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Hand Flapping While Daydreaming

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Hello. I'm new in these forums.

I'd like to know if I should worry by the fact that I daydream a lot (which has me helped to achieve positive goals, but I believe it might be a problem too), and also that when I'm excited about the subject I'm daydreaming about, I've tendency to hand flapping.

I've seen at YouTube videos of children with autism who are flapping hands while watching TV, like if they were very excited about what they're watching or imagining.

I flap hands very similar to them, with the difference that I'm not a child, but a 30 yo.

Also, it's voluntary... hand flapping is like an optional resource I can use for enjoying some of my daydreaming more. But I can choose not to do it, although I've some sort of "internal desire" to do it. Because hand flapping is not "normal behaviour", I close in some room when I wish to do it.

I've checked the symptoms lists of several illnesses that are related to hand flapping, but I don't match any of the symptoms: just hand flapping and a lot of daydreaming.

My social skills are good. I didn't have any learning disability as a child. I always got great marks in my childhood at school.

So, I believe I don't match any of the symptoms of autism, except hand flapping.

I believe there's a genetic component in whatever this symptom means: My father closes his fists and rubs his eyes with his closed fists when he's very excited about what he's watching on TV (he doesn't daydream, though, as far as I know).

My father has not been diagnosed about this symptom either, as far as I know, and he has normal social skills too.

Thank you in advance for any suggestion!!
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First Helper frankweb
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replied January 5th, 2008
I've continued searching the internet, and I'm really puzzled now, because I just realized that I've at least two "autism traits":

-I flap hands when daydreaming and excited (although I can voluntarily avoid to do it, for example when I'm not alone)

-I've tendency to "toe walking", also when daydreaming and excited.

Am I autistic? This is big news. I never had communication problems, nor attention problems... I always had friends, and I've been a good student.
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replied January 5th, 2008
Well, I just did an online autism spectrum quotient available at http://aq.server8.org/ and my score was 20, which is in the average range for normal (non-autistic) people.
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replied January 7th, 2008
Especially eHealthy
These are tendencies of people with autism. That doesn't mean that you are autistic just because you have them! It would take a bunch of other symptoms to diagnose you with autism.
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replied May 17th, 2009
HANDFLAPPING...
Yes....had it also...there is a name that i dont have the spelling...my nephew has the same thing...sterioptoky...or something like this...i have searched but it is not the correct spelling. in general it is sort of an 'energy consolidation' durring daydreaming...
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replied March 14th, 2011
I'm a "normal" hand flapper also!
I have also been a lifelong hand flapper, though I don't do it as much as an adult, and like you, can control it. I do it while daydreaming or when I'm excited about something. I am not autistic. I also got good grades in school and am a fully functioning, independent adult (I'm 41 now). However, I am shyer, quieter, and more prone to anxiety than the average person. But unlike autistic or Aspergers people, I'm extremely perceptive of social cues--and everything--around me.

So, to answer your question, no, I don't believe we're autistic. However, I wonder if there's a common gene that autistic and shy people share and one of the side effects of this gene is hand flapping.
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replied March 31st, 2011
Hand flapping plus other symptoms
My 19 year-old son presents very similarly to Zadie. He's always been quite shy and flaps when excited, particularly during action-packed or suspenseful movies. He reports that he daydreams, imagining himself the good guy or the bad guy in the plot. In addition to flapping, he kind of stiffens up, leans his head upward with eyes closed, and makes a funny face while nodding quickly back and forth. The flapping can be quite vigorous. Also, usually at night, he occasionally jumps high up and down involuntarily while flapping. Among other unique characteristics, he hums involuntarily while eating, in a low gutteral sound, as if he were achy and sick. He also has early satiety, constant anxiety, low muscle tone, and can be impulsive.
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replied October 6th, 2011
Hello,
I can't believe I'm reading that other people do what I do. I am 46 now but have been doing since I was a child. I would take a magazine with a picture of a horse or a house and flap my hands and daydream about riding the horse or living in the house etc.. I would get in trouble for it so I learned to hide it. I never told anyone about it because I was ashamed of it. I still do it everyday. What is it?
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replied September 10th, 2011
hand flapping
My daughter who is six does this when reading or involved in pretend play. Also, no other symptoms, have checked with several professionals, although she does become easily anxious at times. Any suggestions on how to help her learn to control this? I'm concerned that it could cause negative attention at school. thanks for any input.
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replied December 7th, 2011
Hand Flapping
I too have a 10 yr old daughter who does this very often while in class, reading and watching TV - It's mostly when she is excited but she curls her hands in, flaps them inward and at times she cocks her head sideways and moves her head a little. She has told me she pretends she is part of the story. She can also control this and seems to be in a trance when she is in this mode. Once you call her name she snaps right out of it. She is very bright, a good student, highly social and athletic. I've known something is not quite right since she was a baby but we still dont know what it is. She was tested as a toddler with results of normal brain activity. This is really starting to impact her studies as it causes so much wasted time in class. I'm afraid if we don't find something to curb this her grades will suffer as she gets older. Any suggestions?
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replied January 20th, 2012
I have what I think is the same thing to what several people here have described. Since I was a toddler I would "shake" as my parents called it. They had me tested for seizures and unusual brain activity, but revealed nothing. I know I wasn't doing it whenever I was examined. I learned not to do it in front of anyone. I can't even do it in front of a mirror anymore. It is entirely voluntary, but something that I feel I need to do every day.

