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Should I be worried about my son’s ‘quirks’?(5 Posts)
My son is 2.5 and is usually a well behaved, lovely little boy.
He has a few ‘quirks’ that I’ve never really thought anything of until I’ve had some pointed out to me and it’s made me a bit concerned.
He ‘flaps’ a lot when he is in the company of other children and he doesn’t want to share for example, or if he isn’t getting his own way, and occasionally when excited. He flap his hands like a bird. I never really noticed it or thought it could mean anything until the lady who runs his playgroup said “he flaps a lot doesn’t he” and I actually thought she meant freaks out! It wasn’t until my cousin who’s studying to be a child minder pointed it out that I realised what she meant. He never does it randomly when he’s watching tv or anything, it’s only ever if there is some form of excitement or frustration.
He calls me and DP ‘Papa’ and ‘Mumum’ even though we call each other mummy and daddy. I guessed he’d picked it up from his nursery rhymes.
Very shy around people he doesn’t know well. He will stop speaking.. I assume that’s pretty typical?
He does things over and over - well mainly one thing which is having Humpty Dumpty on repeat with a bucket on his head for a hat and then falls off the sofa when it says he fell off the wall. Doing that for hours on end would never stop him being entertained!
He is bright I think he can say the alphabet and count to over 10.
It wasn’t until my cousin noticed the flapping that it panicked me a bit.
Does this sound typical or is he maybe showing signs to be concerned?
Hand flapping, a form of repetitive behavior (also known as stimming) is used by very young children to regulate emotions, hence why it typically happens when they are filled with a certain emotion like excitement, happiness, sadness, anger, anxiety, desperation, etc. It tends to phase out as they get older (and learn more efficient ways to regulate themselves), however it is still age appropriate at 2.5 years old. Though if people are mentioning it I assume he is doing more than the average 2.5Y old. The other behavior you describe, also repetitive behavior, again is quite typical (all young children will engage in opening/closing doors, drawers, turning on/off light switches, jumping up/down, spin in circles, etc - all repetitive behavior), however 'hours on end' would be considered extreme.
I assume you are asking because the repetitive behaviors are usually linked to autism (specially if you Google them), however they can also be quite typical in young toddlers (more concerning as they get older), and by themselves would not be concerning; they would be concerning if there were other development concerns at the same time. Autism would present itself more obviously within deficits in social communication, so lack of pointing to share interests, weak imaginative play, lack of social referencing, weak three point gaze, etc.
@AladdinMum Thank you for your thorough and informative answer. It has made me feel a bit less concerned about autism etc.
When he’s with people he doesn’t see often he is very shy and clings to me, but he’s better with children he doesn’t know more so than adults. I was always shy though so he could have got it from me. His 3 point gaze is fine, he can now talk really well and his social referencing seems ok so I’m hoping the hand flapping and other behaviours is just quirks that he’ll grow out of. Thank you
Shyness is very common at this age, not concerning at all, and it is very positive that he is better with children and interacts with them. A common autistic trait is avoiding peers and only interacting with adults so he is doing well in that front. From your description he seems to also be doing fine in the other areas specially in social communication so his repetitive behaviors, while maybe a bit quirky at his age, are not concerning and he should eventually grow out of them (remember that autism is a social communication disorder not a repetitive behavior disorder).
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