Fists/clenched hands | Autism PDD


It sounds like it may be a sensory thing.  Has he had an O.T. evaluation done?  If not, I would suggest it.  I know that was one thing that helped Adam greatly   

Anyone else seen or experienced this with ASD or am I over-analyzing....

He's never had any other fine or gross motor issues other than toe-walking.

Thanks, friends.





OneMoreTimeBook39098.4226967593That's something that Jair does a lot - fist clenching. When I notice it, I try
to hold him, or just take his hand(s) in mine and casually rub it out, then
kiss his palm and smile him an unspoken "love you." I know he's unaware
that he's doing it, and I don't care that he does, but it's generally a sign of
underlying stress. New ASD traits are CONSTANTLY showing up with Jair,
but mostly they fade over time, to be replaced. The fist-clenching is almost
endearing now. ;o) Does your son ever hold his arms stiffly out to his
sides? That's what Jair does, along with the fists, when he's agitated/angry.

Thank you for your response....   Jair sounds adorable.

My little boy gets stiff like a soldier when he is excited.    I recently gave him an official "handy dandy notebook" from Blue's Clues and he was so stiff with excitement I told my husband he looked like a little walking starfish.

I guess I find the fist clenching troubling because it makes me sad that a 2 year old would have stress or tension.

Lol about the starfish. I was thinking about a time when we wanted to
take a picture of Jair, but he wasn't in the mood. He kept his head down and
held his arms bowed out with such strength that even my dad (standing
behind him) couldn't push them down to his sides. Little arms of steel when
he's like that. He started clenching his fists when he turned two - it always
tricked me into thinking he had something in his hand(s) and I was always
prying them open to see, lol, until I found out about ASD and everything.
His stress seems to come from not knowing what to do next, bored/"lost"
around the house, or on guard in public. Molly sounds like our little monkey
(and Jair's sidekick), Lia!

Hi. I find the info. that sleuth gave so helpful. Thank you, sleuth.

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.  I wondered if someone at school was trying to get him stop flapping, because he didn't flap very much during this month or so that he walked around with clinched fist.  But, he would'nt even unclinch them to hold things.   He would hold with his finger and thumb.  Suddenly he just stopped one day.  I will be interested to see if this ever returns.

Anthony did this a lot when he was younger and I never noticed it.  I just started noticing it in old photos like this one.

ETA - oh that's very small I'll try another.

Here he is holding something in each hand - another symptom.

Here he is holding a stick in one hand and the free hand is clenched.

BTW - this symptom has totally resolved.  He doesn't do this anymore.

mamajot39260.3763194444Yes 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.


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! Wyattsmommy39259.9695949074

My don never did this, so not sure if it is related or not.  I also had the same thoughts as you, not know what was typical and what was my special son

My son has hand flapped a lot, esp. when he is excited or nervous, or is trying to tell me something and stumbling on his words, I guess it's kind of the opposite of clenching his fists. 

I agree with someone else who said that OT would probably help, to help him relax his muscles, if this started to become a problem that interfered with his functioning.

Wyatt's OT, SPT and PT are racking their brains trying to help him. Even in the bath it's clenched. Thankfully, it is not his dominant hand. I'm hoping when he gets used to this house it will relax some.