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A 39-year-old member asked:

Autism causes hand flapping?

3 doctor answers13 doctors weighed in
Dr. Anatoly Belilovsky
Pediatrics 36 years experience
Repetitive...: ...Activities are one of several diagnostic criteria for autism.
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Dr. Timothy Gunn
Clinical Psychology 14 years experience
I agree and I would add that hand flapping MAY be a sign of autism, but autism does not necessarily CAUSE autism.
Apr 26, 2012
Dr. Glen Elliott
Child Psychiatry 44 years experience
Just one symptom: One fascinating aspect of autism is the wide array of unusual, sometimes nearly unique behaviors, associated with it. Hand-flapping, finger-flicking, body twirling, and other perseverative behaviors (collectively called stereotypies) are among such behaviors. They occur in many but by no means all children with autism. The underlying cause of the behavior remains unknown.
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Dr. William Singer
Pediatric Neurology 52 years experience
Association: hand flapping is frequently seen in children with autism. It is usually thought to reflect a high level of anxiety.
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Similar questions

A 29-year-old member asked:

Can "hand flapping" be from something besides autism?

1 doctor answer3 doctors weighed in
Dr. Glen Elliott
Child Psychiatry 44 years experience
Yes: Some individuals (adults and child) engage in repetitive movements because they find it pleasurable--it's called stereotypic movement disorder. If there no problems with social interactions or language abnormalities, it typically is benign and self limiting. That said, i agree with dr. Hoffman that, if you are concerned, an assessment would be well justified.
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A 41-year-old member asked:

Can hand flapping be a symptom of anything besides autism?

2 doctor answers6 doctors weighed in
Dr. Kevin Passer
36 years experience
Yes: And, the diagnosis of autism is not made by a child only having the hand flapping movements. Two other main characteristics seen in children with autism are problems with both communications and social development. I would seek an evaluation with either a child psychiatrist, a pediatric neurologist or a developmental pediatrician.
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A 38-year-old member asked:

Do people with asperger's or autism do hand flapping?

3 doctor answers13 doctors weighed in
Dr. Glen Elliott
Child Psychiatry 44 years experience
Sometimes: Hand flapping is a common but not universal behavior in individuals in the autism spectrum disorder. It sometimes is called "self-stimming (short for stimulation), but that probably is not why the individuals do it. It is not, per se, harmful, but it can be so time-consuming that nothing else gets done; also it makes them stand out among their peers, which parents find disturbing.
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Last updated Sep 24, 2020

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