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  #1  
Old 05-31-2011, 10:31 AM
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Default 12 Month Old Hand Flapping- HELP

So I have this 12 month old in care who hand flaps regularly. Mom just brought it up to me as a concern. I have been watching it for months as I have lots of experience with children with autism. I can not get a good answer from anyone (medical professsional-developmental specialist etc) about weather it should be followed up on. Most everyone I ask says watch it for the next year and see what happpens. I have never had a child exhibit signs like this at this young of age which is why I am stumped.

Hand flapping is a red flag indicator for autism. However the information on WHEN (at what age) it becomes a concern is what I am struggling with. Nobody can tell me if a 12 month old flapper is really a concern.

I have 1 other child in care with autism and he has hand flapped for years- mostly at nap after receiveing intensive therapies to deal with the autism. He no longer flaps in my care though and his therapists believe he may have learned not to. I do not believe this infant learned the behavior from this other child as they typically do not attend care at the same times and he hasn't flapped openly since before she was born.

Additionally this child exhibits no other "red flag" signs. Very easy, passive child, maintains eye contact, plays typically for 12 months, starting to walk, babbles, etc.

Has anyone had a young one like this flap and what ever happened? Both mom and I agree that if something is going on its best to deal with it early but is it typical for a 12 month old to flap consistently for months and then just grow out of it? Please share any experience about young ones flapping.
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Old 05-31-2011, 10:36 AM
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I'm afraid that the only answer you're going to get is "watch and see".

Autism, as I'm sure you know, just can't really be diagnosed at such a young age. It doesn't sound like this child has any other major red flags, which is good. I remember my DD hand flapped for awhile--it seemed to be something she did when she was excited, and just because she could. It was present for awhile (not sure how long...might have been a few months? I think it was right around that age though) and then just disappeared one day, never to be seen again that I can think of (she might do it a bit when excited/worked up, but I can't honestly say one way or the other).
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Old 05-31-2011, 10:40 AM
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I had a little daycare kid who flapped all the time...she wasn't autistic, she was just sooooo excited about things that she flapped...

Has Mom consulted her pediatrician? If not, I'd start there.
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Old 05-31-2011, 10:59 AM
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I have had a few hand flappers, but none autism related.

Mine were former center care kids (or with multiple siblings) who were used to others snatching toys so they flapped their hands and did the rotary arm swing to keep others away from them.

Is there a pattern as to when your flapper is doing this?
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Old 05-31-2011, 11:10 AM
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She does it when she is her highchair but also very regularly when playing. So much so that she does not play with toys with one hand b/c it's always flapping.

Mom talked to ped dr and they seemed unconcerned but mom could not get kid to do it at the dr. Like many parents probably feel mom said dr seemed too rushed to really address it.

I hope it goes away on its own. I just don't want to miss it as a very early sign of something.

And to the poster who said autism can not be dx this early- actually in some places in the Uk and Australia they are developing and have tested assessments that are used at birth (and some in utero- although these are highly controversial). Hopefully this will lead to more answers not more issues.
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Old 05-31-2011, 11:11 AM
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I agree with the "wait and see" approach.

I've had hand flappers and I've had autistic kids with hand flapping, and there's just something different about the hand flapping in autistic kids.. it's hard to describe.

My most severely autistic child would not turn to look at us when we said his name in that sing songy voice at 12 months. All the other kids would look to see what I wanted, but not him. Other kids who were much less severe, may or may not look when called... it was just a toss up. All of them WOULD look at me when called as they got older and were in therapy.

The autistic kids had poor social skills even at 12 months. They never thought I was funny. (i'm very funny) they seemed to cry more, but not really want to be held... they just were upset more often.

Look on Youtube under "hand flapping autism" and see if any of those videos look like your little one, or if it's just her own little perfectly normal quirk.
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Old 05-31-2011, 11:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by youretooloud View Post
I agree with the "wait and see" approach.

I've had hand flappers and I've had autistic kids with hand flapping, and there's just something different about the hand flapping in autistic kids.. it's hard to describe.

