear about other hand flappers who are enjoying life and doing just fine. I love my kid as he is and he'll be fine. Thanks for sharing; your comments helped me!

Feb 16, 2012
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19 month old
by: Anonymous

I was brought to this page because my son hand flaps, bounces and grimaces. I thought the grimace was just a new smile he was trying out... but because the hand flapping occurs when he is excited and same with the bouncing... I tend to now think its all related.

He doesnt speak at all. He has said 8 words but will not re-use them if asked. He is very expressive, empathetic, loving and focuses on me when I talk. For those reasons, I dont think he is autistic..but the other things had me worried. When he bounces, he actually comes right off the floor...but he always loved his jolly jumper so I thought maybe this was why.
I dont know who can help as his pediatrician thinks its nothing to worry about... yet.
Any suggestions?

Jan 10, 2012
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Help for hand flapping
by: Anonymous

My son 17 years still stands on toes, flaps his hands, making noises whenever he is exited and wherever he is. Since when he was a baby he was attracted and flapped hands in excitement to things like running water, blinking lights, ceiling fans etc. He has finished X with 70%, However once in college he started loosing friends, getting lower grades and subjected to ridicule by faculty due to this peculiar behavior. due to this he went into depression and subsequently developed problems due to wrong diagnosis. I am looking for solution to this problem badly

Dec 10, 2011
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Thanks to all
by: Renee

Reading all your post has reassured me a little. My son just started school. He loves it, and is learning a lot. His teacher unfortunately think he suffer from ADHD. A little research led me to SPD, which is a better fit. He often would run around the yard or house, hand flapping, pretending to be a snowblower or lawnmower or some kind of machine. Just like so many others have mentioned, he loves wheels, water, marbles runs, etc. He goes into his own little bubble when he plays like this. Someone mentioned imagination often went with the hand movement. I had to laugh when someone mentioned their child caused a nose bleed during lego time...Mine threw sand in his classmates face because he was flicking the sand (or snow). It's part of his habit. So is the teeth grinding. Thanks again for sharing your stories. They confirmed what I knew, that his got his own little beat going, but he'll be okay with a little support.

Dec 05, 2011
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My 4 year old does this too
by: Anonymous

I am so relieved to read all of your posts. I have been besides myself today because my son does this too. He is a TOTALLY normally developing child and has great language skills and is very social. But he Flaps his hands, goes up on his toes and his mouth makes a funny shape and he goes into a trance when he is excited. People stare at him when he does it, but I am not sure what to do. I dont want to make him feel bad about it, but I do not want him to get made fun of when he goes to school. I will definitely google that website that one poster wrote about Primary Complex Motor Stereotypies. Best wishes to all of you.

Nov 16, 2011
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Hand Flapping
by: Anonymous

My 7 yr. old daughter has been hand flapping since she was an infant. She will do this along with standing on her toes and rolling her eyes up (kind of staring into space). It seems to mostly happen when she is excited and has not interfered with her progress at school. She's a good student and pretty athletic (good at gymnastics). My husband thinks it's cute and the pediatrician said that when the kids start making fun of her she will grow out of it. Well, the kids are starting to make fun of her and it's worrying me. She gets along great with other kids but is a little socially awkward and "quirky". I've started to gently point it out to her to see if she can control it. Any other suggestions?

Oct 26, 2011
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hand flapping
by: Anonymous

I know my comment is late, but I was reading one post by a woman named Leslie, about her 8 year old daughter's hand flapping. My daughter is 8 also, and has been hand flapping since she was only months old...it started decreasing a little until this year in 2nd grade. It is so bad she is not hearing the teachers instructions. I have an appointment with a behavioral specialist but she can't see us until the end of December. She was in early intervention since she was a year and a half..no one ever said she had any form of autism..but I am beginning to think she wasn't seen by the right doctors.

Oct 24, 2011
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Me too
by: elle

As long as I remember I have waved and flapped my arms wiggled my fingers when i'm exited clenched my fists when i'm sad or angry.am 37 have an honors degree a successful career and 4 children who all display some of my physically expressive actions.

I have never been assessed for anything nor have any of my children. I don't want us too. I like how it makes me feel its a release.

