Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 37, Issue 6, pp 1107–1115

Repetitive Behaviour and Play in Typically Developing Children and Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders

  • Emma Honey
  • Sue Leekam
  • Michelle Turner
  • Helen McConachie
ORIGINAL PAPER

Abstract

The view of a triad of impairments [(Wing and Gould (1979). Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 9, 11–30] in which impaired imagination is linked with repetitive behaviour is widely accepted. However this categorisation differs from the international classification systems, which link imagination to communication impairments rather than to repetitive behaviours. To investigate this relationship, the Activities and Play Questionnaire-Revised was completed by 196 parents of 2–8-year-old children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and typical development. Results showed that repetitive behaviours were associated with play in ASD but not in typical development, supporting Wing and Gould’s triad. However there was also an association between play, repetitive behaviour and language, confirming the international classification systems description of imagination as a component of language and communication difficulties.

Keywords

Autism Repetitive behaviours Play Parental report Questionnaire 

References

  1. American Psychological Association (1994). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (4th ed.). Washington DC: APA.Google Scholar
  2. Bailey, D. B., Simeonsson, R. J., Byusse, V., & Smith, T. (1993). Reliability of an index of child characteristics. Developmental Medcine and Child Neurology, 35, 806–815.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Baron-Cohen, S. (1987). Autism and symbolic play. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 5, 139–148.Google Scholar
  4. Bates, E. (1979). The emergence of symbols, cognition and communication. New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  5. Bates, E., O’Connell, B., & Store, C. (1987). Language and communication in infancy. In J. D. Ofosky (Ed.) Handbook of infant development. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  6. Berkson, G., & Tupa, M. (2000). Early development of stereotyped and self-injurious behaviours. Journal of Early Intervention, 23(1), 1–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Berument, S. K., Rutter, M., Lord, C., Pickles, A., & Bailey, A. (1999). Autism screening questionnaire: diagnostic validity. British Journal of Psychiatry, 175, 444–451.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Bishop, D. V. M. (1989). Autism, Asperger’s syndrome and semantic-pragmatic disorder: where are the boundaries? British Journal of Disorders of Communication, 24, 107–121.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Bishop, D. V. M. (1998). Development of the children’s communication checklist (CCC): a method for assessing qualitative aspects of communication impairment in children. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 39, 879–891.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Bodfish, J. W., Symons, F. J., Parker, D. E., & Lewis, M. H. (2000). Varieties of repetitive behaviour in autism: comparisons to mental retardation. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 30(3), 237–243.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Charman, T., Swettenham, J., Baron-Cohen, S., Cox, A., Baird, G., & Drew, A. (2000). An experimental investigating of social cognitive abilities in infants with autism: clinical implications. In D. Muir, & A. Slater (Eds.), Infant development: the essential readings. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  12. Evans, D. W., Leckman, J. F., Carter, A., Reznick, J. S., Henshaw, D., King, R. A., & Pauls, D. (1997). Ritual, habit and perfectionism: the prevalence and development of compulsive like behaviour in normal young children. Child Development, 68(1), 58–68.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Fenson, L., Dale, P. S., Reilly, J. S., Reznick, J. S, Thal, D., & Bates, E. (1993). The macarthur communicative development inventory: manual and norms. San Diego: Singular Publishing Company.Google Scholar
  14. Frith, U. (1989). Autism—explaining the enigma. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.Google Scholar
  15. Hermelin, B., & O’Connor, N. (1963). The response and self-generated behaviours of severely disturbed children and severely subnormal controls. British Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 2, 37–43.Google Scholar
  16. Happé, F. (1994). Autism: an introduction to psychological theory. East Sussex: Psychology Press.Google Scholar
  17. Jarrold, C. (2003). A review of research into pretend play in autism. Autism, 7, 379–290.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Jarrold, C., Boucher, J., & Smith, P. K. (1996). Generativity deficits in pretend play in autism. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 14, 275–300.Google Scholar
  19. Kanner, L. (1943). Autistic disturbances of affective contact. Nervous Child, 2, 217–250.Google Scholar
  20. Leekam, S. R., Libby, S., Wing, L., Gould, J., & Taylor, C. (2002). The diagnostic interview for social and communication disorders: algorithms for ICD-10 childhood autism and wing and Gould autistic spectrum disorder. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 43(3), 327–342.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Lewis, M. H., & Boucher, J. (1988). Spontaneous, instructed and elicited play in relatively able autistic children. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 6(4), 325–339.Google Scholar
  22. Libby, S., Powell, S., Messer, D., & Jordan, R. (1998). Spontaneous play in children with autism: A reappraisal. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 28(6), 487–497.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. McCune-Nicolich, L. (1981). Towards symbolic functioning: Structure of early pretend games and potential parallels with language. Child Development, 52, 785–797.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. McCune, L. (1995). A normative study of representational play at the transition to language. Developmental Psychology, 31(2), 198–206.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Morans, D. W. (1997). Communication assessment. In F. R. Volkmar, & D. Cohen (Eds.), Handbook of autism and pervasive developmental disorders. NY: Wiley.Google Scholar
  26. Piaget, J. (1962) Play, dreams and imitation. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.Google Scholar
  27. Prior, M., & Macmillan, M. B. (1973). Maintenance of sameness in children with Kanners syndrome. Journal of Autism and Childhood Schizophrenia, 3, 154–167.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Russell, J., Mauthner, N., Sharpe, S., & Tidswell, T. (1991). The ‘windows task’ as a measure of strategic deception in preschoolers and autistic subjects. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 9, 331–349.Google Scholar
  29. Turner, M. (1999). Annotation: Repetitive behaviour in autism. In J. Russell (Ed.), Executive function and autism (pp. 57–106). New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  30. Williams, E., Reddy, V., & Costell, A. (2001). Taking a closer look at functional play in children with autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 31(1), 61–77.Google Scholar
  31. Wing, L. (1996). The autistic spectrum. London: Constable.Google Scholar
  32. Wing, L., & Gould, J. (1979). Severe impairments of social interaction and associated abnormalities in children: Epidemiology and classification. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 9, 11–30.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Wing, L., Leekam, S. R., Libby, S., Gould, J., & Larcombe, M. (2002). The diagnostic interview for social and communication disorders: Background, inter-rater reliability and clinical use. Journal of Clinical Psychology and Psychiatry, 43(3), 307–325.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. World Health Organisation (1993). The ICD-10 classification of mental and behavioural disorders: Diagnostic criteria for research (P147–149). Geneva: WHO.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Emma Honey
    • 1
  • Sue Leekam
    • 1
  • Michelle Turner
    • 1
  • Helen McConachie
    • 2
  1. 1.Psychology DepartmentUniversity of DurhamDurhamUK
  2. 2.Child and Adolescent Mental HealthUniversity of NewcastleNewcastle upon TyneUK

Personalised recommendations