Thursday, August 27, 2009


When I started researching complex motor stereotypies (CMS), I found the bulk of information would always discuss CMS as being associated with autism and mental retardation. This obviously worried me as there were no indicators that my daughter had either disorder. When we finally met with her pediatric neurologist, he confirmed that she had neither issue and informed us that motor stereotypies are common in children with no other underlying disorders as well.

Many of the emails I receive from parents are in the same boat that I was. They are trying to find information and everything they can get their hands on points to autism. Just like me, that association sent their heads spinning with worry. I'm hoping that in the future the scientific literature and general medical reference materials will start to include the fact that stereotypies are prevalent in the normal population as well.

Just today I found this at It was a definition referenced from the Dictionary of Nursing. While I don't want to diminish the fact that stereotypies happen in children with autism or mental retardation, I do wish it would include the fact that CMS can present itself in non affected populations as well.
stereotypy (ste-ri-ŏ-ty-pi) n. the constant repetition of a complex action, which is carried out in the same way each time. It is seen in catatonia and infantile autism; sometimes it is an isolated symptom in mental retardation.
"stereotypy." A Dictionary of Nursing. Oxford University Press. 2008. 27 Aug. 2009 <>.

Questions from other parents

Many of you might have seen the videos I posted of my daughter on YouTube. As I said in an earlier post, I started receiving questions from other parents shortly after posting it. I actually received one this morning! My thought in creating this blog was to provide information and allow parents and caregivers the opportunity to post questions and get comments not just from me, but from other families of children with complex motor stereotypies (CMS). That being said, if you are interesting in posting a question or comment, please email me at I will get it posted to this blog as soon as I can, and then you can check back for any additional comments.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Article from the Mayo Clinic

I was researching some info yesterday and ran across this article listed on the Mayo Clinic site.

When and How to Address Repetitive Behaviors in Children

Welcome to the Site!

If you have stumbled onto this site, chances are you have or know a child that deals with motor stereotypies. First and foremost let me say that I am not a medical professional nor do I claim to be. I am a mother of a now 6 year old daughter who has been exhibiting stereotypies since around 6 months old. I wanted to start this blog after my own frustration in finding practical information for parents and caregivers about stereotypies and how to deal with them.

For the longest time, we were not at all concerned about my daughter's stereotypy, as she was a normally developing child with only a few colds in her health history. As she got older, the stereotypy became more advanced, and by the spring before she was to start kindergarten my husband and I decided it was something we'd like to follow up on so we could better explain the behavior to her teachers. Her pediatrician reviewed the video we'd taken and said it looked like a fairly complex movement disorder and referred us to a pediatric neurologist at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. I was told that Dr. would like to see video footage of my daughter when she was having the movements, so I uploaded the video to YouTube and sent it on over. Dr.discussed our daughter's stereotypy with us and explained that many of his patient's stereotypies become extinct or greatly diminished over time. He assured us it was nothing to be concerned about as long as it was not negatively effecting her life or impairing her functioning. We were relieved, and when time for school came we were able to discuss her situation with her teacher intelligently.

At our appointment, Dr.was pleased with the video transfer and the use of current technology, so we decided to keep the video posted on YouTube for other folks researching the disorder to have access to it. Since I posted it last spring, I've received many messages asking about our experiences from parents who are just like us...confused and scared about what their child is going through and wanting to do anything in their power to make it better. I've received messages as far away as Jordan from people just seeking information. This is my attempt to help gather that info and provide a place for parents to share experiences and perhaps seek advice. There seems to be quite a bit of research dedicated to understanding stereotypies in normally developing children, but there isn't (from what I have gathered) a place to go and find out how to deal with stereotypies on a daily basis. Hopefully, this will be the start!

Stay tuned....