Tuesday, April 9, 2024

How To Stop Repetitive Behavior In Autism

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What to know about repetitive behaviors in autism

Self-stimulatory behaviors are things your child does to get extra sensory input when he needs it, such as hand flapping, rocking, biting himself, head-banging, or scratching himself. This article will tell you why it happens and how to help your child stop flapping and engaging in those other self-stimulatory behaviors.

Promising Evidence In Animal Models Of Stimming

in vivo

The rat models in the study were treated with Korean Red Ginseng . To test the effects of the supplement on stimming behavior, the researchers used a slightly-modified version of the well-established Marble Burying Test, which measures stereotypic and repetitive behaviors. In both the rats that received the low dose and the high dose of Korean Red Ginseng, the researchers observed statistically significant improvements in the outcomes on this test. Although the study did not reveal the mechanism of action through which the ginseng may have mediated this behavioral effect, previous studies have highlighted the anti-inflammatory activities of Korean Red Ginseng. Inflammation is has been associated with symptoms of autism, suggesting a possible connection.

Who Is Most Likely To Be Diagnosed As Autism

Prevalence In 2018, the CDC found that approximately 1 in 59 children were diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder . Boys are four times more likely to be diagnosed with autism than girls. Most children were diagnosed after 4 years of age, although autism can be reliably diagnosed at 2 years of age.

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Additional Or Education Support

If you or a loved one requires extra support in managing stimming triggers and behaviors, its crucial to tell someone.

For example, if stimming behaviors at school are disrupting other students or are resulting in poor academic progress, an individualized education program or 504 plan may be of use to help modify a childs workload or environment to their benefit.

Are There Specific Toys Or Gadgets That Help Manage Stimming Behavior

Why Children Misbehave Again and Again

Some stim toys and stim gadgets can be useful for different children. Its best to purchase stim toys and gadgets that allow the child to focus their energy on the toy . Here are some toys that are popular with both neurotypicals and children with autism:

Fidget Spinner. This spinning toy is a great stim toy because it is light weight and easy to carry around in a pocket.

Silly Putty. This toy is small enough to be stowed away while waiting, or idle times at work or school. It is also a great toy to desensitize texture-sensitive kids.

Pop Its. Another popular stim toy because it allows one to make noise and pop something, similar to bubble wrap.

Lacing Cards. Are not exactly stimming toys but they are great at building fine motor skills with kids as they string cards with a cord. It usually comes in colorful shapes.

Fake Fur Keychain. A soft furry toy for touch-sensitive or touch-seeking kids.

Stimming behaviors usually have an underlying purpose for kids with autism. Some experts discourage blocking harmless stimming behaviors when they dont interfere with social interaction and daily activities, as these could easily be replaced by dangerous actions. Thus it is important to know the intention of these actions. It might also be helpful to get creative with ways to redirect some of them towards more productive or less disruptive activities such as gadgets and toys like pop its and fidget spinners.

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Occupational And Behavioral Therapy

Certain behavioral or occupational therapies may help autistic people reduce or stop stimming behaviors. Applied behavioral analysis is a method of treating autism through a system of reward-giving.

In some cases, occupational therapy may be helpful. It may be recommended to help develop the appropriate responses to certain senses, such as sound and sight.

Speaking with a qualified healthcare professional will be helpful to work out what recommendations are most appropriate.

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Things That Trigger Stimming Behaviors

There is no single reason why people with ADHD stim, but there are several theories. For example, people living with ADHD are said to have differences in brain development and brain activity that affect attention, the ability to sit still, and self-control. Stimming may be a product of these brain differences.

An environment thats either over- or under-stimulating may trigger stimming. Depending on the person and their environment, stimming may be calming and self-soothing or it may be done to increase stimulation and attention.

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How To Deal With Stimming Answers For Neurotypical People

  • If a stim looks weird to you or is mildly annoying, but not overwhelmingly so and not in a way that causes actual harm to anyone, try to get over it stimming helps autistic people cope with stress and anxiety, and trying to stop it may cause worse stress and anxiety that may manifest in ways that annoy you more.
  • If a stim is very distracting or dangerous to anyone, ask the person to stop it with compassion and kindness.
  • Realize that autistic people stim. Many can suppress it or do it in less obvious ways, but if you’re the parent of an autistic child, please don’t try to make it stop across the board, because it serves an important purpose. Consider that your child may not even be aware that they are stimming as they are doing it.
  • Consider the things you, yourself, do that are also stimming behaviors, and try to be empathetic. Understand why stimming happens, that stimming is part of who the person who’s doing it is, and that neurotypical people also do many things that autistic people experience as rather unpleasant.

How Can Parents Help The Repetitive Behaviour

ARC – Dealing with Repetitive Behaviours in Autism Spectrum Disorder

There are a couple of things that can be done to help the individual.

