The early development of stereotypy and self-injury: A review of research methods

Department of Psychology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, North Carolina, United States
Journal of Intellectual Disability Research (Impact Factor: 2.41). 03/2005; 49(Pt 2):144-58. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2788.2004.00632.x
Source: PubMed


The origin and developmental course of stereotypic and self-injurious behaviour among individuals with developmental disabilities such as intellectual disability (ID) or pervasive development disorders such as autism is not well understood.
Twelve studies designed to document the prevalence, nature, or development of stereotypic and/or self-injurious behaviour in children under 5 years of age and identified as at risk for developmental delay or disability were reviewed. Comparisons were made with similar studies with typically developing children.
It appears that the onset of naturally occurring rhythmic motor stereotypies is delayed in young at-risk children, but that the sequencing may be similar. A very small database, differences in samples, measures, and designs limited the degree to which comparisons could be made across studies.
Future work is needed based on appropriately designed prospective comparison studies and uniform quantitative measures to provide an empirical basis for new knowledge about the early development of one of the most serious behaviour disorders afflicting children with ID and related problems of development.

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    • "Sensory regulation problems, for their part, have been found to have a potential role as a mediating factor between attachment insecurity and behavioural symptoms (Lavigne, Gouze, Hopkins, Bryant, & LeBailly, 2012). Thus, adopted children's stereotypies may be a manifestation of an attempt at self-soothing as a negative coping strategy resulting from the need for human interaction (Beckett et al., 2002; Smyke et al., 2002) as well as a signal of developmental disability (Symons et al., 2005). "
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    ABSTRACT: This study investigated attachment-related behavioural problems and their change over time among internationally adopted toddlers (N = 171, boys 40%) in Finland. The parents filled in questionnaires posted in 2007 and again in 2009. At the baseline (on average, 1.9 years from adoption), the mean age of the adoptees was 2.8 years. The comparison group (N = 244, boys 46%) was collected through well-baby clinics. Results from the paired t-test and mixed models showed that the adoptees' attachment-related behavioural problems decreased during the 2-year follow-up and that they did not manifest more problems than their age-mates any more 4 years after adoption. The decrease in behavioural problems was associated with the child's female gender, country of origin and adoptive parents' positive experience about adoption. A child's stereotypic or self-injurious behaviour was not associated with the change in attachment-related behaviour over time, although both were associated with behavioural problems. Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
    No preview · Article · Aug 2014 · Infant and Child Development
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    • "Only a few studies have characterized stereotypies in detail (Symons et al., 2005). Our collection of 129 preschool children with a DSM–III-R (American Psychiatric Association, 1987) Autism Disorder diagnosis (the more severe classical form of autism) provided the opportunity to describe in depth each stereotypy observed over a fixed time interval (15 min) under standard play conditions (Goldman et al., 2009). "
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    ABSTRACT: In autism, stereotypies are frequent and disabling, and whether they correspond to a hyperkinetic movement disorder, a homeostatic response aiming at sensory modulation, or a regulator of arousal remains to be established. So far, it has been challenging to distinguish among these different possibilities, not only because of lack of objective and quantitative means to assess stereotypies, but in our opinion also because of the underappreciated diversity of their clinical presentations. Herein, we illustrate the broad spectrum of stereotypies and demonstrate the usefulness of video-assisted clinical observations of children with autism. The clips presented were extracted from play sessions of 129 children with autism disorder. We conclude that compared to widely used questionnaires and interviews, systematic video observations provide a unique means to classify and score precisely the clinical features of stereotypies. We believe this approach will prove useful to both clinicians and researchers as it offers the level of detail from retrievable images necessary to begin to assess effects of age and treatments on stereotypies, and to embark on the type of investigations required to unravel the physiological basis of motor behaviors in autism.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2013 · Frontiers in Integrative Neuroscience
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    • "Emerging evidence has demonstrated that motor stereotypies occur not only in children with ASD, and other developmental disabilities but also in normally developing children and adolescents (Barry, Baird, Lascelles, Bunton, & Hedderly, 2011; Harris, Mahone, & Singer, 2008; Mahone, Bridges, Prahme, & Singer, 2004). The nature and developmental course of stereotypies among individuals with ASD is not well understood (Symons, Sperry, Dropik, & Bodfish, 2005). Moreover, observational research has revealed that motor stereotypies may be more prevalent during times of emotional or social demand (e.g., times of excitement or stress, situations with increased social engagement) and in times of boredom (Schlaggar & Mink, 2003). "
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    ABSTRACT: This study reports on the relationship between motor stereotypies and impairments in executive functions (EF) in children with Autistic Disorder (AD) and in children with Developmental Language Disorders (DLD). We hypothesized that low EF performance would predict higher frequency and longer durations of stereotypies in the AD group only. Twenty-two children (age range = 7-9 years, 6 months, girls = 5) with AD were recruited from a longitudinal multi-site study and compared to twenty-two non-autistic children with DLD (age range = 7-9 years, 6 months, girls = 5). The two groups were matched on non-verbal IQ and demographic characteristics. Frequency and duration of stereotypies were coded from videotaped semi-structured play sessions. EF measures included the Wisconsin Card Sorting Task (WCST) Categories, Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children-Revised (WISC-R) Mazes, and Stanford-Binet Fourth Edition (SB-IV) Matrices. The scores for frequency and duration of stereotypies were higher in the AD group. Separate linear regressions revealed that group status, EF, and their interactions predict stereotypies. Specifically, lower EF scores predicted higher frequencies and longer durations of stereotypies in the AD group only. Analyses controlled for age, gender, and parent education. Findings suggest that in AD, EF impairments and stereotypies may be linked to shared brain pathways.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2012 · Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders
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