Saturday, June 13, 2009

Clenched fists

I did a google search tonight since my hubby is working late.  Below is one conversation about some toddlers who clench their fists (taken from an autism site).  I find it interesting since other children from the o. have been diagnosed with sensory disorders.  I also came across this online book, 

The handbook of international adoption medicine

 By Laurie C. Miller

Here is the conversation between moms:

One of the very first things that my son started to do was this, clentched fists. They were not closed tightly into a fist, just the fingers covering the palms, as if he doesn't want to expose his hands. My son started doing this before he was two. Along with the many other things that were going on that I was saying was just "quirky", I dug deeper and started to discover that he had sensory processing disorder. The Out-of-sync child talked about this. After I read that, that's when I started to really see that my son had this sensory thing going on.

We do not have any other dx. except sensory processing disorder (walking thru this now). I would recommend talking to an occupational therapist who could work on tactile issues with you.

My son did this for a while.  He wouldn't even unclinch them to hold things.   He would hold things with his finger and thumb.  Suddenly he just stopped one day.  I will be interested to see if this ever returns.

My son started doing this 2 weeks ago, when we moved. He has completely stopped using the fingers on his left hand when fully awake. He treats it like a "club hand," only using his thumb, which he sucks for comfort. He wouldn't even open it to eat his birthday cake (he just used his fist like a bulldozer and shoved it in) or try to take the IV tape off before his MRI today. Normally that would have been history in about 2 seconds. You can force his fingers open, but the fist returns immediately. He doesn't want anyone to touch it. He is also tilting his head to the left off and on. They scanned his brain to see if there's any rhyme or reason to him favoring one side. It's obviously a stress-related reaction, but if there's more to it I really want to know and having a brain scan could be helpful, since he is VERY sensory seeking and crashes often, sometimes very hard. He also would not cooperate well during his EEG, so if he had any seizures during the scan, they would show up. I am so glad I am not alone in this, I will inform his therapists and Neuro about this. Does anyone have any medical links I can use? I don't want to send them here, as I am new to the community and don't want to invade others' privacy here. I'm terrified he's going to stop using his hand permanently, he is such a creature of routine. TIA for your help!

Yes my son always had hands clenched in fist, I think an OT evulation is a good idea. My son would not hold pencil or use spoon or fork, at the time I just thought he was stubborn now I know better. We have lots of pictures with his fists clenched I feel bad it never occured to me this was not right. Get some help with this now, because it will effect handwriting later on. My son still does not like to use pencils and utensils. He is 12 with asperger's.

I started this thread in January.... so, an update.    My son's fist clenching has really reduced.     Now he only does it when his hand is dirty - like while eating something messy -  and he keeps it clenched to keep his cup clean, etc.

Here is what I did - for what it's worth.   I used to gently massage his hand open while we played, but I did not mention it to him, or even look at his hand.   I wanted it to be a non-issue.   I would just massage his arms or feet and casually massage that little fist open and then I would encourage a "give me five" game in order to keep it open.   He likes the slap noise of an open palm so there was a pay-off for unclenching. 

Also, I started suggesting we wash hands when he would get his fist all balled up for a long time.   The warm water, the soap, the massage seemed relaxng and distracting. 

Anyhoo....eventually it reduced considerably.

My 2 cents... and best of luck.


Kathy C. said...

interesting. i have the book the out of sync child but never read it.

Momto14 said...

wow! What a great article. This is really what he was doing yesterday:
I started this thread in January.... so, an update. My son's fist clenching has really reduced. Now he only does it when his hand is dirty - like while eating something messy - and he keeps it clenched to keep his cup clean, etc.

I wonder what the correlation is between children living at orphanages and the sensory processing disorder. I have heard of other children having it too- hmm. I will see if I can find anything about that.