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Mumsnetters aren't necessarily qualified to help if your child is unwell. If you have any serious medical concerns, we would urge you to consult your GP.

Hand flapping

(21 Posts)
Stella8234 Sun 28-Apr-13 14:18:22

When my 19 month old son gets really excited about something he shakes his hands. For example if he's watching his favourite cartoon. It's not something he does all the time. Someone worried me saying this could be a sign of autism but I think he is just trying to express his excitement. Does anyone elses little ones do this? Socially he interacts well, has good eye contact, answers to his name, does not have a strict routine, has a small vocab but think that's expected for his age group.

EmmaDale Sun 28-Apr-13 14:30:31

I know 2 people who do this and they are autistic but I'm not so sure that means your son is. I also have a sibling who apparently used to do it a lot but stopped at around 11/12 yrs of age. It'll be interesting to see what others (with more experience than me) think.

I actually love it when I see people who are able to truly express excitement/happiness as I think we generally tend to hold back/remain reserved.

Judyandherdreamofhorses Sun 28-Apr-13 14:37:56

Lots of small children do this. Some autistic people do it too. The person who said that to you is a fool.

Stella8234 Sun 28-Apr-13 14:41:57

I thought so too Judyandherdreamsofhorses but they said that I should be concerned. I always just thought it was so cute that you could see his excitement. He can't verbally express it so I think it's his way of communicating that he is enjoying something.

LeonieDelt Sun 28-Apr-13 15:13:44

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Stella8234 Sun 28-Apr-13 15:34:16

What other austic characteristics did your daughter have Leonie?

Tuftysquirrel Sun 28-Apr-13 15:36:55

My Dd did this all the time from when she could sit up until she was about three. Now a teenager and no sign of autism at all. It was pure excitement and we used to call it 'helicoptering' as it looked as though she was trying to take off! So it isn't always a sign of autism but she is still very excitable. If there are no other indicators, enjoy the cute factor while you can!

LeonieDelt Sun 28-Apr-13 15:50:55

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

DeWe Sun 28-Apr-13 18:43:17

Ds did that until he was about 3.6yo. He does have some signs of autism, so I did query it.
I was told that although it is seen as one sign of autism (but they would need many more to consider diagnosing), many children that present no other signs, often hand flap until they are that sort of age.

PJM18 Sun 28-Apr-13 21:45:30

Hi. My son did this when he was about the same age. I remember having a slight autism worry, especially as he also lined up cars a lot when playing. He isn't autistic however. I think it's one of these things like a headache can be a sign of a brain tumour but not everybody who has a headache has a tumour. In the same way, hand flapping can be a sign of autism but not every child who does this will have autism. Hope that makes sense.

crazydrunkevilhamster Sun 28-Apr-13 21:48:19

My Dsis started this when she were 10 months old & still does it now & she is 12 , she is also Autistic

IamMummyhearmeROAR Sun 28-Apr-13 21:53:53

My dd is 8 and does this when she is nervous or self conscious. She isn't autistic.

lisad123everybodydancenow Sun 28-Apr-13 21:56:36

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

neolara Sun 28-Apr-13 21:59:57

My ds does this. He also runs on tip-toe. He is not autistic.

DiscoDonkey Sun 28-Apr-13 22:00:46

DS has autism, he has never hand flapped. In isolation I wouldn't be concerned.

cestlavielife Sun 28-Apr-13 23:33:02

Go thru the chat checklist . If worried ask gp ...not your friend...l

Goldmandra Mon 29-Apr-13 00:37:44

If he's developing well in comparison with other children his age and you have no other concerns don't worry too much.

Hand-flapping is one symptom of Autism but, like many other symptoms of Autism, it can be seen in NT children too.

Your gut instinct is really important at times like this. If you read about Autism and feel that your child is nothing like that you are probably right. before my DD1 was diagnosed I knew very little about it and had very few serious concerns. However when I read about it, I suddenly felt like someone had passed me all the missing pieces of a jigsaw. Dozens of small oddities made sense when viewed in the light of this disorder.

If you read about it and do the Chat questionnaire and still feel that your child is NT you are very likely to be right. If you still have concerns ask for a referral to a paediatrician. If your child is developing normally they will reassure you.

BarbarianMum Mon 29-Apr-13 12:16:17

Ds2 is a great hand-flapper. I too had the autism "connection" pointed out to me and worried about it quite a lot when he was younger (BiL has Asbergers) but ds2 never had any other red flags (did CHAT and he fell in the highly unlikely to be autistic category). BiL never flapped, incidently.

Now he is 5, still flaps a lot and still no signs of autism.

aliciaflorrick Mon 29-Apr-13 12:20:44

DS1 did the hand flapping, he still does at age 10, he's on the autistic spectrum. He does it when he's stressed or just trying to work things through in his mind. However, when he was the same age as your DC he didn't just do it when he was excited about something, he did it all the time while he was walking.

eragon Mon 29-Apr-13 15:52:42

oh, that sounds quite normal and lovely to me. if no other worries about development all is ok imo.

may we all keep that perfect wiggle of joy in our adult lives!

iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii Mon 29-Apr-13 16:13:21

MN is great for advice and support but i think the information given can be a little anecdotal for questions like this.

Diagnosing autism is a popular pastime for some people hmm I think it is a stupid thing to do at best and a nasty malicious thing to do at worst.
None-medical childcare professionals such as teachers should only ever raise 'concerns' and should suggest parents take their child to their doctors to start the process of having a proper professional diagnosis. It is often not a straight forward diagnosis (which is why psychiatrists have undertaken 13 years of training. confused )
The best advice is that if you are worried about something then mention it to your child's teachers/HV or similar OR make an appointment to see your child's GP

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