Although the risk of the eventual development of tardive dyskinesia and other persistent adverse effects of neuroleptics is high, among adults with mental retardation and other developmental disabilities, neuroleptics may ameliorate dyskinesias, aggression, and inattention. The effects of traditional neuroleptics on a comparable population of children and adolescents with mental retardation and other developmental disabilities are unknown. The objective of this study was to develop an assessment battery to describe the effects of traditional neuroleptics on the behavior and movements of a small sample of children and adolescents with mental retardation and other developmental disabilities. 13 children and adolescents aged 6 to 16 years attending a developmental disabilities clinic were evaluated utilizing a Movement Assessment Battery to measure behavior and motions. Five subjects took traditional neuroleptic medications. Trained raters can reliably assess the movements and behaviors of children and adolescents with multiple handicaps. Children and adolescents with developmental disabilities may be vulnerable to experience functional impairment and akathisia, tics, and other dyskinesias when administered traditional neuroleptic medications.
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