Autism is a spectrum of disorders with an equally diverse set of symptoms. These symptoms manifest differently in each individual with autism. The symptoms of autism impact behavior in some interesting ways and usually tie directly to feelings and reactions to environmental and sensory stimuli. One of these behaviors is scripting, which is a repetitive behavior that may be common in verbal children with autism. In this post, we’ll discuss autism and scripting.
Scripting & Repetitive Behavior
Autism is widely known for a handful of common symptoms. Depending on the severity of the individual’s symptoms they can display some physical manifestations as well. Those physical and more visual symptoms are called repetitive behaviors.
Scripting is the repetition of words, phrases, or sounds from other people’s speech. Most commonly scripting phrases and sounds are from movies, tv, or other sources like books or people they interact with. Scripting is especially common in children on the spectrum who are learning to talk.
Why Does Scripting Occur?
As with many things related to autism, research uncovers plenty of questions along with answers. Still unanswered remains the “why” behind many of the behaviors individuals on the spectrum display. That being said, the conversation around repetitive behaviors has pivoted from negativity to understanding.
Scripting, like other repetitive behaviors, is more likely to serve as a sort of coping mechanism for people on the spectrum, especially during high stress or anxiety-inducing social situations. Scripting phrases may also serve as a sort of backup for when people on the spectrum feel pressure to think of an original thought or thing to say, especially in a group setting. Either way, scripting is not necessarily a bad behavior, and can even be playful or helpful as your child learns to speak and verbalize.
Dealing with Scripting and Repetitive Behavior
The first step to dealing with scripting or other repetitive behaviors is of course to ensure your child is properly diagnosed if they aren’t already. From there, we always encourage a constructive and optimistic mindset when dealing with any type of challenging behavior. Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy focuses on your child’s needs while teaching them how to develop healthy coping and life skills. ABA therapy can help get your child on track by achieving developmental and behavioral milestones to support their personal and academic success. Pair this with positive reinforcement at home, and your child can make huge strides forward.
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