My most severely autistic child would not turn to look at us when we said his name in that sing songy voice at 12 months. All the other kids would look to see what I wanted, but not him. Other kids who were much less severe, may or may not look when called... it was just a toss up. All of them WOULD look at me when called as they got older and were in therapy.

Look on Youtube under "hand flapping autism" and see if any of those videos look like your little one, or if it's just her own little perfectly normal quirk.
Looks exactly like those, mom and I had already looked at them together, when she brought it up. I have seen many flappers but none this little which is why I am so up in the air about it.
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Old 05-31-2011, 11:39 AM
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At this age, I do not think you can clearly tell. So yes, you will have to watch and see most likely. With a 12mo old, they do things when they are excited. I have seen many kids who were not autistic flap their arms at this age and even younger. Sometimes it is all they can do at those ages.
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Old 05-31-2011, 12:00 PM
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I wouldn't be concerned at all. My daughter was a hand flapper at that age and she is outgrew it. She just got excited and flapped her hands. Really, don't stress over this.
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Old 05-31-2011, 03:46 PM
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My son was a hand flapper at an early age with no other clear signs of autism. He did end up being diagnosed with Asperger's when he was about 10. There's a part of me that wants to say, "Wait and watch", especially if there are no other red flags. There's another part of me that wants to tell you to have the parent call Early Intervention and run it by them even if it's just to ease both of your minds. It can't hurt to have him evaluated and if there is a problem, the earlier you can get him help, the better. Does this child have any older siblings or relatives who may have autism?
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Old 06-01-2011, 11:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by e.j. View Post
My son was a hand flapper at an early age with no other clear signs of autism. He did end up being diagnosed with Asperger's when he was about 10. There's a part of me that wants to say, "Wait and watch", especially if there are no other red flags. There's another part of me that wants to tell you to have the parent call Early Intervention and run it by them even if it's just to ease both of your minds. It can't hurt to have him evaluated and if there is a problem, the earlier you can get him help, the better. Does this child have any older siblings or relatives who may have autism?
Oldest child displays no signs of autism or aspergers however he is delayed in other social emotional ways and gets some special ed support. Maybe that is why both mom and I think something should be done even this early.
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Old 06-01-2011, 11:23 AM
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My son was a flapper... with many other signs that led to a dx of severe autism.

I have a hard time with the whole wait and see thing, I'm more for the follow your gut. If the parents are concerned then they should contact EI... it won't do any harm to have the child evaluated.
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Old 06-01-2011, 11:40 AM
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If there is an older sib with special needs, I can definitely understand where you both might be concerned. Has she considered talking to someone from EI and maybe asking if they could come out to observe the child? I know she spoke with her child's pediatrician already but from my own experience, pediatricians don't always catch problems or understand why mom is as concerned as she is. They see the child for a relatively short period of time in an office setting that is different from where the child spends his/her usual time so the behavior they see in the office isn't necessarily typical of the child. I liked and trusted my own pedi. He had an excellent reputation and specialized in special needs kids but he still didn't pick up my son's autism. I really had to push the issue with him to take my concerns about it seriously.
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Old 06-01-2011, 12:05 PM
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What about having mom video the flapping to show the doctor or anyone else she might speak with about it?
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Old 06-02-2011, 10:20 AM
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mc1H0...1&feature=fvwp
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Old 06-02-2011, 10:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by e.j. View Post
If there is an older sib with special needs, I can definitely understand where you both might be concerned. Has she considered talking to someone from EI and maybe asking if they could come out to observe the child? I know she spoke with her child's pediatrician already but from my own experience, pediatricians don't always catch problems or understand why mom is as concerned as she is. They see the child for a relatively short period of time in an office setting that is different from where the child spends his/her usual time so the behavior they see in the office isn't necessarily typical of the child. I liked and trusted my own pedi. He had an excellent reputation and specialized in special needs kids but he still didn't pick up my son's autism. I really had to push the issue with him to take my concerns about it seriously.
This is exactly what I was thinking. I have heard this from too many parents who eventually end up getting help elsewhere b/c their Dr. didn't take their concerns seriously. I told mom she would have to be very up front with their dr about the concerns and even then she might not get much from him. I will tell her to go elsewhere if she doesn't get what she thinks is apprpriate from her MD.
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