Johns Hopkins Motor Stereotypies Center

The Johns Hopkins Motor Stereotypies Center evaluates and treats children with primary motor stereotypies (those that occur in children who are otherwise developing normally). While there are no medications that effectively treat primary motor stereotypes, behavioral therapy (habit reversal) has been shown to be helpful. Led by Dr. Harvey Singer, our team also conducts clinical studies to better understanding the causes and to develop new treatments. Until then, our approach is to educate families about this disorder, which is unlikely to negatively impact a child’s daily home, school or social life.

If your child has stereotypic movements without other signs of a developmental disability, it’s possible they have a primary motor stereotypy disorder. Visit your pediatrician to rule out other causes. If your child has already been diagnosed with a movement disorder, our team can offer a second opinion.

Request an Appointment: 667-205-4285

About Motor Stereotypies

Motor stereotypies, also known as stereotypic movement disorder, are rhythmic, repetitive, fixed, predictable movements that occur in children. Examples of primary motor stereotypies are flapping and waving of the arms, hand flapping, head nodding and rocking back and forth. An instructional, parent-delivered behavioral therapy can help treat primary motor stereotypies in children.

Behavioral Therapy for Primary Motor Stereotypies

Our team has developed a behavioral therapy program for children who have primary complex motor stereotypies. The program has been clinically proven to reduce the severity of this condition in children ages 7 to 17. Our approach uses awareness training and competing response training to help children recognize repetitive behaviors. We developed educational materials for parents, who can then teach children the behavioral modification techniques necessary to reduce the repetitive movements.

Information for clinicians who want to implement this program

Research and Clinical Studies

There has been little motor stereotypies research in normally developing (non-autistic) children. Our research team, led by Dr. Harvey Singer, is conducting several clinical studies that involve children and adults with primary motor stereotypies. The knowledge gained from this research will allow us to better understand the causes and underlying mechanism of the disorder, and to develop new treatments. We also hope to provide accurate and up-to-date information to patients, families and caregivers thanks to the research findings.

Our team is grateful to the Nesbitt-McMaster Foundation in Canada for the generous gift that is making this research possible.