Sep 23, 2011
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I'm a hand flapper
by: Anonymous

I have been hand flapping as long as I can remember. I am 21 years old. I flap when I get excited or if I concentrate on something. I don't have any sort of disorder or autism as far as I know, but I've never been checked for anything either. I definitely don't think I will grow out of it. It really isn't a problem either, except for when my family teases me about it (all in good fun, though). So while you may want to get your kids checked out, it is entirely possible that there is nothing wrong with them.

Sep 23, 2011
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Flapping may be stereotypies
by: Carolyn

Hi,
I'm researching why my 5yrold son does a happy dance when he is really excited (he did his dance all thru the airport). He has now started to wave his hands a bit at school and his teacher wants to refer him to a specialist for an autism check. He is a very social child and bonds well with other kids and adults. I think my kid has Primary Complex Motor Stereotypies; John Hopkins University has a web site about stereotypies--google it. Stereotypies are when your child does hand flapping or a little dance or foot tapping, etc when he is engrossed in a pleasurable activity, excited, stressed or tired. Please research stereotypies to see if that fits your child. Children who have stereotypies are not autistic; they just do body movements that many autistic children do. I hope this helps. I don't want my kid mislabled as autistic if he's just a bit different. Success everyone!

Jul 15, 2011
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Flapping of hands
by: Anonymous

I also have a "flapper" he is going to be nine years old and he does this when he is excited about something, for example, playing video games, etc.He does great in school, A student, and has lots of friends. The only thing that worries me is that he is getting older, and kids get meaner. When he is flapping, now I tend to bring it up,so he can be aware.Lets see if this stops as he matures.

Jun 27, 2011
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HABIT REVERSAL TRAINING?
by: VINNY

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Habit_reversal_training

Has anyone tried habit reversal, or anything like it?

My daughter is 10 and flaps when she is watching something very stimulating. She tends to also tiptoe and roll her eyes up. It does not last long and is easily interuptable. she is excellent academically, generally okay socially and in all other situations is fine. She could for example, go to a movie/show, play with her friends or do a dance class without flapping. However, if she was in a game where each one is knocked out one by one, and she is sitting watching the game continue, she flaps like mad.

It does alienate her from other kids, as they dont know what to make of it, and we have been trying ways to make her more aware of when it happens so she can try to control it, but its a tough slog.

Thanks to the posters who have this condition and give their personal accounts, they are really helpful.

Apr 01, 2011
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You don't out grow this.
by: 44 & still flapping

I am 44, college educated, married, and mother of 4 kids, and socially involved in my community. I have had the hand flapping problem for as long as I can remember. I also have tricomania and its variants such as skin picking, nail picking, etc. I also have a breath holding habit. One of my kids also has severe problems with all of these habits. He is in gifted program at school. You don't out grow this - you learn to live with it!

I don't have any medical training but having lived with it I find that stress alsways makes it worse and also allergies (esp. food - wheat & milk) make it worse. when both I and my son had orthodontic palete expanders things got better for a while. I don't know if a high palete arch which limits nose breathing is related but for me I think it is. Some orthodontists will treat palete expansion issues at the age of 4. I would strongly recommend finding one and getting your hand flapping kids looked at! I have watched the special needs kids in my childrens grades develop for years. Those who had orthodontic treatment non-stop during their entire youth (yes its expensive) did significantly better than similarly disabled peers. Don't know that I like the idea but one ortho I checked out wanted to have an ENT remove some of my son's tissue from his nose - to make more room for air passage.

Mar 30, 2011
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Sports ..
by: Anonymous

It sounds like your son has some kind of sensory issue. Mine does as well. I am the original poster of this thread. My son is now in kindergarten and is doing great. When he gets nervous, excited, fearful, etc. The flapping is more pronounced. They have a hard time modulating their excitement. I was told by a researcher at UCSF that Michael Jordan moves his tongue in and out really fast during games as his "version" of hand flapping. It does sound to me like you are embarrassed by this behavior. It is not a big deal. Some people twirl their hair, or have nervous laughter or even tap their fingers when nervous or excited. A soccer game brings out the adrenaline so it makes sense he would do it during this time. please encourage your son instead of being "over it" Ashton say. It is not shameful he is showing joy.

