Repetitive behaviour and play in typically developing children and children with autism spectrum disorders

J Autism Dev Disord. 2007 Jul;37(6):1107-15. doi: 10.1007/s10803-006-0253-4.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Autistic Disorder / diagnosis*
  • Autistic Disorder / psychology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Communication
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Imagination*
  • Language Development Disorders / diagnosis
  • Language Development Disorders / psychology
  • Male
  • Personality Assessment
  • Play and Playthings*
  • Reference Values
  • Stereotyped Behavior*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires