The processing friendly tool we’d like to share with you today is known as “forecasting.” If you’re like me, when you make plans to go to the lake or on a hike, you check the weather forecast. Why? That way you know what to expect and can plan accordingly.
Now, think about how this principle might alleviate the stress your son or daughter feels when they are asked to do something, or go somewhere with little warning. Remember, one of the symptoms of autism is less than optimal processing speed and transitions can cause all sorts of anxiety for them. When information, events, and expectations get dumped on your child, it’s a fool proof way to flood their processing funnel.
Forecasting gives your child that heads up they need before any sort of transition is expected to occur. This tool can be used throughout the day or in the morning to set healthy expectations for what events are planned.
If you are a parent who limits the amount of TV or tech time, an effective way to use this approach could
be as simple as, “Jake, you have 15 more minutes on your computer before we need to put it away.” This is bound to go over far smoother than, “Jake, bring me your computer – your time is up.”
As always, the utility of this approach is tremendous and is certainly useful beyond the scope of autism.