Advice for Child with Stereotypies
February 23, 2007 8:51 PM Subscribe
My five-year old son has some benign but frequent sterotypies - flapping his hands, jumping in circles, grimacing. He's entering kindergarten this fall, and I'm worried about how this behavior might cause him trouble in the school environment. Any insights and experience from parents, teachers, or people with sterotypies themselves would be extremely helpful.
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (23 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
He makes these gestures when he’s preoccupied or excited, which, since he’s five, is the majority of his waking life. His behavior isn’t disruptive – he’ll sit still when asked – but he does these actions so frequently, and often in lieu of playing with the other kids, that his preschool teachers thought he might be autistic. When we took him to a pediatric neurologist, the doctor said that, besides these stereotypies, he didn’t have any other symptoms of autism (and that he was extremely intelligent and probably bored in school). The doctor didn’t seem concerned by the diagnosis and didn’t recommend any sort of treatment.
So far, we’ve treated this behavior as just “that thing he does.” It doesn’t bother us, and his preschool teachers leave him alone during unstructured playtime. But he’s starting kindergarten in the fall, and I’m worried about how his teachers are going to react to his behavior. Intellectually, he's ready - he's smart as hell, intellectually curious, and, although introverted, adept at social niceties. But he literally can not sit still for longer than a 1/2 hour or so.
As I said, he’ll stop his actions when prompted, but I honestly don’t think he realizes what’s he doing when he starts up. I want him to succeed in school, but I don’t want to get him medicated or segregated or, god forbid, punished. What can I do to help him make this transition to school less stressful for him and his teachers?
(anonymous in anticipation of his eventual self-googling)