Mar 30, 2011
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Flapping
by: Anonymous

I notice all your comments in this post are about you..."you" can't handle it, " I'm so over it". It seems that you are embarrassed by it. Who cares if you live in a small town or not. What does that have to do with anything?. This is about making your son comfortable and "helping" him handle it. After speaking to one of the top pediatric neurologists I came to realize so what if they flap. If they are well adjusted and not injuring themselves who cares. I have been embarrassed when my son flaps for example..in front of the whole school. I have to put "me" aside and then help him find something that may be less disruptive. making it shameful or making him feel bad doesn't help anyone. Watch a few of the top athletes and see their quirks. Stress, worry, embarrassment makes it worse and happen more sometimes. Tell your son he is awesome, you are proud of him, and flapping is a part of who he his..accept it and see if it doesn't get better.

Mar 30, 2011
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I cant handle it
by: Anonymous

My 7 year old boy does this and he has learned to control it some , however he is a soccer player and a huge star in are small town for his soccer skills . Well i find myself sometimes during a game calling his name because he will start that hand flap thing and holds his breath !!

What is this and why do so many kids have this .. My Daughter is 3 and has showed no sign what so ever , My son has done it sense he could move , only when he watches a fan or video game , race cars , into something moving really fast . well the other night after soccer we our at the kitchen table and i ask him son , why do you do this and his answer was mom i know i doing it , but i cant control it unless you call my name to snap me back to life. I mean I am just sooooo over this , he has slowed it down sense he started school .. But I dont know what to make of it !!! I dont do it and my husband doesnt our daughter doesnt , i feel for sure he has no disorder because he very social , big time sports player in are town at only age 7 , all A's in kindergarten and First grade ???? i dont know i just know that i cant always be there to call his name to snap him back out of this hand flap thing ...

Mar 07, 2011
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best book!`
by: Anonymous

for those of you who have not read this book, get The Out-of-Sync Child. It is one of the best resources I have found and give one to your childs teacher as well if they are unfamiliar with it.

Mar 07, 2011
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7 year old with hand flapping
by: Mr. M

My 7 year old boy will flap his hands and run around the room in short spurts. He has had trouble focusing at school, or in activities like reading. He is somewhat uncoordinated, and will not participate in group sports. He is mostly shy, quiet, but has made some friends since moving him to a smaller, private school.

We've only recently taken action in regards to getting help for him. We met with an autism specialist over a year ago, thinking he might be on the ASD spectrum somewhere. But I'm not sure that he fit into that diagnosis after researching SPD. We have him scheduled to meet a Neurological/Development specialist.

Hearing from friends with children with similar habits, the key is getting them into coping activities (in our case, getting him on a trampoline or rebounder)that will help them to focus on things like his school work. This has worked wonders for children like my boy. We hope to fill my son's "toolbox" for dealing with his sensory processing difficulties, so that he knows how to cope in life.

All that to say - get help where you can. There seems to be more and more awareness of the SPD issues, and I have to believe more opportunities to get our kids the help they need. DO NOT be alone in your frustration, but continue to seek out those that can help. They are there, such as those on this site.

It goes without saying, but love those kids. As I'm finding my son has unique giftings and talents that come along with the quirkiness. He is who he is, and needs my support and help. I want to help him on his journey, and I need to grow in my acceptance and patience with him.

Mar 02, 2011
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flapping...hit someone
by: Megan

Well, it happened today. My son was at his lego class which he absolutely looks forward to and loves. When I went to pick him up it was reported that he hit another kid in the face and gave him a bloody nose, which is totally out of character for my son. After talking it over with him he told me it was while he was flapping his hands. The teacher confirmed that it seemed like that was the case as the kids weren't arguing or fighting but were just bending over doing an activity. I feel so sorry for him and the other kid who was sitting there crying while I tried to apologize to his mother. I am so frustrated about the whole thing. Lately I have been trying to gently cue him that it is okay to do it but he should be aware and not do it around other people. It seems to be backfiring and he is doing it more often...and now this. He is 5 years old.

Feb 21, 2011
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My hand-flapper
by: worried2

My son is 4 years old now, he is well aware of his flapping and at times tries to hide it. He only does it when really excited or transition times. His father's cousins have all reported that they had the hand flapping too when they were small, only one of his 6 cousins still does it at times. I am hoping too that this is something my son will grow out of. Hope this helps some of you, it's good to check out family in regards to the history of hand flapping.

