3 Tips to Stop an Autistic Child Who's Flapping His Hands

Self-stimulating behavior can be often and very disruptive, making it too challenging to begin teaching any new skills.
You must be aware that it’s impossible to eliminate these behaviors immediately at the onset. So be ready to set aside 15 to 20 minutes daily to practice with your kid.

Top Tip #1

If the child self-stimulates, you might need to touch some part of his/her body to interrupt the kid’s behavior and gently placing the child’s hands down. The reason for this is to stop right away the sensory pleasure the kid is getting through this sensory behavior; thus, the earlier the act is stopped, the lesser time s/he obtains the pleasure. If you can, parents must provide the minimal amount of physical contact and help to terminate the behavior so the child will begin learning better self-restraint. Thus, in the future, interrupting this behavior could be rather easier and quicker.

Top Tip #2

Offer incentives to encourage the child to learn more self-control. Parents who have used tokens with their children could use them for exchanging for desirable rewards. Otherwise, you can keep the reward such as the kid’s tablet PC. Because in the early stages of any intervention the amount of time the child has to exercise self-control is usually quite short, parents must seize the right opportunity to reward this process fast and directly. In addition, as you deliver the reward, praise him/her in concise, simple language so the child knows exactly what is expected and what isn’t. This will assist the kid in learning the connection between showing self-restraint from demonstrating self-stimulatory behavior and being rewarded.

Top Tip #3

While your child starts to develop greater self-control, you could slowly incorporate the teaching of alternative skills. If you want to teach him/her to play puzzles to substitute his/her hand-flapping behavior, you will ease the child gradually in the teaching of puzzle play together with the training of self-restraint. For instance, the child has to earn 6 tokens to be rewarded, so for the initial 3 to 4 tokens, s/he would receive a chance to show self-control, and then for the rest of the tokens, the child would get a puzzle in order to demonstrate correct play with the puzzle. Tokens are only given whenever the child successfully completes the instruction of fixing the puzzle and showing self-regulation at the same time. Parents could adjust the number of tokens depending in the response to the kid’s performance. Ultimately, playing the puzzle has become the replacement skill for hand-flapping.
If you are dead serious about the cause and cure for autism, read this article: How is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Related to Autism, Asperger's, and Fibromyalgia?