Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 49, Issue 8, pp 3047–3059 | Cite as

Interventions for Repetitive Behavior in Young Children with Autism: A Survey of Behavioral Practices

  • Tracy J. RaulstonEmail author
  • Sarah G. Hansen
  • Wendy Machalicek
  • Laura Lee McIntyre
  • Amarie Carnett


Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) display social-communication deficits and present with rigid and repetitive patterns of behavior and/or interests (RRBIs). Compared to interventions for social-communication skills, less attention has been given to RRBIs, especially with regard to interventions for young children. We surveyed 128 behavior analysts who implemented interventions for young children with ASD on their use of 16 practices and one assessment for the treatment of RRBIs. The majority of our sample perceived the practices to be effective in producing sustainable behavior change. Behavior analysts generally responded in the same way to items about reinforcement-based practices, punishment-based practices, and a group of commonly packaged antecedent and consequence-based package components. Implications and future directions are discussed.


Autism spectrum disorder Repetitive behavior Restricted interests Stereotypy Young children Behavioral treatment 


Author Contributions

TJR, WM, and LLM conceptualized and designed the study. TJR and SGH created and validated the survey, ran the analyses, and wrote the manuscript. AC assisted in data analysis and manuscript preparation.


The first author received funding through the Engaging New Leaders in Implementation Science Training Leadership Grant of the United States Department of Education Office of Special Education Programs during survey item creation and data collection. The third author received faculty research funds from the College of Education at the University of Oregon for subject honorarium. The second author presented these data at a symposium session at the 44th annual Association for Behavior Analysis in San Diego, California in May 2018.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflicts of interest

There are no potential conflicts of interest to report.

Research involving human participants

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tracy J. Raulston
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  • Sarah G. Hansen
    • 2
    • 3
  • Wendy Machalicek
    • 3
  • Laura Lee McIntyre
    • 3
  • Amarie Carnett
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Educational Psychology, Counseling, and Special EducationThe Pennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA
  2. 2.Department of Learning SciencesGeorgia State UniversityAtlantaUSA
  3. 3.Department of Special Education and Clinical SciencesUniversity of OregonEugeneUSA
  4. 4.Department of Educational PsychologyUniversity of Texas at San AntonioSan AntonioUSA

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