Autistic Children Need Schedules
Schedules are an important part of every child’s life. This is especially true when dealing with a child of special needs like Autism. Having a schedule helps the Autistic child feel a sense of structure and eases anxiety. The more structured the schedule, then the less the anxiety. They know what to expect on a daily basis. They know at a certain time of the day what they will be doing.
If there is no schedule or structure in an Autistic child’s daily life things will be very chaotic. An Autistic child has lots of doctors and therapy appointments and sometimes there are more than one appointment in a day. So as your child’s caregiver this helps keep you on task as well and not to miss any upcoming appointments.
Some Autistic children have trouble with reading. So you should have some type of visual visual schedule with pictures of daily activities, so they can see what is coming next. Having a schedule helps avoid meltdowns and keeping that schedule posted where he or she can see it. If you have to change the schedule explain the changes to your child as soon as they take place or with a social story, if time permits. Any change to a daily routine can throw a whole day out of whack and end up unproductive and throw their whole day out of whack.
Schedules can be a help when trying to get the child to do something they do not want to do, but by simply showing them what they will get after doing the activity or homework subject will ultimately be successful.
There will always be things that come up, so try and stick to the schedule as much as possible. When things come up get back on schedule as best as you can, which includes weekends, morning routines, bedtimes, and vacations. For example, if your child is used to getting up at seven in the morning continue to do so. Keep their bedtimes close to the same time each night, so that they have the proper amount of sleep and will be much happier.
Schedules will make life much easier ffor you, your family and most of all your Autistic child. Keep them posted for your child to see, and stick to the schedule the best you can. An example of a schedule you can use is found below.
7 AM Wake up, get dressed and ready for the day
8 AM Breakfast
9 AM Therapy Appointment at home
11 AM Free time/ Play time
12 PM Lunch
1 PM Outdoor Play
2 PM Arts and Crafts
3 PM Free Time
5 PM Dinner
6 PM TV time
7 PM Bath time
8 PM Bed Time
This allows the child to know what is going on during the day. Include doctors, or therapy appointments on the schedule. An older child can still benefit from a schedule. It has to be adjusted for school time, and any extra curricular activities. You can include homework time, and chores into the chart. Once you start using a chart for your Autistic child you will see a improvement in the flow of your day. This also leaves little time for boredom. There is always something planned to do.
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Mandu Usoro is a lifestyle blogger, freelance writer, experienced homeschooler and US Army Veteran with a BS Degree in Social Work and AA Degrees in Psychology as well as Health Care Administration. She enjoys spending time with her family, advocating for her special needs son and writing for fun and inspiration. You can get in touch with her on Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and at https://www.homeschoolspecneedstidbits.com/contact-us