Repetitive behaviors and autism

New thinking about repetitive behaviors suggests they provide stress relief and fun for autistic people; as such, these behaviors deserve careful management.

By Emma Bryce
4 September 2020 | 1 min read
Animation by Lottie Kingslake; script by Emma Bryce

Repetitive behaviors are one of autism’s core features and can be sensory or motor based, such as hand-flapping, or more cognitive in nature, such as intensely focused interests. Autistic people may engage in repetitive behaviors as a way to relieve anxiety or for fun — and for this reason, such behaviors deserve careful management.