My child flaps his hands and mouths words in public. How do I stop this kind of behavior?

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Discussion: While these kinds of behaviors can be unsettling, they are not harmful to either you or the child.

Consider the broader picture. “Every behavior a child engages in, autistic or not, should be treated as purposeful and as a basis for interaction,” allows Dr. Greenspan. The one exception is if the child is trying to hurt themselves, another person, or you. When this occurs, Dr. Greenspan explains, “You set a limit and interrupt that.” But, if the child is flapping, mouthing, or making funny sounds, use those interactions purposefully. You can engage your child around them, and expand them into more complex interactions.