Dec 22, 2010
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hand flapping and walking on tippy toes
by: Anonymous

My 3 year old flaps his hands mostly when he is excited, he is very smart, the other thing he does is that he walks on his tippy toes at times. Sometimes i get worry and I think he is autistic but I think it has to do his nervous system because is mostly when he is excited or bored. I hope time will help and goes away

Oct 16, 2010
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6 year old flapping
by: Anonymous

My daughter is 6 years old and has done the hand flapping or a version of it since she was about 4 months old. We have had her evaluated for autism and have found nothing. She is now being tested for seizures, which I think is ridiculous, but whatever. She seems to do this most when she is excited or in deep concentration, its weird but we have learned to just deal with it.

She does also have other stims as well though, she bites her fingers, twirls her hair and also turns her tongue under a bites it. We try to discourage all of these behaviors but the flapping we just deal with...lol

Oct 02, 2010
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hanf flapping
by: Sandy

My son is 30months and he has done the flapping of the hands, since 6months, when he gets very excited like when he sees the leaves, water, or anything that might catch his attention. He is currently going to a dev. pediatrician and they are trying to rule autism on him.

Sep 30, 2010
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I Have This Habit Too
by: Anonymous

I myself have been hand flapping since I was about 2 or 3 and I still do it currently( I'm 16) I also grind my teeth when I do it and occasionally I will rock back and forth. I always seem to do it when I'm concentrating a lot on something (especially when I'm reading or taking a test of any kind.) Sometimes, I find myself getting really into it and I almost get a workout from it, haha. I never knew why I did it, I guess it's just my way of concentrating and I've never lost the habit. I remember my kindergarten teacher noticed it a lot and talked to my parents about it, concerned. But my parents knew I had no disorder, nothing really wrong. Bottom line is, there's probably nothing to worry about, probably just their way of concentrating or focusing.

Jun 09, 2010
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my son too
by: Craig B

My son has also been doing it from a very early age (6mos?) I just remember him doing it while at crawling age. My son would also gape his mouth a little. I've talked to his pediatrician and also a friend who is a teacher at a school for special needs kids. He is social, shows affection, VERY talkative and has a big vocabulary, can look you in the eyes, etc. I look at it as just an endearing way he shows us he is really excited about something. When people comment on it or try to make him stop I tell them to let him be. I would rather he exert his excitement physically than he be brought up to be overly self-conscious or a bad self-image.

I've begun to teach him when people put him down for it (mostly my father-inlaw) to tell them "that is just the way I am". And my wife and I let him know its ok to do it. I've tried multiple times to convince my father-inlaw its ok for him to do it and he shouldn't be bothered by it because my wife, I , and mother-inlaw are not at all bothered by it.

May 25, 2010
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To Leslie
by: Ursula Gates

My daughter is 11 and does this. My husband tries to get her to stop to. One thing I read from this woman who is high-functioning autistic (which is what my daughter is) she said her mom would allow her to flap her arms, run in circles, or do whatever she needed to do for an hour each day. Then she just tried to keep her busy. That is what I try to do with my daughter. I hope this helps with you.

May 24, 2010
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hand flapping
by: Leslie

Hello,

My daughter is now 8 and has been hand flapping since she was age 1. She seems to flap when she is excited or concentrating on something. When she flaps, her expression looks like she is intensely focusing on something. She calls it her habit. If you interrupt her she will stop with no problem. She tries to hide it by tapping on things with her hands instead of flapping but you can tell what she's doing. Her father really pushes her to stop so she is conscious of hiding it.

Parents and other children have noticed over the years but so far everyone has been kind and seem to ignore it. She does behave oddly in some social situations so I think she has some type of social dysfunction. She is fine academically and seems to be normal most of the time. The doctors we have seen have no suggestions.

We would love to hear if there are others who have a similar condition or have any suggestions or insight.

May 05, 2010
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my son likes water and flaps too
by: Anonymous

My son does this occasionally for a few seconds. He is 25 months old. he also loves to play in water, whether it's getting into my dishwater, the dog bowl, turning the bathtub faucet on and off, or jumping into mud puddles. He is also very happy to watch the ceiling and box fans spin. He jabbers, but says no real words. I am having him evaluated for autism on Friday morning. It's mostly his lack of talking that has me worried, but with the other things combined, I am very scared.

