@Anonymous Dear parent It must be quite confusing dealing with the repetitive movements in your child with autism.However, repetitive movements (and sometimes repetitive speech) are a common occurrence in Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). These repetitive movements could be rocking, twirling, moving back and forth, hand flapping, spinning, etc. and are referred to as stimming. Stimming could occur due to the following reasons: a) when the child is overstimulated by factors such as bright lights, noises, smells, etc., b) when the child is feeling anxious, due to a change on routine or due to uncertainty over what comes next, or c) the child finds the movement enjoyable. Finding the reason for the stimming usually helps in determining what to do about it. Telling the child to stop wont often work, but you could try the following: 1. If the child is overstimulated, try to cut down on the stimuli in the child's environment. For example, bring the child to a familiar place, or if that's not possible, give her her favourite toy, or blanket, use noise-cancelling headphones, and stay with the child to help her calm down. 2. If the child is feeling stressed due to a change in routine, she may benefit from a visual schedule, which includes a picture of the activity and a time it will occur. These schedules help children know what to expect and in turn reduce anxiety, especially when they are transitioning from a high-preference activity to one they don't enjoy. Social stories and meditation are other great techniques for helping a child relieve anxiety. 3. If the child is performing the movements out of pleasure, it usually helps to incorporate them in a game the child can play. For example, moving back and forth could be incorporated in a game of skipping rope or hopping between 2-3 buckets lined up in a row. All the best!