Repetitive and Restrictive Behaviours

Introduction

Repetitive and Restrictive Behaviours

Repetitive and stereotyped behaviours among children with ASD

Children with ASD or ASD-like characteristics may exhibit a wide range of repetitive and stereotyped behaviours such as hand flapping, obsessional play with particular objects, head banging, the need to adhere to a strict routine and seeking sensory stimulation such as rocking, walking on their toes or sucking on toys and clothing.

These behaviours may act as coping strategies to lower anxiety when  children are feeling frustrated, confused, excited, threatened or overwhelmed and may be comforting or pleasurable for them.

Why do we need to reduce the occurrence of repetitive and stereotyped behaviours?

Children with ASD often find imaginative play challenging and may become fixated on certain toys during play. This may lead to difficulties relating to and interacting with other children. It is therefore important to address these issues early, in order to promote optimal opportunities for children to develop social skills and build relationships with their peers.

Additionally, some repetitive behaviours can have negative consequences on a child’s health and well-being. For example, head banging may cause the child physical harm and cause the child’s parents and peers emotional distress if not managed. Fixations with objects or routines can interrupt participation in daily activities such as bathing, eating, playing and sleeping.

  • Playgroup NSW

    You may have noticed your child flaps their hands in certain situations. If you are wondering why this can happen, read our section on hand flapping.

  • Playgroup NSW

    Head banging can appear as a result of too much or too little sensory stimulation, but these might not be the only reasons. This behaviour might concern you as a parent or carer, so read this section to learn what you can do to help reduce the number of head banging episodes.

  • Playgroup NSW

    Your child might be so fascinated by a certain object that they may ignore everything else that is going on around them. Interest fixation in children with ASD is more intense and more focused, therefore you need to know how to approach your child when dealing with this. Learn why this happens, what you can do and the play activities you can try to reduce this fixation.

  • Playgroup NSW

    In this section, we explain why routines are so important to ASD children and what play activities are adequate to announce that a change is coming.

  • Playgroup NSW

    Children with ASD may engage in certain types of stimming behaviours, and spinning can be one of them. In this section you can learn some activities you can use to introduce them to new types of physical play.

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