This May be Me!

I am a 53 year old female who has been hand flapping since I can remember. It's more of wiggling my fingers close to my nose while making this strange little noise. Weird, I know. I do it when I'm happy, sad, mad, frustrated, late! I don't know why I started doing this but it was before I attended kindergarten and it gives me satisfaction - a way of coping, I guess.


I also had speech problems. I didn't have clear speech and babbled a lot, so it was unclear what I was trying to say. As a result, I would tantrum. My parents took me to the pediatrician at about 2.5 years and they were told if I did not speak by the time I was three, to return for diagnostic testing. I have 4 siblings and the pediatrician thought this may be the reason why my speech was delayed - the other siblings would talk for me!

I eventually spoke, I guess, somewhat clearly enough to be understood, but I stuttered. My parents worried if I should start kindergarten and the teacher pressed them to enroll me, as her belief communicating with other children would improve my speech. It did; however, the stutter remained. I was fortunate enough to receive remedial speech therapy one hour per day from Kindergarten until the 3rd grade. It helped tremendously and I overcame the stutter.

Although, sometimes today when I'm nervous, I stumble over a word, but stutterers are very clever at finding another word to use, right? ;-) Breathing techniques also help. I can also remember that I moved very quickly and performed takes rapidly, which resulted in sloppy school paperwork and impulsive thinking.

While I have controlled this somewhat as an adult, I still find I move quickly and my husband has observed this. I've always been a klutzy person and I know this is why. And this is really strange - when I am performing a task, for example, washing dishes, I'm hurrying to finish because another task to be completed is running through my mind. But I kind of like this chaos - it's all I've ever known.

Because this is such a weird disorder, I have kept it secret and only do it when I know no one is around or looking. I was too embarrassed to ask my parents about their observations and they have both passed away. I'm pretty sure my mother would minimize or deny the hand flapping. My siblings remember very clearly their sis hand flapping. The rare times we have talked about it, they laugh and tease. However, I don't mind as I know they have no understanding of why I did (do) this.

I have accepted who I am and whatever this is, it does not affect my life negatively. I'm intelligent, I work, I'm married to a lovely man and I'm happy. What has helped me is I don't stay in my head too long about my weirdness; it's a bad neighborhood to hang out. :-) Instead, I'm grateful for the goodness in my life.

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