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Question about 4yr old and flapping arms?

post #1 of 32
Thread Starter 
I hope and pray that this is normal. Our 2nd Ds who is 4yrs has been spastically flapping his hands and tightening his legs when excited. It was cute but now that he is 4 it seems that it should have stopped??? My mother says that it is normal and she sees other childern do it but I don't. I know that Autistic childern do that but our DS can make eye contact. Does not seem withdrawled, is super smart and plays well with other childern and is in NO way shy. He can sit and learn but does seenm to be distracted easily but he is only 4 and a BOY! He is VERY sensitive but always has been. Other that the hand turning and arm flipping and leg tightening he seems perfect!! I guess I am looking for other childern that do this when excited??????: Is this normal?

Please post and let me know. It is killing me inside!
post #2 of 32
I don't have fabulous advice. I think that the arm flapping could just be a way of dealing with excitement. People, even grown-ups, all have different ways of dealing with excitement.
Just didn't want to read this and not comment.
post #3 of 32
There are many different levels of autism. My friends son is autistic and does alot of self stimulation like flapping and spinning. He is also verbal and will make eye contact most of the time. IF you have any mom's intuition there could be a problem have him tested dont wait. It will be WONDERFUL if your wrong but if your not then start looking into ways to help your child. My friend has her son on a very strict diet ( no chemicals/ preservatives/ dyes or extra sugars) and it help him alot.
post #4 of 32
I'd say that if your intuition tells you it's normal, then it is. My DS flapped his arms for a while when he got excited, I think he was still doing it at 4. He's not autistic. Now he's 6 and has moved on to sucking on his coat sleeves Blech.
post #5 of 32
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JBaxter View Post
There are many different levels of autism. My friends son is autistic and does alot of self stimulation like flapping and spinning. He is also verbal and will make eye contact most of the time. IF you have any mom's intuition there could be a problem have him tested dont wait. It will be WONDERFUL if your wrong but if your not then start looking into ways to help your child. My friend has her son on a very strict diet ( no chemicals/ preservatives/ dyes or extra sugars) and it help him alot.


It does not seem to be self stimulation.? He only does it as a reaction of praise or excitement. Are there forms of autisim that only come out when excited? If I hold his hands gently than he does not do it? I have thought about the diet thing though. But mostly because of my fear of foods harming my childern.
post #6 of 32
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by lindberg99 View Post
I'd say that if your intuition tells you it's normal, then it is. My DS flapped his arms for a while when he got excited, I think he was still doing it at 4. He's not autistic. Now he's 6 and has moved on to sucking on his coat sleeves Blech.
Did he do it as a baby? Noah has been doing this since about 6mo. I remember watching him watch his brother play and he was in the bouncer just laughing and his feet would point and his arms and hands would get tence too. He seemed to almost not be able to contain himself


BTW... is Lindberg your last name? Our 1st DS is named after my grandfather who was named Lindy after Charles Lindberg. And my last name before marriage was Inberg. Hummm...
post #7 of 32
If it were my child I would talk to my dr about it. Most likely, it is nothing. But my sister's son has very mild autism and most people would not know--He does flap when excited. The earlier you can get help with ASD, the better. You're no worse off if you find out it's nothing.
post #8 of 32
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sunnysideup View Post
If it were my child I would talk to my dr about it. Most likely, it is nothing. But my sister's son has very mild autism and most people would not know--He does flap when excited. The earlier you can get help with ASD, the better. You're no worse off if you find out it's nothing.
I begin to wonder am I in denial??? Or am I overreacting? My mother says I over react all the time. I did make a appt for tomarrow at 11am with our fam DR. My mother is going to kill me! She thinks I overreact and take my childern to the DR for everything. When if fact I hate taking them there and hardly do! My hus's brother has a son with Autisin and he suffers so much. Does autisim get worse?? I mean is he has it would he grow up and have a normal life? That is why I don't want to find out and I think I overreact. Ohhhhhh!!
post #9 of 32
Assume it's probably nothing--but ask your family doctor about it just to reassure yourself.
post #10 of 32
Hope your doc appt. goes well and totally reassures you. I can tell you my DD is 4.5, and has been flapping her arms since she was in the womb. When I was carrying her, I could feel this funny "whop whop" sometimes, and always wondered what in the heck it was. When she came out posterior, I realized it was her left arm, because she's done it ever since. She's definitely NOT autistic, but I'm sure she is Highly Sensitive. It's just one of the ways she expresses excitement (along with a piercing squeal!)
post #11 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by mommybytheWord View Post
Did he do it as a baby? Noah has been doing this since about 6mo. I remember watching him watch his brother play and he was in the bouncer just laughing and his feet would point and his arms and hands would get tence too. He seemed to almost not be able to contain himself


BTW... is Lindberg your last name? Our 1st DS is named after my grandfather who was named Lindy after Charles Lindberg. And my last name before marriage was Inberg. Hummm...
Lindberg is just a nickname.