Apr 20, 2010
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To hand flapping anonymous, April 10, 2010
by: Anonymous

Do not give up! If you think something is not right keep up the fight. My daughter had similar problems and others to. My doctor said lets wait every time I brought it up. I also had a feeling that something was wrong. I demanded to see a developmental pediatrician or I was going to a different doctor. He sent me and I found out she was experiencing some mild seizures. That may not be what is going on with yours. It could be something else. Just a thought. Hope it helps and all goes well with you.

My daughter now has a neurologist and is doing good.

Apr 19, 2010
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Hand Flapping
by: Anonymous

I have 7 yr old twins. They both hand flap and have done so since about 6mo old. It's brought on by excitement and deep thought. I have discussed this with the doctor every year. They tell me this is their way of expressing excitement.

However, I am very concerned with my one twin who does it much more than the other. Now he is opening his eyes really wide and rolling his head. This new activity has prompted me to start looking into hand flapping and some reasons behind his new behavior. He is very smart in school and above average. He's social with a lot of friends.

I do have difficulty with him doing his homework. He is also a perfectionist which is something we are working on too. He is a very well-behaved child. Both my twins walk on their toes but only one will walk and flap at the same time. The flapping is not rolling of the wrists but a rather up and down movement. My one child flaps so hard you can hear it. When he walks on his toes and flaps he lowers his arms and stiffens his fingers and does this fast repetitive movement. I can tell him to stop and he will. He does this in school too and tells me he does not care what the other kids say.

The twin that does it less does not do it at all in school. I've asked about autism and tourettes and they assure me it's not either one. Like I said,I'm not too concerned about the child that does not do it often but I will address this again about my other twin. I need some answers too.

Apr 11, 2010
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I understand this better than most
by: Anonymous5

Why do I understand this better? Because I myself have this habit. Ever since I was an infant I have been rolling my wrists and I still do it today (im 18). What triggers it is usually excitement, imagination, thought and even boredom. When I experience this my hands start moving as my thoughts are magnified more than usual and I get a rush of thoughts and imagination. After doing it I notice my heart beat is very high and sometimes I have red blotches on my skin. As long as I remember I have been doing this and I cant break the habit. But now that I realize its potential for my life I somewhat endorse it for the ideas I can generate from this process I experience. Recently in high school I used this to brainstorm for poems for my English class and solutions for my math/science classes. I also realize in my future it could help me if I were to be an inventor or artist. Of course I do not do this in front of any people in fact none of my friends are aware that I do this. Over time I have learned to to control my urges and I only do it now when I am completely alone.

I could write a lot more about this but I just wanted to give parents a more in depth look into what goes on in a childs head when they are rolling their wrists. Also I have been diagnosed with ADHD as a child, im about to complete my last year of high school, I play a varsity level sport, and I have already been accepted to a highly selective college.

So if you see your child is rolling their wrists dont be discouraged you should only be worried about what there going to use it for, you could even look at it as a gift.

If you have any questions feel free to ask I hope this helped.

Mar 31, 2010
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more help
by: melinda

well i would start off by asking for physical therapy and occupational therapy to help him with walking.my son is 3 and gets ot pt and speech therapy he is making some progress but he still hand flaps and when he runs he drags his left foot.is there a program called early intervention in your town because they will help u with all the testing and getting therapy for your child.we get to go to a pediatric neurologist in june to find out if my son has autism we still have no diagnosis.i also heard of some testing like mri of the brain and certain blood tests i will do more research and let u know.but i guess kids with autism there brains are different. well good luck at the appointment.keep us posted

Mar 29, 2010
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hand flapping
by: geri

My 3 1/2 yr old grandson is making gains in preschool. He still flaps when he gets excited. He is receiving speech privately and at school. He is now using pronouns, says I' Hungry. Get me this. His fine motor movement is delayed, he can't rally hold a crayon or draw. He is being followed by a developmental MD as well as a Pediatrician who recognizes he has issues. He has also been on the gluten and casin free diet since he was 12 months.

Mar 28, 2010
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i feel at home
by: selena

wow finally people that understands what going on here too my son ie 20 months old and has dev delays no speech no walking he wants too but he cant balance his self for long and others he hand flaps and get distracted and loves ceiling fans AND STARES OFF he goes to another neuro appt sone what test should i ask the dr about . i felt like no one understands what im going through until i seen this site. its hard.

