i can only answer from experience rather than from knowledge, but maybe some of you reading this will see something or other that 'clicks' .. .
ritualistic behaviour is basic…ally a pattern of behaviour that some one follows without realising they are doing so, IE trying to get a child to put on a new jumper when that new jumper is nothing like any of the other jumpers the child has, case in point; trying to get child to wear a 'hoody' instead of a cowl necked jumper. this breaks from what the child thinks is normal and therefore 'ritualistic' and can create a temper tantrum or a major argument (known as challenging behaviour). anything that breaks away from what the child or person believes is 'normal' can create friction in the form of tantrums or rows -depending on the age of the person and their speech abilities -. .
little things like a change in the daytime routine IE lunch an hour later than usual, walking a different route to school. travelling by bus instead of by car etc can upset the child/person simply because it is a deviation in what the child believes to be the right thing and create a fractious child or an argument as to why the change is happening when it does not usually occur. the reaction is the 'challenging behaviour' that comes with the 'ritualistic behaviour' .
be warned though, as we have been warned, these 'challenging behaviour' out bursts can, become violent as the child gets older. frustration can lead to the child hitting out. not to say that they definitely will mind you, just that they can. fore warned is fore armed so to speak. .
this 'ritualistic behaviour' is not easy to spot because most children have some sort of routine created for them by the parents when they are young, our little one was 4 years old when what we thought was him being 'fussy' with clothes and toys was suggested as 'ritualistic behaviour'. i mention toys simply because our little one puts toys back in to place but not in any order. IE bricks go in one drawer and only in one drawer, they are not however, segmented into different colours in that drawer, they just 'have' to be in that drawer, of one brick is found in another drawer, then he wants to know 'whats that doing there? its supposed to be in here' and puts the brick into what he considers the correct drawer along with all the others. books go back on to the shelf they were taken off but not in a set order, as long as the book is put back on the shelf then all is well, books left on a coffee table shouldn't be there' and are moved to the right place. .
meal times have to be at a set time, each day, most parents create this when the children are small so as to have some order to their days. with ritualistic behaviour, a deviation from that set meal time, could create the 'challenging behaviour' with the child repeatedly telling you its dinner time now isn't it or a child wanting to know why they are not having dinner. it could also mean that the child, when dinner is given, not eating it, simply because, to them, it is not time to eat. .
sleep patterns are the same, unless the 'correct' bedtime routine is followed, even down to the time, they wont sleep and wake at odd hours, sleep patterns can be disturbed by the daytime routine being altered too. lunch an hour later than 'normal' throws out the 'ritual' of the day and sleep is disturbed by way of the earlier 'blip' in the days routine .
getting children to accept change when they have 'ritualistic behaviour' tendencies is not easy. a nursery nurse was recommended to us to help us help him to accept changes. just because these children have ritualistic behaviour tendencies doesn't mean they can not change, it just means they need extra help in being able to adopt these changes as normal behaviour. .
if you think that your child may be showing signs of 'ritualistic behaviour' speak to your health visitor who will be able to discuss your worries, re assure you and get you the help that will make life much easier for you and your child. .
i hope that what little i have written helps some one out there by enabling them to understand better what 'ritualistic behaviour' is. ( Full Answer )