Dr. Gil Tippy talks about Flapping in Autism, and Mentions Miley Cyrus

24 Jan

This very brief video is posted in response to a comment on a previous post of mine. I am a little flippant about how much parents dislike hand flapping, and I really intend no disrespect. But, it is this tremendous dislike of the very simplest of external behaviors that drives parents into the ABA camp instead of a developmental intervention, or a sensory based intervention, or a relationship based intervention, or all three in DIR. The very first thing that an ABA therapist does is to get kids conditioned to the command, “Hands down,” telling parents that the flapping interferes with learning. This of course is nonsense. How many of you wiggle your feet, play with your hair, chew gum or tap your fingers while working or thinking? However, parents hate the flapping and so they embrace the operant conditioning of the ABA therapist. Kids do stop flapping in the DIR model, but it is not the focus of the intervention. The core deficits are the target of the DIR intervention, relating and communicating. Kids with trouble integrating their sensory systems get work there in the DIR model, and eventually, the flapping goes down.

In fact, this kind of control of input into the sensory system that kids exercise by flapping, visually hyper-focusing, visually stimming, and other forms of stimulation created by them for their own sensory system, is the key one of the underlying neurological systems in the presentation of autism. When we understand this feedback loop better, we will understand where our intervention needs to be aimed. It won’t be reached through operant conditioning.

One Response to “Dr. Gil Tippy talks about Flapping in Autism, and Mentions Miley Cyrus”


  1. 40 Fascinating Blogs About Childhood Development | Masters in Health Care - February 17, 2011

    […] Dr. Gil Tippy’s Child Development Blog: Dr. Gil Tippy writes about autism and more on this blog. (Recommended Post: Dr. Gil Tippy Talks about Flapping in Autism, and Mentions Miley Cyrus) […]

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