  • Get to the root of it: Understanding the function of the behavior could be a great way to reduce anxiety caused by it.
  • Set structure: People with autism love structure. It helps them understand how things work in the world. Use visual supports or social stories. Plan your day beforehand. This will alleviate the stress that comes with changing activities.
  • Adjust the environment: Restricted and repetitive behaviors could be a way of autistic child to state that there are some sensory stimuli they are not comfortable with in the environment they are in. Maybe the classroom is too bright, or the chair is uncomfortable.
  • Early intervention: Behaviors would be harder to change the longer they continue. Set limits from an early age for some behaviors that might be appropriate for a child but not for an adult.
  • Encourage skill development: Social and self-regulation skills can help manage the stress or the discomfort that can come with uncertainty, which may lead to repetitive behaviors.
  • Make use of their interests: If your child is obsessively into a certain activity or topic, make use of it. Utilize this obsession and interest to increase their skills. You can also promote self-esteem and boost socializing.

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What Are Repetitive Behaviors In Autism

As mentioned earlier, the term repetitive behaviors refers to any form of unusual behavior characterized by repetition, inappropriate conduct, rigidity, and a lack of adaptability. These behaviors also include stereotyped actions that are self-injurious, self-stimulatory, verbal repetitive, and compulsive.

Repetitive behaviors can potentially cause problems when they become a significant part of the persons waking hours or lead to substantial bodily harm resulting from self-injury behaviors. These behaviors can also be difficult when they create a challenge for the person to learn more appropriate actions or interfere with their ability to interact with others.

The condition can also interfere with certain everyday activities, leading to alienation or isolation. As indicated earlier, the actual function of repetitive disorders is still unknown, but hypothesized functions can include sensory stimulation, reward or gratification, and stress reduction.

Repetitive behaviors in children is always a concern for parents who have to deal with developmental disabilities in their kids. Even though different experts have used many terms to describe such developmental disabilities, at the core, repetitive behaviors cover any repetition of vocal sounds or words and physical movements.

However, although children with developmental disabilities exhibit repetitive behaviors, it is not always the case. The condition is most prevalent in children formally diagnosed with ASD.

How To Know When A Childs Repetitive Behaviors Are A Problem

Repetitive behaviors are often a cause of concern for parents who have a child with a developmental disability. There are many terms that are used to describe these types of behaviors. A clinician might refer to them as stereotypy or stereotypical behaviors. At the core, these behaviors refer to any repetition of physical movements and/or repetition of vocal sounds and can include the repeated moving of objects or the repetition of sounds or words that do not have a purpose. You might hear these behaviors referred to as self-stim behaviors or self-stimulatory behaviors but using these terms can be misleading because they can imply that the function of this behavior is for stimulation or automatic reinforcement which is often not the case.

Everyone engages in some form of repetitive behavior.

Typical examples exhibited by people of all ages are shaking your leg when sitting, twirling your hair on your finger and clicking your pen repetitively.

People with a developmental disability often, but not always, exhibit repetitive behaviors. This is most prevalent in people who have been diagnosed autism spectrum disorder .

Although the list is endless, common repetitive behaviors demonstrated by kids with autism include:

  • Flapping their hands
  • Banging their head against the wall
  • Rocking their body
  • Spinning
  • Pacing back and forth repeatedly

When to Be Concerned About the Situation

Treating Problematic Repetitive Behaviors

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Strategies To Manage Verbal Stimming

We might have heard countless stories from parents whose children were teased or mocked in public by adults who misread autistic behavior as naughty behavior. One mother described a woman who approached her son who was squealing and started shaking him, while yelling at his mother for not being able to control her child. For some adults such experiences are simply too overwhelming especially if they have little or no knowledge of autism or other sensory processing difficulties.

Individuals engage in self-stimulatory behavior for a variety of reasons. In persons with autism, self-stimulatory behavior may:

Provide internal pleasure,

Help them cope with stressors in the environment,

Enhance their focus or

Help them express their emotions.

Vocal stimulation is often a fun rhythmic pattern that is fun to produce, listen to, and feel. It is predictable and easy for the child to control. In some cases where the vocal stimming is repeating words or phrases.

Generally, interventions to reduce or eliminate stereotypical behaviors should be used only if these stims interfere with learning, community inclusion, or are dangerous to themselves or the people around them.

Is Asd Associated With Aggressive Behavior


Anger and aggression are common across all levels of the autism spectrum. Children who struggle with more substantial social and communication issues, and those who engage in more repetitive behaviors, are more likely to have problems with emotional regulation and aggressive actions.

It is crucial to understand that several underlying medical issues can cause or contribute to an individual with autisms aggressive behavior. However, when the medical issues are correctly treated, challenging behaviors may decrease or even disappear altogether, significantly improving your childs quality of life.

As parents, we must grasp that behavior is a form of communication. In other words, our kids are not purposefully hurting themselves or others. At times, many doctors may dismiss behavior as just part of autism. Try to remember our children often use their behavior to communicate that they are in pain or do not feel well.

Therefore, parents must make sure their child receives a complete medical workup by determining any underlying medical issues that cause or contribute to aggression. It is vital for parents of children with autism to familiarize themselves with the signs and symptoms of medical problems that trigger aggression, so they can effectively advocate for their children in medical settings.