Feb 24, 2010
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hand flapping
by: Anonymous

Well,this week he began taking showers and does not mind. Very interesting. This morning my wife called and told me that our son wanted to take a shower instead of a bath. We are still concerned w/the hand flapping and his fixation on things. The school began the evaluation process this week and will have to wait for about 2 1/2 mos to get the results. Meanwhile, we called the Regional Center and told them our concerns about our son. The Regional Center told us that he does not qualify for an evaluation or services. He was evaluated also by a doctor who specializes in autism-aspergers and were told that he is not in the spectrum. I know that every single child is different, but can anyone tell me if they think that my son is on the autistic spectrum or perhaps ADHD? We are concern w/the following:

1. hand flapping and fixation on things

2. teacher stated that he has a difficult time re-telling a story.

3. Does not really like to interact w/kids in the classroom,however, he will go up to kids and start a conversation. Likes to play w/sibling, cousins and kids outside of school. Very quiet and shy student.

4. teacher stated that he has hard time processing information, but that he is improving at all levels. He is still below average.

5. Dislikes buttons and sticky things like syrup.

6. Does not focus well. For example, very slow getting out of the car.Seems like his mind is somewhere else.

7. gets frustrated when doing homework.

please, any feedback will be greatly appreciated.

Feb 23, 2010
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response
by: Anonymous

as you read through SPD books you will find that taking showers is a sensitivity to touch thing..is it the feeling of the water that bothers him? His proprioceptive system is probably causing him to get out of the car slowly. My son looks like a drunk person when he goes up stairs. It is the way she perceives things. The focus for SPD kids can vary. UCSF told me each child is different. Most Aspergers kids are off the charts when it comes to intellect. They are incredibly smart. Get all the info you can about SPD and go from there. We have our son in OT and it helps so much. Go to a developmental pediatrician and let them diagnose your child. I try to build on my son's strengths not his weaknesses. For instance he can not do a puzzle to save his life, he does not seek out sporting activities he likes the quiet of computers, books and small toys. We must remember that every child is different. Some will excel in school, others sports and either is ok. Knowledge is power gain all you can.



Feb 23, 2010
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My son also hand flaps
by: Anonymous

My son is 8 yrs old. Since he was a infant, he has rolled his wrist whenever he was excited. As he's grown he kept this behavior up. He also would get fixated on ceiling fans. I actually became used to this behavior believing it was just his way when excited. As the years passed, I realized, it just wasn't right. I've asked more than one pediatrician about the flapping who all said "he'll out grow it" by 6 yrs old and many different doctor visits later,his 1st grade teacher picked up on SPD in my child. The school set up OT for my son to work on fine motor skills. At 8 yrs old he will flap once in while while excited, he will toe walk, but now will mostly twirl a string. I'm now going to look into a behavior therapist and hope that insurance will help out. If anything, hopefully he will be able to help himself when he feels the need to flap toe walk or twirl.

Feb 19, 2010
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in response to 4 1/2 sensory integration
by: Anonymous

Thanks for the feedback,but can you tell me more about sensory integration. I have been reading the book, but what does all this mean as far as my 6year old being successful in school and in social situations. What did the people at USCF tell you? Other things, besides hand flapping and fixation, that I am concerned about is that my son does not like taking showers, is very slow getting in and out of the car,gets frustrated when doing homework, and does not focus well. If you have any knowledge of these behaviors, please share. We don't like the fact that we have to wait 60 days to get the results of our son's school evaluation. We are concerned about Autism or Aspergers.

Feb 18, 2010
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sensory intergration disorder
by: Anonymous

in response to Anonymous...Sensory Integration Disorder is what my son has been diagnosed with. I wrote the original post and my son still, at 4 1/2 flaps but can control it more. I took him to UCSF to the top Ped Neuro. she said he is fine but has a sensory problem. Read the book Out of Sync Child. It is amazing. Not everything pertains but use what you need.

Feb 18, 2010
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6 year old
by: Anonymous

My 6 year old flaps his hands and gets fixated on things. He is in first grade and his teacher does not notice the hand flapping. We notice it at home or in public when he gets excited, or sees bouncing lights or things spinning. He is a very happy kid, enjoys playing with his sibling, cousins and when in public he initiates conversations w/other kids. He hates buttons and has a hard time focusing. His teacher was surprised when we told her that he imitates conversations with other kids outside the school. In class he is very quiet and shy. He has bad penmanship, difficult to retell story and do complex math problems. He is going to be evaluated by the school. Can anyone tell me what condition my son might have? This is driving my wife and I crazy.

