Neuropsychological function in children with primary complex motor stereotypies

E. Mark Mahone, Matthew Ryan, Lisa Ferenc, Christina Morris-Berry, Harvey S. Singer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aim: Complex motor stereotypies (CMS) are patterned, repetitive, rhythmic, and involuntary movements that persist over time. They are divided into two subgroups dependent on the presence of other developmental problems: 'primary' (development is otherwise typical) or 'secondary' (associated with autism, intellectual disability, or sensory deficits). There are no currently published studies that examine neuropsychological function in children with primary CMS. This case-control study examines whether children with primary CMS manifest neurobehavioral deficits. Method: Fifty-seven children with primary CMS (32 males, 25 females; mean age 6y 8mo, SD 2y 4mo, range 4-12y) with negative screens for autism and 57 comparison participants (32 males, 25 females; mean age 6y 6mo, SD 2y 1mo) completed neuropsychological assessments of IQ, reading ability, attention, language, and motor and executive functions. Parents completed ratings of their child's repetitive movement severity. Results: The CMS group performed significantly less well than comparison participants on motor skills and IQ tests (both p<0.01), although IQ was consistently in the average range. One-third of the CMS group showed signs of developmental motor coordination difficulties. Parent report of stereotypy severity was significantly associated with parent report of inattention and executive dysfunction. Interpretation: Children with primary CMS were found to have largely intact neuropsychological profiles. Stereotypy severity appears to be associated with executive dysfunction. Although motor difficulties were observed in children with CMS, these were not correlated with parent report of symptom severity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1001-1008
Number of pages8
JournalDevelopmental medicine and child neurology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Clinical Neurology


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