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Strange hand movements

My son is four and a half years old. He has started making strange hand movements. He holds them in front of his body and they seem very tense.


I believe that this occurs mainly when he is happy, but the movement is repetitive. All this began after Halloween. For this reason, I wonder if there is a link with all the candy he ate. Since then, he has been fascinated with automatic store doors. His motor skills and language development are normal, although he is quite shy.


He requires a stable routine, but this need does not appear to be exaggerated. I would like to know if occupational therapy could help him. He was seen by a neurologist at the hospital. The doctor stated that although his hand movements may seem strange, they do not indicate a problem or illness.


Thank you!




Strange hand movements can often be seen in infants when they are interested in something or excited. These movements disappear gradually as children develop gross and fine motor control. They are rare in preschool-aged children. Particular movements can however be triggered in older children, for example when they have to manage an intense emotion. In your son's case, I do not believe there is a link with the candy he ate.


An occupational therapist is a professional who can help an individual who presents certain vulnerabilities that affect his/her daily functions. Since you mention that your child seems to be developing well in terms of language and motor skills, consulting an occupational therapist may not be justified if these hand movements are not impacting his daily life beyond making him look funny or different.


The fact that the neurological evaluation didn't reveal any problems is extremely reassuring. Nonetheless, the interest he has developed for automatic doors, his need for a well-established routine, and his strange hand movements do not represent typical facets of development during childhood.


If you wish to investigate further, I suggest psychosocial counselling at your local CLSC. This may give you access to a developmental evaluation performed by a psychoeducator or psychologist. These professionals will be able to provide information about your child's specific situation and direct you to appropriate resources, if necessary.

Josiane Caron Santha, Occcupational therapist is not responsible for the content of this article. The information mentioned in this article is the responsibility of the author. shall not be held responsible for any litigation or issues resulting from this article.


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