Patterns of Restricted and Repetitive Behaviors in Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Cross-Sectional Video Recording Study. Preliminary Report

Brain Sci. 2021 May 21;11(6):678. doi: 10.3390/brainsci11060678.


Background: Several instruments have been proposed to investigate restricted, repetitive behaviors (RRBs) in individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Systematic video observations may overcome questionnaire and interview limitations to investigate RRBs. This study aimed to analyze stereotypic patterns through video recordings and to determine the correlation between the number and appearance of RRBs to ASD severity.

Methods: Twenty health professionals wearing a body cam recorded 780 specific RRBs during everyday activities of 67 individuals with ASD (mean age: 14.2 ± 3.72 years) for three months. Each stereotypy was classified according to its complexity pattern (i.e., simple or complex) based on body parts and sensory channels involved.

Results: The RRBs spectrum for each subject ranged from one to 33 different patterns (mean: 11.6 ± 6.82). Individuals with a lower number of stereotypies shown a lower ASD severity compared to subjects with a higher number of stereotypies (p = 0.044). No significant differences were observed between individuals exhibiting simple (n = 40) and complex patterns (n = 27) of stereotypies on ASD severity, age, sex, and the number of stereotypes.

Conclusions: This study represents the first attempt to systematically document expression patterns of RRBs with a data-driven approach. This may provide a better understanding of the pathophysiology and management of RRBs.

Keywords: autism spectrum disorder; classification; motor stereotypies; real-world data; rehabilitation; repetitive behaviors; video recording.