This is three to four times more common in males than in females. Body rocking usually appears at around 6 months and head banging and head rolling at around 9 months. These movements often disappear by around 18 months of age and are uncommon after the age of 4 years. They can persist into adult life, particularly if there are abnormalities such as mental retardation or autism, or following a head injury, but also occasionally in otherwise normal subjects. Daytime head banging is a separate entity which is usually suppressed during sleep. It is a transient phase in young children, but in adults is associated with learning disabilities, autism and psychotic states.
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Autism is a developmental disorder that manifests itself in early childhood and affects the functioning of the brain, primarily in the areas of social interaction and communication. Children with autism look like other children but do not play or behave like other children. They must struggle daily to cope and connect with the world around them.