Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 42, Issue 6, pp 1236–1248

Evidence-Based Behavioral Interventions for Repetitive Behaviors in Autism

  • Brian A. Boyd
  • Stephen G. McDonough
  • James W. Bodfish
Original paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10803-011-1284-z

Cite this article as:
Boyd, B.A., McDonough, S.G. & Bodfish, J.W. J Autism Dev Disord (2012) 42: 1236. doi:10.1007/s10803-011-1284-z


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.


Autism spectrum disordersEvidence-based practicesRepetitive behaviors

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Brian A. Boyd
    • 1
  • Stephen G. McDonough
    • 2
  • James W. Bodfish
    • 3
  1. 1.Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, Department of Allied Health SciencesUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyNorth Carolina State UniversityChapel HillUSA
  3. 3.Department of Psychiatry and Pediatrics, Carolina Institute for Developmental DisabilitiesUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillUSA