Patterns of behaviour: stereotyped/repetitive movements – motor/objects/speech

ASD may be accompanied by characteristic repetitive behaviours (spinning or jumping up and down) or stereotypies (twidding the fingers or flapping the hand) or repetitive use of objects in a similar manner such as flicking switches, flushing the toilet repeatedly or verbal repetition, using repetitive phrases.

While some of these are seen in normal childhood development, it is the intensity and frequency that mark them as abnormal as well as age inappropriateness. Adults may have learnt to suppress this when in company.

In DSM-5 it includes lining objects up [which in ICD11 is considered a routine or ritual]. The feature of these actions is they are not driven by anxiety as in OCD (in that not doing it seems to trigger a specific fear that forces repetition), but is done for pleasure, as a general calming mechanism, or for self stimulation.

If a person is said to ask questions repetitively, one needs to clarify if this is for anxiety or ritual - for example does the same answer have to be given each time?

There are 6 video clips in this part of the interview resource.

Get in contact to receive further information regarding a career in psychiatry