Purpose of review: This review highlights recent advances in understanding the clinical features, prevalence, and outcomes of motor stereotypy disorders in typically developing children.
Recent findings: Longitudinal data indicate that stereotypies in children with normal intelligence show an early age of onset, chronicity, and high prevalence of comorbid difficulties, including tics, obsessive-compulsive behaviors, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. The underlying abnormality remains unknown, but there is increasing evidence for Mendelian inheritance and a neurobiological mechanism.
Summary: Primary motor stereotypies are relatively common in childhood and can be subdivided into three groups (common, head nodding, and complex motor). Movements are similar to those seen in children with autistic spectrum disorders, mental retardation, and sensory deprivation. The role of pharmacotherapy is not established and behavioral therapy can be beneficial.