Routine and Autism

Everyone needs routines…

We all keep schedules and calendars to visualize what’s coming next in our lives.  Our children are no different.  Knowing what is coming up and having clear routines bring consistency.  Routines can be strong signals to us that things are fine and in order.  Unfortunately, the Coronavirus and required social distance are uprooting familiar routines.  Also, fear and panic bring uncertainty.  What can a caregiver do for children with autism?

Unexpected changes such as school cancellations can cause tremendous anxiety and tantrums for children.  Communication about upcoming changes can help to lessen worry.

  1. Keep routines as consistent as possible.  Wake up at the same time each day.  Eat meals as regularly scheduled.
  2. Make sure bedtime is consistent.  Try a warm bath with low lighting and play calming music.  No devices at least one hour prior to bedtime.
  3. Create a visual schedule by taking pictures with your phone, printing, and laminating them.  Put the schedule in a common location and review it often.  Add time for play.
  4. Talk about any changes in routing AS SOON as you can.  Preparation and discussion by making new routines and plans can help kids who struggle with changes.
  5. Let your child help make a new daily schedule.  Including kids in decisions about their lives can bring feelings of power to them.  Confidence can result from kids helping to make new routines or including familiar items into new routines.

Talk to your child’s ABA clinician, psychologist, or occupational therapist for more tips on routines.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *