Repetitive, purposeless behaviours are a common symptom of autism. For Franklin they are heightened when he is stressed or anxious.
Since starting back at school and having to cope with that enormous change, his physical repetitive behaviours are off the scale. It’s a coping strategy he uses to reduce his anxiety and overwhelm. He can focus his concentration on this, instead of what’s going on around him, and create predictability.
For example he has started switching the light switch in his bedroom on and off at least twice before he goes into the room. He often has a bath before bed, yet he now will only go to bed if I give him a bath twice. He gets out of the bath, screams until I fully dry and dress him, he goes downstairs then immediately asks for a bath via PECS. We go through the whole process again and then and only then will he go to bed! (I have tried but he screamed relentlessly in his room and worked himself up into such a state).
When using PECS to ask for a drink or toast, he takes a sip or a bite and puts it down on the side, and asks me again for it immediately. He is also using the toilet twice even though he doesn’t need it the second time, he just sits on it and gets straight off.
Yesterday the grandparents were saying goodbye to Franklin as they were leaving and getting in their car and he went into a huge meltdown, so I got them to come back into the house, say bye again and leave. He was fine this time, because it had happened twice!
I asked his teacher today and she confirmed he is repeating behaviours twice in school too.
I’m hoping once he settles back into school and his anxiety starts to reduce, these repetitive behaviours will also reduce🤞