Autism Behaviours

What restricted, repetitive behaviour (RRB) and play means

Restricted/repetitive behaviour is one of the hallmark symptoms of autism spectrum disorder and it is also a diagnostic criterion in accordance with the DSM.

It is important to understand that restricted, repetitive behaviour and play means a wide variety of things.  It does mean hands-flapping sure, but in it also means how the child processes his/her environment and their special interests.

Let’s take a closer look at what the “repetitive, restrictive behaviours” are in people on the autism spectrum: 

  • An unusual almost obsessive attachment to unusual objects such as keys, drumsticks, pool cleaners, keys, light switches to name but a few
  • A particular need for sameness and routines – the lining up of toys is a prime example of this.
  • Repetitive body movements such as rocking, spinning or flapping hands
  • Total fascinations with moving objects or spinning objects
  • Unusual interest in numbers or symbols (clocks, number plates, maps etc. will all fall under this)
  • Hyper-reactive to sensory input
  • Hypo-reactive to sensory input which will be noticed when the child reacts unusually (often badly) towards textures, sounds, pain, light or temperature
  • Children on the spectrum may have a need for sameness, such as needing to take the same route home from school every day

Many children with autism will have more than one restrictive behaviour and many children with a diagnosed autism spectrum disorder (ASD) that will have only one challenge such as a sensory processing challenge.

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Ilse Kilian-Ross

Ilse Kilian-Ross is the owner of Amazing K, a registered ECD and Partial Care Facility in Johannesburg. Amazing K is a private adhd school, autism school and therapy centre for children from age 2 - 6 years where learners receive the best of both the schooling and therapy world. The autism school offers Individualized Education Programs, Speech- and Augmentive Alternative Communication (AAC) therapy as well as a full and adapted Academic Curriculum.