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J Autism Dev Disord. 2012 Jun;42(6):1236-48. doi: 10.1007/s10803-011-1284-z.

Evidence-based behavioral interventions for repetitive behaviors in autism.

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Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, Department of Allied Health Sciences, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, CB# 7122, Bondurant Hall, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7120, USA.


Restricted and repetitive behaviors (RRBs) are a core symptom of autism spectrum disorders (ASD). There has been an increased research emphasis on repetitive behaviors; however, this research primarily has focused on phenomenology and mechanisms. Thus, the knowledge base on interventions is lagging behind other areas of research. The literature suggests there are evidence-based practices to treat "lower order" RRBs in ASD (e.g., stereotypies); yet, there is a lack of a focused program of intervention research for "higher order" behaviors (e.g., insistence on sameness). This paper will (a) discuss barriers to intervention development for RRBs; (b) review evidence-based interventions to treat RRBs in ASD, with a focus on higher order behaviors; and (c) conclude with recommendations for practice and research.

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