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Can someone help me understand why ds behaves the way he does?

(28 Posts)
sali81 Wed 22-Dec-10 22:29:50

I don't know if this is the right place to post this but since my son was a toddler I noticed he would bring his hands upto face level and 'wiggle' his fingers very rapidly. He does this usually when he's playing with toys or imagining things. He is now 9 and tries not to do it as much just once a day maybe mainly because children in school have commented about it.
I asked him why he feels he has to do this but he doesn't like talking about it but has once said it's because he feels very excited that's why he has to do that I have left him to it really. Does anybody recognise this behaviour and is it serious?

lisad123isasnuttyasaboxoffrogs Wed 22-Dec-10 23:20:49

I would say its a stim. My DDs both have stims, mainly spinning or hand flapping. Im not saying he is, but is quite common in children with ASD or sensory issues (SPD)

Its normally a way to balance the senses either because of overload.

yoshysmum Wed 22-Dec-10 23:22:15

It sounds like a self stimulatory behaviour to me, usually known as stimming. As long as it doesn't impeed on day to day life it will be fine. Children usually do this as a way to relax and chill out when things are tough.


yoshysmum Wed 22-Dec-10 23:22:38

Oops cross posted, sorry blush

sali81 Wed 22-Dec-10 23:27:25

Thank you very much for the information I was not very worried everything else is ok it's just sometimes he does the hand flapping wiggling thing and I think maybe there's something wrong

lisad123isasnuttyasaboxoffrogs Wed 22-Dec-10 23:30:11

i guess lots of us have them but we learn as we get older its not behaviour we should show. I love to "click" pieces of cotton, some bite nails, some like to click.
Maybe you can talk about other things that have the same effect for him but not so embassing for him?

marie81 Thu 23-Dec-10 07:40:20

my son is 6 and he spins whenever he is stressed or overssimulated-it calms him down so i just let him get on with it! it amazes me how long he can spin for without falling over at all when he stops-but if it keeps him calm and happy id let your son carry on,what harm is he doing

sali81 Thu 23-Dec-10 08:51:10

Thank yo all for your response.If I was really worried I would have taken him to be assessed but since I wasn't I let it alone(he is 9).It has calmed down a lot he does it rarely now only when he gets super excited. what does ASD mean?

yoshysmum Thu 23-Dec-10 09:45:12

ASD means Autistic Spectrum Disordersmile Hth.

sali81 Thu 23-Dec-10 13:47:03

Thanks yoshysmum! just googled asd I don't recognise any of the symptoms though, I'm just worried will this affect him socially later on in life or do i do something about it now?

yoshysmum Thu 23-Dec-10 22:39:13

If that is the only thing he does don't worry lots of kids have habits and they grow up just fine.wink

StarlightWonderStarlightBright Fri 24-Dec-10 11:54:15

My dh does this tapping thing with his leg/foot. It drives me nuts but I still married him.

TBH, I would investigate ASD a bit further if I were you. Even if he is doing okay and coping fine, it could be because he is very bright/capable and has some traits that he works hard to hide/control which can be stressful. Knowing a bit more about why he might do things can help him and you manage it in a positive way and improve his self-esteem.

Like I said, it might not seem to you like he has ASD, but given that he has a behaviour commonly found with it, the solutions/support/information about it might be of benefit to him, particularly as he enters his teen years and secondary school.

sali81 Fri 24-Dec-10 14:31:10

Thanks for your suggestion starlightbright. He is actually very bright he is a few years ahead in most things. If I wanted him to be assessed for asd how would I go about it? Also how would it make a difference? Sorry to ask so many questions but it never crossed my mind that it could be something important. Another thing I forgot to write in the OP is that he also makes a sound when he wiggles his fingers, Because the rest of his behaviour is completely normal I just thought it was just something he did out of habit. Cheers for replying!

StarlightWonderStarlightBright Fri 24-Dec-10 16:16:39

sali You would need to go to your GP with your concerns and ask for a referal to a developmental paediatrician.

You might need to be persuasive so you'll need to think carefully about what, if any of the criteria your ds might fit.

The dx process is a long one and you get to stop it at any point. There are good reasons for getting one and good reasons for not, but if your ds has any traits, for you and him to become as informed as you can will make sure he has the best outcome.

A dx is rarely given if it is not useful, so even if he has traits but they are not interfering with his development, learning or self-esteem then there may well be no point in getting one. On the other hand, a full assessment can mean that the curriculum is differentiated to make things easier for him i.e. if he got stressed in exams etc. and wasted time flicking his fingers, he can be given strategies for dealing with it, take the exam at home perhaps, get a bit extra time etc etc. Or he can be allowed to leave a classroom if at any time he feels he really needs to flick so he can remove himself from the stressful/excitable environment and compose himself rather than behaving oddly in front of his peers.

I'm sorry but my ds is very little so things are very different for us. I would imagine, at 9, your ds will need to consent to the assessment process so you might find it helpful to start a thread asking for people with older children to come forward and give you some information about what books are available for 9yr olds, so that your ds can read and see himself if he can identify with what any of the authors are saying.

I'm not dx-happy, so I hope you don't get the wrong impression from what I am saying. It is just that if there IS anything at all, it is better for everyone if HE and you know about it before he starts secondary school and hits puberty. Quite probably though, it isn't anything, just worth looking into.

Good luck.

purplepidjbauble Fri 24-Dec-10 16:28:21

If it doesn't impede his life normally, he may not need a diagnosis. However, if he shows some of the behaviour or traits, it might help you and school to understand him and help him. A lot of "borderline" cases are capable of coping in the small structured setting of primary, but may struggle when they get to the more self-reliant stage of secondary. I'm NOT saying youre son has any SN at all (I have a habit of flicking my fingers when I'm walking, no one but me has ever noticed lol) but there are some very good strategies for managing behaviour and communicating in general which cross over and which you might find useful


sali81 Fri 24-Dec-10 17:04:01

Thank you starlight for taking the time to reply to my post it has really helped me understand his situation much better. I actually asked him why he does that just now in fact and he says it's to make something go away and another reason but he can't explain what that is. He says he doesn't do the hand thing at school anymore and even laughs about it along with his friends about how he used to do that. In the current school he's at there are no SEN students as they can't genuinely cater for them currently (v small independent). Will it still make a difference?
I will contact GP after new years and see what happens don't worry I'm not easily put off once I make my mind up!
Sorry to hear about how it's not going easy for your little one starbright I hope everything goes alright. I was going to send ds to a big independent secondary school will this affect his chances? Am only going for a scholarship or fee assisted place the other alternative is local independent which I know does not cater for SEN. I have a lot to think about!! Thanks for all the advice you remind me again why I love mumsnet so much!

sali81 Fri 24-Dec-10 17:06:13

Thanks purple will take that onboard!

waitingforgodot Fri 24-Dec-10 18:31:14

hello Sali81
Are there any other issues your boy has? How does he get on with his peers?

StarlightWonderStarlightBright Fri 24-Dec-10 18:31:30

sali I can't say whether his chances will be affected by his SEN. Arguably it shouldn't do, particularly since he has got by all by himself so far. That is a very positive sign and should mean any adjustments for the school are fairly easy to make and cheap.

Like I said though, starting odwn the dx route doesn't mean you will end up with one, and you can discuss at the end how, if at all, useful it will be. It is nobody's business but yours and your ds' so it doesn't even have to be disclosed to any schools. Usually parents do so in order to get schools to accomodate or adjust.

The independent school will most likely be interested in two particular elements of an SEN. The first is whether he has any behavioural problems, and the second will be his academic potential and whether he can follow the lesson.

If he IS leaning towards traits of ASD, 'some' independent schools can be very good for the prefered learning methods of children with ASD as they are usually more structured and prefer 'rote' learning and exams to group work or project work which can be a bit too ambiguous and confusing.

Your ds sounds really capable and able to control his stims so in your position I would go down the information-gathering route, perhaps a referal but again for the purpose of gathering information about how his brain works, rather than heading all out for a dx and then statement of special educational needs (which incidently will get you your state school of choice, however, you'll need about a year post-dx to secure a statement)


sali81 Fri 24-Dec-10 18:48:43

Thanks for replying waiting and starlight! He does get on with his peers but as he sometimes says they are quite boring and prefers to make friends with children in year 5/6, he does at least have friends his own age. There are no behavioural problems at all never in fact he is a good child(cheeky at times) and top of his class so I wasn't genuinely worried I will go down the referral route and see what happens just for information really and if there is anything there then it will be better if it's sorted out now. It's always better to be informed I suppose. thankyou everyone for taking the time to answer all my numerous questions! Happy holidays!!

sali81 Fri 24-Dec-10 19:00:00

Sorry I suddenley remembered something that might be useful in school he is in top groups for everything but he is very slow with his work that's what his teacher said at the parents meeting and said he needs to speed up. Is that any help? He does sometimes complain that the work is boring and repetitive.

waitingforgodot Fri 24-Dec-10 19:01:12

What is making him slow? Is it the actual physical process of writing?

sali81 Fri 24-Dec-10 19:14:10

Well he doesn't like writing I think the teacher didn't say but at home when he does homework he complains about his hands aching and gets easily distracted with his toys or books. He ends up having to do his homework in the kitchen. Probably distractions too.

purplepidjbauble Fri 24-Dec-10 19:48:18

sali, if your ds has any diagnosable SN's, it sounds like he's in a good place to get help. From what you've said, he is a very bright and able boy who knows what is and is acceptable behaviour. Autism is a spectrum, and it sounds as if he is very close to the NT end of it, in that he has learned that this stim is not ok to do at school.

FYI, I work with people with SN, and for a long time I worked with teenagers with Asperger Syndrome. If you look hard enough, you can find Autistic Spectrum traits in everybody. Mine are flicking the ends of my fingers when I walk, counting how many steps or mouthfuls I've taken, having to use matching pegs on the clothes when I hang out the laundry... Nothing that actually gets in the way of functioning in society (and not noticieable to anyone but me), therefore not a "SN" as such, but there nonetheless.

Your son sounds lovely, and you seem like a very caring mum smile

waitingforgodot Fri 24-Dec-10 19:48:59

Make sure you write all this down before talking to a professional. He sounds like a lovely bright boy!

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