Repetitive Behaviors: What is it and how does it affect children with autism?

Por que as crianças autistas precisam repetir movimentos e rituais? Saiba mais sobre as estereotipias.


Repetitive behaviors are common signs of autism. However, those who do not know how the ASD patient expresses himself can misunderstand them. The phenomenon, which also occurs in people with other disorders and in neurotypical, manifests with repetitive and ritualistic actions.

This is often the case when a person inhibited in stimulating environments, or feels that he or she needs to calm down and stay focused. Depending on the triggers of each patient, this may occur more often and end up causing harm.

Although many patients feel that repetitive behaviours can help relieve anxiety., they also have negative connotations and cause awkwardness around. Moreover, since this behavior is jarring, it is recurrent that they are what drives the family to seek help.

This may be the first step in finding psychologists or even introducing concerns to the pediatrician. It is important that this be done as the healthcare professional can diagnose and assist in proper treatment.


What are repetitive behaviors?

Repetitive behaviors vary in how they manifest themselves. They are repetitions and rituals that can be linguistic, motor and even posture. These are usually behaviors without rational explanations for no apparent reason. However, the people with autism feel the need to express themselves in order to cope with a situation. In very stressful environments, for example, it helps to control anxiety.

Nevertheless, the effect, even though it may help right away, can be negative. Some of the most common behaviors are:

  • Move your arms quickly;
  • Snap the fingers;
  • Repeat sounds or words;
  • Rotate or rock the body;
  • Among other behaviors that may differ from those around you.

One of the most common problems children with autism face is that they end up catching the attention of other children or being joked, which makes the environment even more uncomfortable.

Another issue, especially at school age, is that these patients often have difficulty being in the trigger environment without having to resort to stereotypes. Often, by focusing on this relief through repetition, young people lose social life and learning.


How to help the child?

To help children who cannot avoid repetitive behaviors, it is important to identify the causes of anxiety they need to alleviate. That is because knowing which triggers, which factors increase a child’s stress, the right tools can help.

It can be psychotherapy, medication use or language work, or even a set. That is, the ideal treatment for each patient will depend on the right health professionals, such as pediatricians, neurologists, psychologists and speech therapists, among others.

These professionals can identify behavioral patterns around triggers and work to make the child feel less overwhelmed in these situations and repetitive behaviors to be less necessary and recurring.

If you have any questions or want to know more about the subject leave in the comments


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