Behavioral flexibility in individuals with autism: Theory, assessment, and intervention

Vanessa A. Green, Jeff Sigafoos, Mark O'Reilly, Keenan A. Pituch, Robert Didden, Giulio E. Lancioni, Nirbhay N. Singh

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

25 Scopus citations


Many of the problems in daily living that affect individuals with autism seem to reflect a lack of behavioral flexibility. This apparent lack of behavioral flexibility is characteristically manifest by an extreme resistance to change and almost obsessive insistence on the maintenance of sameness. This chapter describes the characteristic resistance to change and insistence on sameness that is prevalent among individuals with autism and reviews the various theories that have been offered to explain this pattern of behavior. Conceptually, a resistance to change and insistence on sameness may indicate a more general deficit in behavioral flexibility. Recent advances related to the assessment of behavioral flexibility are therefore reviewed as this may assist in understanding and ameliorating problems associated with resisting change and insisting on sameness. The implications of these recent advances are considered and intervention approaches for increasing behavioral flexibility are outlined.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAutism Research Advances
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Number of pages16
ISBN (Print)1600215238, 9781600215230
StatePublished - Jan 2007
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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