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 <>.

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