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DandelionFireworks
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10 Jan 2011, 11:00 pm

I've been noticing some general patterns. Since I don't personally hand-flap, I wanted to know if those who do agree with these observations, because those who do would be the experts.

I notice that it can signal happiness or disgust.

With disgust, the person is agitated, the arms are drawn up toward the person's chest, and the hands flap. The person kind of recoils from something, draws in as if taking up less space or trying not to touch things.

With happiness, it seems like the hands are kept slightly farther away or out to the sides, and the person is more open, moving as if to expend energy playfully.

Do you notice this?

Also, do you happen to know if both of these occur in the same person, or if this is an either/or situation?


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Verdandi
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10 Jan 2011, 11:10 pm

I flap when I'm happy. Usually with one or both hands. Sometimes when I've been out for a few hours and have been repressing the urge to do anything particularly obvious*, once I get back into a private place I stim a lot until I wind down, which often includes flapping. I do hold my hands out, where they're visible in my peripheral vision. I also do it a few different ways.

I haven't noticed that I do it with disgust, but I haven't really experienced a lot of disgust recently. Except near the cleaning supplies aisles in grocery stores, and I'm usually leaning on my cart and thus not likely to be doing much with my hands at all.

* I do stim in public, I just don't do flapping or waving things in front of my eyes and the like.



Mindslave
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11 Jan 2011, 12:52 am

I used to flap my hands. I don't anymore, but I did, and another kid that probably had Aspergers did that. Of course, I think he had Aspergers just because of the flapping.



Apple_in_my_Eye
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11 Jan 2011, 1:17 am

I don't flap much these days -- look pretty normal when in public, though I do also have some 'covert' stims.

But when I do it's usually from cringing, such as from watching people getting hurt on TV (i.e. "Jackass" movie) or disgust (i.e. "Jackass" movie).

Frustration also, now that I just did it due to having trouble figuring out how to say what I mean here. That one was 2-handed, elbows bent to 90 degrees, 9 to 12 o'clock hand rotation, to be overly-specific.

I would say that for me, the cringing/disgusted ones involve having my arms more upright and hands closer to my body. The ones from frustration seem to involve less of a bend at the elbow (hands at waist-level, if I'm standing).

And sometimes I'm not even sure why, but those also involve my hands being further away from my body.

I don't really do it for happiness, though -- I tend to be a bit reserved in general when it comes to that. Not sure why. So, I can't give any comparisons there.



Apple_in_my_Eye
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11 Jan 2011, 1:30 am

I just re-read the original post a little more slowly: I haven't seen enough hand-flappers IRL to have any idea if there is a pattern. I remember a few video examples where your idea seems to be true (but I can only remember a few).



buryuntime
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11 Jan 2011, 2:05 am

I don't think I've ever hand flapped out of disgust. It's mostly if I'm happy but I usually jump instead, and might hand flap if nobody is around or I can't help it. Sometimes when I'm angry I do but it's more... I don't know, it just seems angry to me.



DandelionFireworks
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11 Jan 2011, 2:18 am

Thanks, everyone.

So, it sounds like hand-flapping varies in how it's done, but in general expresses strong emotions or highly energetic states. Like, "eep!! ! Disgusting!!" or "YAY!! !" as opposed to feeling yucky or content. Does that sound about right?


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11 Jan 2011, 2:23 am

I have facial tics when I'm disgusted. I flap my hand under stress, when bored or overly excited. Your description of happiness I relate to. Also, for no reason I will suddenly shake my hands. I could be at my computer desk or outside hanging the washing out and it'll happen.
When I'm stressed I don't draw my arms in, they hang floppily and my hand starts to shake, twist, flap, etc. Although if I'm sitting at the table I will draw my arms in.


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