Feb 10, 2010
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yes
by: Anonymous

Sam gets really aggressive as well at times. We are working on him to stop hitting so much. Well good luck with it and let us know how it all turned out in june!

Feb 10, 2010
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yes
by: melinda

yes he likes to look at lights. he also hates clothes he likes stacking things and lining things up .he also gets aggressive at times. i have an appointment with a developmental doctor in june i will keep u all posted.we do know he has alot of sensory issues thank u all for your stories

Feb 10, 2010
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Sam the Flapper
by: Crystal

I totally know what you mean when you say he puts things at eye level and starts flapping and how WEIRD that is! Our son is going on 3 yrs old now and he's been doing this for awhile with this one toy he really likes. He puts it at his eye level on the table and stands infront of it and flaps and gets all excited. ha ha! Its pretty comical, really, you have to laugh sometimes! But, it makes you wonder what in the world is going through my child's mind!??!

Samuel has had OT and ST since last summer and has improved but not as well as they say that he "should have"- still working on transitions and hand flapping. They suggested we get further testing at the Child Development Center and look into if he's on the autism spectrum or not. We have those appt.s April and we are anxious to find the results. They know for sure he has SI disorder, but they wonder if it could be more. Trust me, your not alone in this! Our son also LOVES staring at lights. Does your child do this, too??

Feb 09, 2010
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Hand Flapping
by: Anonymous

Sounds just like my Nathan at a early age. He is now 9 years old.He has adhd is on straterra but does continue to flap and at times brush his forehead(over and over) he trys to hold back and not do it and at times it wears him out! He is a happy, straight A student and has just started swimming year round-at meets he usually does it as hes waiting to get on the block.This is so upsetting for him and worries us. They say he will grow out of it-WHEN??

Aug 21, 2009
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im doing the best that i can for my son
by: melinda

I have a son who will be 3 in October and he started hand flapping about 6or 7 months ago i went to his doctor and she set us up with a developmental pediatrician but it is taking for ever to get to see him.this is very frustrating when you notice different behaviors in your kids and you are worried but when you try to tell the doctor and family members about your concerns they look at you like you have two heads.

My son is not diagnosed yet but he hand flaps all the time now and he likes his thomas the train he will put his trains on the tracks and do almost a hand stand and flap his hands while the train is going around but he only looks at the face of the trains and the wheels he also lines up his trains and if someone moves them he flips out. he stacks food and anything he can. He also bites alot but most of the time it doesn't hurt.

Ive had him evaluated like 5 times now im just waiting to see this doctor and i have to travel almost 2 hrs just to see.my son is taking speech 2 times a week and now will be starting pre-school in September and will be receiving ot therapy as well .its just so hard when your trying to do all u can to help your child and the help isn't really there.i know he dont know what he is doing but the biting and the tantrums are hard to handle i cant even bring him place.

If anyone has some good info please fill me in i never had to deal with this i have 2 other kids and never had this situation. im scared and worried about my sons future.

Jun 19, 2009
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HAND FLAPPING
by: Anonymous

To all you concerned parents, hand flapping is a very common symptom of both autism and aspergers syndrome. If you child hand flaps, you should seek testing for a diagnosis. For doctors to say that your child will grow out of this is outrageous, for the child to do well in school and go on to grown and learn in a healthy environment its important to have them tested and diagnosed, its very difficult for a child who is undiagnosed to succeed in school. Other children will eventually notice a difference and make fun of them. Please if your child is a hand flapper, even if they do not have symptoms of autism, they could have aspergers syndrome...seek help.

Jun 12, 2009
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Fragile X question
by: Anonymous

How do they test for Fragile X and what Dr would you see?

May 11, 2009
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....mine 2!!!
by: Tracie

My son is almost 13 now and has been doing the EXACT same thing you mentioned. I've been trying to find a reason behind it and finally he was diagnosed with Fragile X Syndrome... very similar to Autism. Although, he has very mild symptoms, the hand-flapping was the most prominent symptom we had to work with.

