Doctor insights on:
What Is The Best Treatment For Hand Flapping
Self-stim: "hand-flapping" is a prominent form of self-stimulation. It is not clear why it is common in autism, but may have to do with anxiety, an inability to "connect" meaningfully outside of oneself (which seems to be what autistics have in common with blind or deaf persons, who also hand-flap and "stim" a lot), and/or difficulty with effective communication (like retarded persons, who often also "stim"). ...Read moreSee 1 more doctor answer
Yes: Hand flapping can occur with a variey of conditions, including trisomy 21 and many forms of intellectual disability. It typically occurs as "overflow, " when the child is excited or frustrated. It is not dangerous, per se; if it occurs so persistently that it interferes with more desirable activities, antipsychotics sometimes are used to diminish the frequency; behavioral approaches may work too. ...Read more
Just flapping: Not all children with "stereotypies, "repetitive motor movements that seem to have no function, have autism. A two-year old who hand-flaps when excited, but has normal social communication and no other signs of autism. May be developing typically. Less commonly, stereotypies persist into school-age. Tics and compulsions can look like stereotypies. Video it for your pediatrician to check it out. ...Read moreSee 1 more doctor answer
It certainly can: Hand flapping sometime fades over time, but it is not at all uncommon for it to continue throughout the life of an autistic individual. It is not harmful, per se; but, when excessive, it can interfere with other more productive behaviors. When severe, it sometimes is treated with antipsychotics, which typically reduce both frequency and duration of the hand flapping. ...Read more
It depends: on the rest of the picture. In an otherwise healthy infant with normal development and muscle tone, hand flapping is likely a transient expression of excitement. Abnormal hand movements that persist for months, worse, occur during sleep or are associated with other developmental problems is always a cause for concern until proven otherwise. ...Read more
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