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.

Learn more about Dr. Stanley Greenspan and the Greenspan Floortime approach. If you are new, we have a background and introduction to Greenspan Floortime including how it helps special needs children. We also have Greenspan Floortime training courses at Floortime U. specifically designed for parents and professionals including the Floortime Manual.