Autistica network

Managing repetitive behaviours in children with autism

A clinical and cost effectiveness trial of a parent group intervention to manage restricted and repetitive behaviours in young children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

North East Family In person

Restricted and repetitive behaviours (RRB) are a core feature of autism and may include arm or hand-flapping, spinning or twirling, repetitive activities involving the senses, through to repeating favourite phrases, or insisting on a daily routine like having exactly the same snacks for lunch.

Why is this research being done?

While repetitive behaviours can help children with autism manage and express their feelings, some RRB cause distress for the child and their family, interfere with learning and make it more difficult to interact with others. A research team are hoping to use research to develop a new parent-based group intervention that focuses on identification, understanding and management of challenging RRB in young children with autism.


Who are we looking for?

The research team are looking for families who have a child aged between 3 years to 7 years and 11 months, who has a diagnosis of autism or autism spectrum disorder. We are looking for 250 families to take part in our study.

What will be involved?

A researcher will contact you to arrange a home visit, which will take about an hour. During the visit, the researcher will explain about the study and you will be asked to complete some questionnaires. Then, you and your child will attend an appointment at University of Manchester, which will take 1.5-2 hours. A researcher will assess your child's communication and social interactions and you will be asked to complete some questionnaires.

A computer programme will be used to randomly allocate you to a Managing Repetitive Behaviours group or a Learning About Autism group. You will attend your group for 8 weeks. Immediately after your group, then 6 months later, then 12 months later, a researcher will meet you to repeat some questionnaires.