Stereotyped and self-injurious behavior in children with developmental disorders



Stereotyped behavior is defined as rhythmically repeated movements constant in shape and amplitude. They are natural at certain levels of neuromuscular maturation in early age, yet in case of some developmental disorders they attain pathological forms, last significantly longer and hamper everyday adaptation including self-injurious behavior. Stereotypies are observed in case of various impairments like autism, mental retardation, blindness, deafness and in children in orphanage. The general point for all these impairments is the presence of some kind of deprivation: sensory or social. It is suggested that children with autism and mental retardation experience difficulties with development and coordination of visual, auditory and tactile-kinesthetic signals, and that is why they are exposed to a kind of deprivation similar to that of blind and deaf children. Pathogenesis of stereotyped behavior is often regarded as provoked by abnormal functioning ofdopamine-ergic and GABA-ergic neurons of the system: frontal cortex-thalamus-cerebellum, whose development takes several years of life and is extremely sensitive to impoverished environment.

General Information

Keywords: stereotypies; developmental disorder; deprivation; frontal cortex; thalamus; striatum; cerebellum; dopamine; GABA

Journal rubric: Medical Psychology

Article type: review article

For citation: Chuhutova G.G. Stereotyped and self-injurious behavior in children with developmental disorders [Elektronnyi resurs]. Sovremennaia zarubezhnaia psikhologiia = Journal of Modern Foreign Psychology, 2013. Vol. 2, no. 4, pp. 92–117. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)


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Information About the Authors

Galina G. Chuhutova, Psychologist, Sergiev Posad Children's Home for the Deafblind of the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection of the Population of Russia, Sergiev Posad, Russia, e-mail:



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