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What Is Self Stimming In Autism

Self stimming is the self stimulating behaviors done by individuals with autism. It usually involves repetitive movements and sounds, and everybody has different ways of doing it.

Not just autistic people, everyone engages in some sort of self-stimulating behaviors, be it biting your nails or leg shaking.

Stimming is part of the diagnostic criteria for autism as they may get out of control, causing problems.However, this does not mean that stimming is always a bad thing. It should be handled when it is disruptive. But it can be helpful in managing stress and anxiety.

For most, it is a harmless act that might not even be noticed. Self stimming is a little bit more noticeable in people with autism. They may rock back and forth, flap their hands, or twirl. However, as long as it does not cause any interference or danger, the behavior is mostly harmless.

Here are some of the common self stimming behaviors for people with autism:

  • Rocking back and forth

Here Are Some Ways To Find What You Were Looking For

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Alternatively, you can search our site in the menu at the top of the page, near the Donate button. Or, to browse our entire site, you can:

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Repetitive Behavior And Autism: What Is Stimming And How To Deal With It

It’s a novel and, to many not on the autism spectrum, unfamiliar word “stimming”. Yet we’ve all done it, and we’ll all do it again. These activities may not, at first glance, even seem to have anything in common, but they do. Mindlessly clicking the button on a pen. Picking at the loose bits of skin around your cuticles. Playing with your hair, or feeling the beads of a necklace you’re wearing. Bouncing one of your legs up and down. You don’t have to be autistic to stim, and though many people would consider many of these things to be annoying, they wouldn’t necessarily stand out as unusual.

The DSM-5 the current version of the diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders, used to diagnose mental and neurological disorders makes it all sound so clinical. “Stereotyped or repetitive motor movements, use of objects, or speech ” are, it says, one of the core features of autism.

How Stimming Affects Autistic Children And Teenagers

Celebrating Autistic Echolalia, Scripting, & Repetitive Behavior

Stimming isnt necessarily a bad thing, as long as it doesnt hurt your child. But some stimming can be self-injurious for example, severe hand-biting.

Stimming can also affect your childs attention to the outside world, which in turn can affect your childs ability to learn and communicate with others.

For example, if a child flicks their fingers near their eyes, they might not be playing with toys so much and not developing play skills. When the child is older, if theyre absorbed in watching their hands in front of their eyes in the classroom, theyre not engaged with schoolwork. Or if the child is pacing around the fence in the playground, theyre missing valuable social opportunities.

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Who Are Some Talented Famous Autistic People

Top 10 Famous Autistic Daniel Tammet. A writer, linguist, educator and one of the 100 living geniuses in the world, Daniel is now considered a smart guy. Temple Grandin, animal and autism advocate. Temple Grandin is known as a renowned autistic individual who has educated and inspired the autistic community without just sharing her life story.

Long And Short Term Strategies For Reducing Specific Repetitive Questions

Beverly Vicker, M.S., CCC-SLP

Family members and professionals are often puzzled about what to do when an individual begins to ask repetitive questions. Like most things that involve individuals across the autism spectrum, the answer is not simple and clear cut. Instead, it is dependent on the circumstances surrounding the usage of the repetitive questions.

Repetitive questions may serve a variety of functions for the person with autism, Aspergers, or other pervasive developmental disorder. What is confusing is that the same question may serve different functions at different times thereby requiring different strategies. The ability to “read” a situation may depend on the communication partner’s familiarity with the person with autism and what he or she knows about that person’s social and repetitive behaviors. Strategy selection is based on correctly guessing the function or real purpose of the person’s repetitive question. This article lists both long term and short term strategies that emanate from the communicative purposes of repetitive questions. The connection will be clearer as the reader reviews the possible communicative functions in the next section and relates them to the strategy sections.

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What Is Autism Compulsive Behavior

Autism compulsive behaviors are acts people tap into or repeat in response to something happening in the environment. Theyre reactive movements, but they dont change the situation in any way.

People with autism may be compelled to:

  • Wave their hands.
  • Push or poke at their eyes.
  • Jam fingers or objects into their ears.
  • Bite their fingers or arms.
  • Bang their heads into walls.

Researchers say people with autism use a variety of behaviors in response to a single trigger. For example, when they are in a room filled with loud noises, they might push their fingers into their ears or yell loudly or bang their heads into the wall. Expose the child to the same trigger the next day, and the child might respond with a different act.

Experts say some people with autism dont see their behaviors as unusual or bizarre. They may even think of them as a helpful response to the world around them. People with ASD use these compulsive behaviors to deal with:

This urge to move is called many different things, including repetitive behavior, self-soothing behavior, or stimming. Many people with autism engage in these acts. In fact, when doctors attempt to spot autism in young patients, they look for evidence of these urges.

Sometimes, however, people with autism spectrum disorder engage in these behaviors for an entirely different reason.

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