You know, I don't remember if DS flapped as a baby. I never really worried about it so I guess I didn't pay that much attention to when it stopped and started. I just remember him doing it as a preschooler because it did look kind of cute when he did it.
post #12 of 32
Here is a great site called First Signs about autism concerns. This page in particular gives "Red Flags" for autism.

Children can have hand flapping without being autistic. My niece did that. She's the most social person I know. (She currently teaches remedial reading to 8th graders - so she's JUST FINE.)

Children can also have sensory issues without being autistic -- you say your son is senstive -- you might want to read the book "The Out of Sync Child" and see if that resonates.

Children with autism will usually have sensory issues, and self-stimualation behaviors, and social and/or language delays and...

If your child's language development is normal, if he plays well with other children, if he responds appropriately when you talk to him, I highly doubt he's on the autism spectrum. Obviously, you need a thorough medical evaluation to tell you that, but hand flapping alone is NOT a sign of autism. It's only a concern when it occurs in conjunction with other behaviors and developmental delays.
post #13 of 32
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by LynnS6 View Post
Here is a great site called First Signs about autism concerns. This page in particular gives "Red Flags" for autism.

Children can have hand flapping without being autistic. My niece did that. She's the most social person I know. (She currently teaches remedial reading to 8th graders - so she's JUST FINE.)

Children can also have sensory issues without being autistic -- you say your son is senstive -- you might want to read the book "The Out of Sync Child" and see if that resonates.

Children with autism will usually have sensory issues, and self-stimualation behaviors, and social and/or language delays and...

If your child's language development is normal, if he plays well with other children, if he responds appropriately when you talk to him, I highly doubt he's on the autism spectrum. Obviously, you need a thorough medical evaluation to tell you that, but hand flapping alone is NOT a sign of autism. It's only a concern when it occurs in conjunction with other behaviors and developmental delays.

Thank you so much for your post!! It was a blessing that I needed to hear. I did a ton of searching today on the internet and your site you gave me and he doen not have any of the signs except for the hand flapping and toe walking which I do and so does my father. It must be in the genes . He has been talking very well since one yr and talked before any of my other childers. He is by far my smartie and loves other people and has no fear of others!! He is not reserved if anything he os the light of any room!! Full of fun, energy, and smiles. Thank you so much and I'll LYK what the doc says. I am going with much more ease that I would have not discussing this with you all!!! Again thank you and I'll keep you posted!
post #14 of 32
It is totally "normal" in my child and others I have seen doing this and similar.

My son is a very happy kid and when he is excited about something he will do something similar to what you describe. He has always shown his excitement in a grand way. If you look around you will see many kids doing such things. Like jumping up and down when they are excited or wildly clapping. I just think at that age the whole world is exciting for many kids and they can't contain themselves. I love that about my son.

I hope I don't upset anyone but honestly I wonder sometimes about how subjective the diagnosis must be when it comes to autism. I have a general distrust of doctors when it comes to diagnosing subtle "conditions" (obviously I realize that some autistic children do not have subtle signs). I also do not subscribe to the allopathic model of medicine. I guess I just wonder how many children are being diagnosed with mild forms of autism who are really just quirky? I guess it doesn't really matter but I find it curious.

FWIW I do have a cousin who was vax injured and is markedly and very noticably autistic. One of my best childhood friends considers herself Aspergers and I don't see it in her at all.

Sorry I don't mean to derail your thread OP! Maybe I will post a thread of my own (I'm very afraid to offend though)
post #15 of 32
My dd1 does this! She flaps and tightens her body...she started very young at 5months or so...and is still doing it at 4 years 8 mos.
Like you described, she has no other signs or symptoms of Autism. Eye contact, language and communication, social connectedness, attention span, etc. all seem developmentally on track. But she sure does "stim."

