* Not a rare disease
Other Names for this Disease
- Down's syndrome
- Trisomy 21
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Your QuestionMy daughter has Down syndrome and is very high functioning. In the last few months she has begun to regularly move her head and eye gaze from side to side in a very ritualized set of movements. Is this symptom common to children with Down syndrome? What might be the cause of these movements?
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Questions on this page
A degree of repetitive behaviors are typical in child development, in both children with and without Down syndrome. The number of compulsive-like behaviors tend to be the same among those with and without Down syndrome, although the behaviors may be more frequent or intense in children with Down syndrome. These behaviors occur most often in early childhood. Some characteristics of developmentally appropriate behaviors include behaviors that are not overly time-consuming, don't interfere with routine, create enjoyment or sense of mastery, are habits the child want's to do, appear ordinary, become less important or change over time, and can be skipped or changed.
Last updated: 7/29/2014
While we can not say what may be causing your daughter's behavior, in general possible causes of behavior changes in children with Down syndrome include vision or hearing problems, Celiac disease, sleep apnea, anemia, gastroesophageal reflux, constipation, depression, and anxiety. As we mentioned above, some repetitive or compulsive behaviors are normal. We encourage you to discuss your daughter's behaviors with her healthcare provider.
Last updated: 7/29/2014
- Evans DW, Gray FL. Compulsive-like behavior in individuals with Down syndrome: its relation to mental age level, adaptive and maladaptive behavior. Child Dev. Mar-Apr 2000; 71(2):288-300. Accessed 7/29/2014.
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder vs. Normal Child Behaviors. University of Pittsburg Medical Center. http://www.upmc.com/Services/behavioral-health/ocd/symptoms/Pages/ocd-versus-normal.aspx. Accessed 7/29/2014.
- What Are Some Behavioral Challenges Typical In Persons with Down Syndrome?. National Down Syndrome Society. http://www.ndss.org/Resources/Wellness/Managing-Behavior/. Accessed 7/29/2014.