Head Banging, Body Rocking, and Thumb-sucking

Parents are often concerned when they notice their young children performing repeated rhythmic behaviors, such as body rocking. Fears of autism or developmental problems can haunt parents.

A study published in the January 2002 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry suggests that these behaviors can be a useful part of normal development.

In the study, children were assessed at age 13 months. The degree of rhythmic behaviors did not differ between those at high risk for developmental problems and healthy children of the same age.

Behaviors that are concerning when displayed intensely by older children and adults can be quite normal in healthy young children.

Published on: January 22, 2002
About the Author
Photo of Alan Greene MD
Dr. Greene is a practicing physician, author, national and international TEDx speaker, and global health advocate. He is a graduate of Princeton University and University of California San Francisco.
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