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Obsessive-Compulsive behavior


Is there anything that I can do to control my daughter's banging, tapping and stomping? She has exhibited no really self-injurious behavior. But, she has shown what I think is called stereotyped behavior (from Chris Oliver's article on behavior). She constantly opens and closes (sometimes slams) doors, but I control that by putting a towel at the top, and that discourages that behavior. But, she constantly bangs or taps with her upper limbs, and she constantly stomps. I wonder if she really has any control over it. Then, I read the article by Oliver and Hyman that said some children with CdLS may not be able to control certain obsessive-type actions. So, I don't know how to respond: should I just let her continue, and just focus on other things, or should I continue to try to redirect her behavior as much as I can?

Answer of our experts

Obsessive-Compulsive behavior is not entirely under an individual's control, and it is appropriate to let some of it continue, if it is harmless, and if it serves a function  e.g., to reduce tension. But it is also good to try to control it or to redirect it into more productive or pro-social areas, insofar as you can do that, gently, and consistently, over time. It is good for kids to develop as much control over it as they can, and redirection can help them do that

TG/ TK 7-13-10

Answer is checked and valid for


Self-injurious and aggressive behaviour

To identify the cause of self-injurious behaviour in individuals with CdLS, medical assessment, specifically looking for sources of pain, should be followed by behavioural assessment of self-restraint then functional analysis.
Treatment of self-injurious behaviour should include both medical and behavioural strategies.



Interventions targeting problematic repetitive behaviour in individuals with CdLS should be sensitive to anxiety, sensory problems and social demands. These interventions should also consider environmental factors.
Atypical presentation of anxiety and mood disorder should be considered when behaviour changes occur.
As anxiety is common in individuals with CdLS during periods of environmental change/transitions, a planned program should be implemented.
Treatment of anxiety and mood disorders in individuals with CdLS should be considered using psychosocial interventions (therapies) and pharmacotherapy (medication).

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