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

    Children with ASD might have a hard time changing their focus from one activity to another. One of the reasons that might cause them distress could be not knowing what will happen next - so they prefer to continue the initial activity. If you want to learn how to create smooth transitions, read this section.

  • Playgroup NSW

    Have you ever noticed your child making repetitive noises and sounds? In this section, we discuss why your child may be making these sounds and ways you can provide appropriate activities for this to occur while encouraging the development of words.

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