Nonautistic motor stereotypies: clinical features and longitudinal follow-up

Pediatr Neurol. 2008 Apr;38(4):267-72. doi: 10.1016/j.pediatrneurol.2007.12.008.


To characterize further the clinical features and long-term outcomes among children with motor stereotypies who do not manifest mental retardation or pervasive developmental disorders, a review of clinical records and semistructured telephone interviews were undertaken. The identified clinical cohort consisted of 100 typically developing children with motor stereotypies. The mean length of follow-up was 6.8 +/- 4.6 years. At most recent follow-up, movements had continued in 94% of the sample (62% for >5 years). Only six children reported complete cessation of movements, with four (3 of 4 with head nodding) doing so >1 year after their initial diagnosis. Thus the course of motor stereotypies, especially in children with arm/hand movements, appears chronic. Nearly half the children in this cohort exhibit other comorbidities, including attention-deficit-hyperactivity disorder (30%), tics (18%), and obsessive-compulsive behaviors/obsessive-compulsive disorder (10%). Twenty-five percent of children with motor stereotypies reported positive family histories of motor stereotypies, suggesting an underlying genetic abnormality. Finally, evidence is emerging that the clinical course of children who exhibit head nodding may differ from those whose motor stereotypy predominantly involves the hands and arms.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Child
  • Child Development / physiology
  • Child, Preschool
  • Extremities
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Head
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Remission, Spontaneous
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Stereotypic Movement Disorder / physiopathology*
  • Stereotypic Movement Disorder / psychology
  • Stereotypic Movement Disorder / therapy
  • Treatment Outcome