When I daydream, I clench my hands together in an unusual way, and my arms, though limited by my clasped hands, move somewhat spastically. My breathing pattern is also abnormal when I daydream, I guess similar to an apnea. I know I make odd facial expressions as well. And when I do it, I get flushed in a splotchy way, particularly my chest and neck. Like everyone else, I don't have any learning or social disabilities. If anything, I have excelled academically and was very talented in visual arts and sports. I was an awkward teenager, and didn't have a lot of friends as a teenager, but was very close to the friends I had. Once out of high school I became very social and popular, mainly when I started dating. I have had a few flings and a few serious relationships, currently in a serious relationship - pretty normal for a 27 year old lady. I do have problems with procrastination, and still haven't finished college, but have a very good job working at an ivy league university, where I take classes part time. I don't think one would associate my not finishing school with my daydreaming habit. It was very important to me to be financially independent from my parents as soon as possible, and I have been since I was 18. That was more important to me than going to school full time. The career success I have had since then, really I think can be attributed to being smart, driven, and able to network well.

I do have a brother who if evaluated I think would be diagnosed with some degree of Asperger's. My other two brothers are fine. Almost all of the males in my mother's family have had some sort of learning disabilities, and one of my maternal aunts reportedly does the same thing that I have done my whole life. When I was a child my grandmother used to tell me that it was okay, that my aunt used to do the same thing that I did when she was a little girl, and she grew out of it. When I got a little older, I told my mom that I still did it, just not in front of anyone, and she told me that my aunt told her that she still does it. She then went further to tell me that my aunt said that it was something that she "had to do" and that she finds it is a way to manage stress. I found that interesting, because I felt the same way about it, but had never told anyone about it. It convinced me that it really is the same thing. I've never talked to my aunt about it. I'm not close to her, and it is something that seems to be a secret.

Aside from being rather time consuming, I don't think it is a problem. It is not something I seek help for, but I am curious to know what it is.
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replied February 3rd, 2012
Our 17 year old son as aspergers. He has "daydreamed" for as long as we can remember. This often involved walking (in a somewhat jerky fashion) around the house while his head would bob or twitch. We have since read that this is referred to as "stimming". It's not only people on the spectrum that do this, but others that have difficulty in processing all the sensory inputs they face in a day. This is their way of diffusing all their pent up energy. People with sensory integration issues also experience "stimming" behavior. Google these terms and you might find more answers to your questions. Good luck!

And p.s. we all have our ways of "coping" - so there's nothing "wrong" with stimming - it's just more noticeable! Cool

Linda
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replied March 2nd, 2012
Ok, this is interesting. I've been doing some strange movements while playing and imagining things or daydreaming all my life. I also frequently flap my feet or use something to flap with my hands while I am concentrating on stuff I have to study. It helps somehow and I think it looks kinda similar to what fauxnom described above. I would not consider myself as autistic although I had trouble with eye contact until adolescence, several social problems with peers as a kid and teenager and was always quite focused on rather unusual topics for my age. But I was also a really good student, quite early in learning how to talk and read and calculate. Now (26) I am a rather social person and only maybe a bit awkward in social situations. In Tests I usually score as an "Aspie", but I am also quite good with facial expressions and emotions. Can this be?
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replied March 2nd, 2012
A neuropsych test would give you a better answer, however, given that you've learned to cope well with the few "aspy"-like behaviors you present, it really wouldn't serve any useful purpose - plus it's expensive. Many aspies are very high functioning on an academic level, so it wouldn't be surprising if you were. Accepting that whatever you do to help yourself succeed (be it repetitive movements, or just acknowledging you need a little more time to be comfortable in social situations), is your normal and is okay, is the biggest thing. Best to you!
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replied March 2nd, 2012
Well, thanks a lot. It's just somehow important to know that I am not the only one doing odd things and functioning a bit different than most other people. But hey! Who wants to be "most other people"? I would say that as a child I was probably on the spectrum but I learned to cope and am now doing really well. I hope that your son will be able to deal with his differences and be happy with it.
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replied September 5th, 2012
"Hand Flapping"
I also do this. I have "flapped" my hands for as long as I can remember. I had to adjust when I started going to school though. I went from flapping my arms, somewhat like a bird, to only shaking my wrists/hands with my arms at my sides, so that it would be less noticeable. I still do this now, and I am 22 years old. It only happens when I am excited or concentrating/thinking about something. I do not know that it is happening when it starts to happen, but if I do happen to notice it, then I will stop doing it. I also sometimes bite my tongue while doing this. Like others have said, I am somewhat a shy, quiet person, but I do not feel like I have terrible social skills. I am able to function normally. For instance, I was able to attend and graduate from college, and I have made many friends. I just sometimes wonder why I still do the "hand flapping," and I wonder if it means anything. I also have some OCD tendencies, like counting, but I have never seen anyone about it, so I do not have an official diagnosis of it. I am not sure if that would be relevant to this subject or not. If anyone has any thoughts about this, I would appreciate it.
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replied September 30th, 2012
This is incredible. I can't believe so many other people do this as well. I thought I was crazy. I'm 21 and have been "hand flapping" my entire life. Usually using an object like a shoe lace or something to hold onto while doing it. I've always been curious and embarrassed, but it's nice to know I'm not alone in doing this.
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replied October 11th, 2012
its sad people r feeling embarrased by these conditions am thinking of u allx
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replied September 8th, 2013
Option
I think a lot of you need to look up "Maladaptive Daydreaming Disorder".
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replied October 19th, 2016
My son flaps while daydreaming. I have done a lot of research and the best thing I have found is a subtype of complex motor stereotypeis. It is called CMS IIM. Which stands for intense imagination with movements.
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