Overly regulated thinking and autism revisited

Document Type


Publication details

Cashin, A & Yorke, J 2016, 'Overly regulated thinking and autism revisited', Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Nursing, vol. 29, issue 3, pp. 148-153.

Published version available from:


Peer Reviewed




Humans exist within a socially mediated dynamical system. Frequent demands are experienced to respond to change in the environment to adapt and flourish. People with autism have impaired behavioral and thinking flexibility and experience high levels of anxiety, as change and adaptation do not come naturally. The disability inherent in autism is by definition the impaired social and occupational functioning that results from lack of adaptation. The point of the behavioral triad of restricted and repetitive interests, activities, and behaviors has received relatively little attention as compared to the other two points of the triad.


A review of the literature related to restricted and repetitive interests and activities and behaviors and autism was conducted to inform this theoretical review.


This paper considers the overly regulated thought and behavior inherent in autism spectrum disorders through the lens of dynamical systems, and an explanatory model is generated.


The mathematical tools applied to understand dynamical systems may be a fruitful basis of further research to enable the movement from a theoretical concept of overly regulated thinking and behavior in autism to an empirically derived understanding.

Find in your library