First of all we decided to call the specific hand-flapping/starring condition something "not so scary sounding"... my son picked "Scooby face" since he liked Scooby-Doo cartoons. Asking him to hold his hands together and squeeze helps, but what we made sure to do was not make it seem like he was doing something bad.

Once he started school, we told him that God gave him extra energy for a reason, but instead of flapping his hands, it would be better to find another place to put that energy. It's a training process. After he got old enough to talk about how he was feeling during those times he would flap, he said it's like a jolt of power goes down his arm and makes his arms go.

After watching a show about Tourettes Syndrome, my son said, "Mom! That's exactly how I feel when I do Scooby-Face." After that, we worked on NOT flapping in public and letting him flap as much as he wanted at home... it's been working extremely well. The hardest part has been trial and failure at so many therapies that worked for others, but you just keep plugging away because they are soooooo worth it!

Just try to keep your chin up and your patience high. I've worked with special needs children in schools, and you would be surprised how much more kids can achieve than anticipated!

Apr 28, 2009
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We called it
by: Concerned Mom

Well I'm pretty sure this is what our daughter has...since about 9 mos, she's been doing this. She'll focus on something that spins or has a repetitive movement, and she'll begin to clench her fists while holding her arms out a bit. Her mouth opens and she makes squeaks and she shakes. Sometimes her left arm will go back and forth also, along with her legs bending and straightening if she's sitting on the floor. Lasts for about 3-4 seconds at a time.

She will continue to do it until one of us touches her or makes her snap out of it. Or, if she finds something else interesting. She's been in a special needs class for occupational/speech therapy. She's totally smart, probably a bit gifted in my opinion. Some of the therapists see this as a problem some don't because she only does this when she's excited. We really are hoping she grows out of it... kids can be cruel.

Apr 09, 2009
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Hand Flapping
by: Debbie

My son who just turned six has been flapping his hands since he was 3, its when hes excited he just flaps away and will not stop. He also has a fixation with moving gears like marble mazes, water, fans. Also walks on his toes not so much now but when he was little all the time.

He was seen by a neurologist when he was 2, 3 and 4 and they say he will outgrow it. Well hes 6 and still hand flapping to the point kids are starting to notice hes different. So off to the pediatrician I go to try and find some help. He has also been diagnosed with ADHD and is having a really difficult time in school. Any suggestions would be great. thanks

Mar 28, 2009
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My husband did this
by: Sarah M.

Hi! My mother-in-law could have written your post. My husband used to flap his hands, but he was never diagnosed with autism. He was social and had no developmental delays though, so they just ignored it. He is fine now, but he wrings his hands and makes other movements with his hands. He was teased enough about the hand flapping to redirect the excess energy somewhere else. My son also flaps his hands, but he is not social at all and is developmentally delayed in several areas. He was diagnosed with autism last month.

Bottom line, the hand flapping by itself is probably not a problem, especially if you can stop it. I'd be more concerned if you couldn't.

Mar 28, 2009
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Hand Flapping
by: Geri

My 30 month old grandson has been flapping his hands for almost a year whenever he gets excited. He also has shuttering attacks since the age of 7 months. Neuro workup negative. He loves being with people, shares and and has great eye contact. He is fixated on circles.

He doesn't like it when his hands are dirty or if they change color. One time he ate red jello and his hands turned red, he cried till it was cleaned off. His speech is delayed, but he is now almost up to his level, seeing a speech therapist weekly. He remembers things, follows direction. Any suggestions. He will see a developmental neurologist in the next 2 months.

Oct 10, 2008
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hand flapping
by: Anonymous

My 3 yr old has hand flapped since he could sit up,he has Autism (HF) after a year of boimedics, diet and therapies this is the only behavior that has not changed. We say quiet hands and he puts them down only to flap seconds later, its like he cannot help himself, and nobody seems to know why.

Oct 07, 2008
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YES!
by: Ursula Gates

My daughter does the some of the things. My physician referred us to a developmental pediatrician. She suggested it could be seizure like. She sent my daughter for and MRI and EEG. Both were abnormal. So we seen the neurologist she said she had post partial-complex seizure disorder. Then we were seen by a group of doctors who diagnosed her with autistic disorder (high functioning).

With my daughter I had to demand to see a developmental pediatrician. I just kept on bugging him until he gave in. Ask to be seen by a pediatric neurologist just to ease your worries.

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