Toddler hand flapping... Should I be worried?

Erica - posted on 05/22/2011 ( 1 mom has responded )

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I have a 2 1/2 year old son. He is social, loving and speaks fairly well. He also makes great eye contact. The concern is that he just started this habbit of hand flapping when he gets excited. For example, he was so excited to see his uncle this morning and started flapping. I am worried because I've heard that this can be a sign of autism or developmental delays. I am wondering if it can also be considered normal? Also, his pediatrician says he does not have autism, but this habit just developed and I haven't really run it by her yet. Again, it is only when he's excited. I hope this is normal.

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Dianne - posted on 05/22/2011

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I don't think you have anything to worry about; at least not right now. You say he doesn't exhibit any other signs of autism, and that ought to be encouraging. Are his developmental milestones generally within normal range? Does he show affection? (You say he's loving so I'm guessing he does.) You said he's social and speaks pretty well...all great signs. Be aware that speaking ability and social prowess can vary greatly among toddlers; part of this is just their innate personality and part of it is just their rate of development, and there is no one kind of "normal" for that; each kid is different. The hand flapping for your son is probably just his animated way of showing that he's happy/excited about something. Does he flap his hands when he's upset, angry, or agitated? Hand-flapping is a coping mechanism for autitistic children. If your son is only doing this when he's happy, I wouldn't be too worried. Also, you said that his dr. says he's not autistic, so that's encouraging as well. Pediatricians see it all and can spot autism a mile away, so I think if there was an issue, it would have been noted by now. However, if the hand flapping continues or becomes more frequent, just mention it to the pediatrician. It can't hurt. That's what they're there for. You're the mom and you have to do what you feel is best for your child! Good luck!

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