Tuesday, January 7, 2014

What's the deal with Perseveration?

Originally posted on Snagglebox.com

What is it?


Perseveration means to respond in the same way repetitively, and can include behaviours like echolalia, stimming, stereotypies, obsessions and routines.

But repetition is only half the story when it comes to perseveration. It’s not just about doing the same thing over and over - it’s continuing to do that thing past the point where it’s reasonable to stop (because the conditions have changed or the behaviour no longer serves a purpose) or being unable to stop. And that’s the key idea about perseveration, the ‘being stuck’ part.

Perseveration can involve actions, thoughts, words, phrases and emotions. For example:

  • Continuing to talk on a topic after the conversation has moved on
  • Anxiety about an event which has passed or no longer a threat
  • Asking the same question over and over despite receiving an answer
  • Not being able to move on from feeling angry
  • Constantly talking about something that happened weeks ago
  • Banging a box on the table to get it to open even though it’s clearly not working
  • Giving the same answer to a different set of questions
  • Looking for a toy in the place where it used to be hidden
  • Texting a new friend over and over even when they don’t reply
  • Repeatedly going over previous conversations in your mind
  • Calling the new teacher by the old teacher’s name
  • Walking around with a towel in your hand long after your shower is over 

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