By Dolores Santos…
Kids on the autism spectrum prefer routine in their daily lives. Of course, each child on the autism spectrum is different, and their routines should be tailored to their specific needs and preferences as they may even follow them into adulthood. There are a few helpful tricks that can make your routine easier, regardless of your child’s unique condition.
A generalized routine should include a set morning and evening routine as these are the most difficult times of day for most ASD kids. Make sure to include a consistent yet nutritious diet and plenty of good quality sleep. As simple as that sounds, actually putting your new routine into effect can prove challenging. With that in mind, here are a few tricks to make your child’s daily routine easier.
Create a Visual Schedule
While some kids with ASD have no trouble reading, others may find reading very difficult or even impossible. Crafting your own visual schedule can make it much simpler for your child to follow along with what’s coming up next and what’s expected of them.
Making the schedule can even become a fun craft for you and your child to do together. You might take pictures of your child doing each activity on the schedule and place them in order on your daily schedule, or you may find it easier to print cartoon images. Good things to include might be brushing teeth, eating, playing, sleeping, and running errands.
Plan Changes Far in Advance
Kids with autism do not handle sudden changes well. If they are accustomed to going to the same classroom at the same time each day, a field trip will be an unwelcome interruption. The same can be said for things like playdates or doctor’s visits.
To mentally prepare your child, plan these out-of-the-ordinary events far in advance. Let them know what is coming. You may even want to add a visual aid to a monthly calendar to mark the day the event will occur. In theory, your child will be prepared by the time the event rolls around.
Make Mundane Activities Fun
Things like brushing your teeth or getting into bed are not exciting and your child may be unwilling to cooperate when it comes time to do them. While an established routine can help your child learn what is expected of them, it isn’t always so easy. So, rather than telling your child to brush their teeth, you might try buying a fun, exciting toothbrushor colorful toothpaste that makes your child look forward to brushing their teeth.
Similarly, you might opt to read a story your child loves before bed or provide a special stuffed toy your child can only access once in bed. There are hundreds of ways to spice up the boring daily activities in your child’s life. Just keep in mind that once you incorporate something into the routine, you will need to stick with it.
Maintaining a daily schedule is surprisingly easy as everyone can benefit from routine. It becomes even more worthwhile when your child begins acting happy and better behaved as a result. When learning to rework your daily life to incorporate a good ASD routine, it’s really a matter of testing out new tricks and methods. After a bit of testing, you will soon have a fine-tuned routine that makes both you and your child happy.
Image via Pixabay by Barni1