At different points I've been concerned. I talked to a sensory integration OT at one point but she didn't have any of the signs of sensory integration disorders either.

I've been advised to ask her to stop but I won't do that.
We've talked about why she is doing it...I've given it a try and felt out what it was like. She doens't seem able to stop. I mean, she can be then she does it again and again.

My dd isn't doing at the exclusion of playing with others..I think that is an important factor too. She isn't exclusive, withdrawing into her own world type of thing...she looks at me and talks while doing it sometimes.

Sounds like your son is like my dd. From what you described anyway.
post #16 of 32
My daughter (9) does that and she IS on the spectrum. Her cousin does it also and is not that I know of.
dd also has OCD and her OT had said that it is also an OCD thing.
post #17 of 32
I know that I did this as a child because my family STILL teases me about it. I'd get excited in a good way about something, tense up, and do this kind of flapping thing with my arms and fingers. It's much to difficult to explain in writing. I did it for a long, long time -- probably late elementary and maybe longer. For me, it was a kind of a release of energy and I always did it when I was happy excited. I don't do it anymore, however. I was not and am still not anywhere near on the autism spectrum.

I would talk to the dr. about it, but if it turns out to be nothing, do not draw attention to it. When my family would tease me about it, I felt shamed. It's kind of like making fun of the way someone laughs or smiles. You don't want your dc to feel bad about exhibiting the way they are when they feel good.
post #18 of 32
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jazzharmony View Post
It is totally "normal" in my child and others I have seen doing this and similar.

My son is a very happy kid and when he is excited about something he will do something similar to what you describe. He has always shown his excitement in a grand way. If you look around you will see many kids doing such things. Like jumping up and down when they are excited or wildly clapping. I just think at that age the whole world is exciting for many kids and they can't contain themselves. I love that about my son.

I hope I don't upset anyone but honestly I wonder sometimes about how subjective the diagnosis must be when it comes to autism. I have a general distrust of doctors when it comes to diagnosing subtle "conditions" (obviously I realize that some autistic children do not have subtle signs). I also do not subscribe to the allopathic model of medicine. I guess I just wonder how many children are being diagnosed with mild forms of autism who are really just quirky? I guess it doesn't really matter but I find it curious.

FWIW I do have a cousin who was vax injured and is markedly and very noticably autistic. One of my best childhood friends considers herself Aspergers and I don't see it in her at all.

Sorry I don't mean to derail your thread OP! Maybe I will post a thread of my own (I'm very afraid to offend though)

Well you are NOT affending me. I feel when I take him to the doc they are always trying to FIND something. And I feel like he would say it was autisim just cuz, I don't know I just think that sometimes it is overly diagonsed! I have seen childern that have it and it is so obvious. I have a nefew with is and the older he gets the more obvious it is. That is why I have not taken him. Last year they wanted to send him to Mayo for testing beacuse a doc thought he may have MS cuz he walked on his toes!!!!!!!!!: He had NO other signs of MS. I mean come on!!!!!!!!! He was also born with a white sopt of hair and they immeditally thought he as deaf and had a Willy's Syndrome thing. (that might not be right) But he was perfectly fine and to find out that stress in womb can cause thin and he lost his identical twin in womb at 5mo due twin to twin transfution. Anyway... I do not want to rant, it is so hard for me to trust thoes $$ hungry doctors.
post #19 of 32
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by LauraLoo View Post
I know that I did this as a child because my family STILL teases me about it. I'd get excited in a good way about something, tense up, and do this kind of flapping thing with my arms and fingers. It's much to difficult to explain in writing. I did it for a long, long time -- probably late elementary and maybe longer. For me, it was a kind of a release of energy and I always did it when I was happy excited. I don't do it anymore, however. I was not and am still not anywhere near on the autism spectrum.

I would talk to the dr. about it, but if it turns out to be nothing, do not draw attention to it. When my family would tease me about it, I felt shamed. It's kind of like making fun of the way someone laughs or smiles. You don't want your dc to feel bad about exhibiting the way they are when they feel good.
He has never been teased yet, if fact people love his energy and think it is cute. We do homeschool which will help from most teasing and I am SOOOOOOOOOO glad to hear that is may pass as he grows. It's not like it affects him or his daily tasks!
post #20 of 32
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