Short-term trajectories of restricted and repetitive behaviors in minimally verbal children with autism spectrum disorder

Clare Harrop, Kyle Sterrett, Wendy Shih, Rebecca Landa, Ann Kaiser, Connie Kasari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Very little is known about the 30% of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) who remain minimally verbal when they enter school. Restricted and repetitive behaviors (RRBs) are well-characterized in younger, preschool, and toddler samples. However, the prevalence and impact of RRBs has not been characterized in older, minimally verbal children. The goal of this study was to characterize this core diagnostic feature in minimally verbal children with ASD ages 5–8 years over a 9-month period to better understand how these behaviors manifest in this crucially understudied population. RRBs were coded from caregiver-child interactions (CCX) at four timepoints. Upon entry into the study, children demonstrated an average of 17 RRBs during a 10-min CCX. The most common category was Verbal. RRBs remained constant over 6 months; however, a slight reduction was observed at the final timepoint. Compared to prior literature on younger samples, minimally verbal children with ASD demonstrated higher rates of RRBs and higher rates of verbal RRBs. Further work is required to understand the function and impact of RRBs in minimally verbal children. Lay Abstract: Approximately one-third of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) remain minimally verbal at the time of school entry. In this study, we sought to characterize the presence of restricted and repetitive behaviors (RRBs) in school-aged children (5–8) who were minimally verbal. Compared to prior studies, minimally verbal children with ASD had higher frequencies of RRBs and demonstrated a different profile of behaviors, including more verbal RRBs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1789-1799
Number of pages11
JournalAutism Research
Volume14
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2021

Keywords

  • language
  • minimally verbal
  • repetitive behaviors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Genetics(clinical)

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