Relations of Restricted and Repetitive Behaviors to Social Skills in Toddlers with Autism

Pang Chaxiong, Catherine Burrows, Kelly N. Botteron, Stephen R. Dager, Annette M. Estes, Heather C. Hazlett, Robert T. Schultz, Lonnie Zwaigenbaum, Joseph Piven, Jason Wolff

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We examined the relations of restricted and repetitive behaviors (RRB; insistence on sameness, repetitive sensory-motor, self-injurious behavior) to social skills overall and aspects that comprise social skills as measured by the VABS-II (coping skills, play/leisure time, interpersonal relationships) in 24- (n = 63) and 36-month old (n = 35), high-familial-risk toddlers with ASD. Hierarchical linear regression results indicated that repetitive sensory-motor was the best predictor of social skills overall. Secondary results indicated that all three RRB subtypes were associated with each subdomain of social skills; however, repetitive sensory-motor was the strongest and most consistent among these effects. While our results suggests a general negative relation of subtypes of RRB to aspects of adaptive social function, repetitive sensory-motor behaviors may be of particular relevance to the development of social skills during toddlerhood.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
StatePublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health under awards R01MH116961, P30HD03110, and R01HD05574; Autism Speaks, and the Simons Foundation. We wish to express our gratitude to IBIS families for continued participation in this research.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s).

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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