Schedules are very important when dealing with children who have special needs such as Autism. Of course, schedules are important to all children, but they are especially important for autistic children. Having a schedule will help the autistic children’s need to feel a sense of structure, and schedules are an essential part in helping them to secure in their structured lives. Children who have autism often deal with anxiety issues. Anxiety levels are lower when the autistic child has a dependable schedule. With a good schedule, he or she will know what to expect each day. They will know what they will be doing at various times of the day.
Schedules can be very important to parents, as well. When an autistic child’s daily life has no schedule or structure, things will tend to be very hectic for the parents. Autistic children often have many appointments with doctors and therapist. Frequently several appointments may be made for the same day. Keeping a detailed schedule can help you to make sure your child does not miss any appointments.
Sometimes you can use schedules to help when you try to get your child to do something they do not want to do. You can show them that they will get to do something else after they do what you want them to do. Tell them that they must complete this activity before they can move on.
In many cases, reading is a problem for autistic children. Using visual schedules with pictures for each of the routine daily activities can be a big help. With visual schedules they can see and understand what is next. Keep the schedule in a place where your child can look at it. When you need to change the schedule be sure to explain to your child why you are making the changes. This can help to avoid a meltdown because autistic children depend on routines. Changes can cause their whole day to be out of whack.
Things will always come up to throw your schedule off track, but you should stick to the schedule as closely as you can. When unexpected things do come up. get back on schedule as quickly as possible. Even on weekends you should stay with the routine. If your child normally gets up at seven o’clock in the morning, continue to have him do so. It is also important to to Keep bedtimes close to the same time each night. Your autistic child will be happier when they have had enough sleep.
Having and following good schedules will make your life much easier and your autistic child will be happier. Keep them posted so that your child can see it, and do your best to stick to the schedule.
Here is an example of a schedule you can try:
7:00 AM Wake up, dress, get ready for the day
8:00 AM Have Breakfast
9:00 AM Appointment For Therapy (At Home )
11:00 AM Free Play Time/ Free Time
12:00 PM Have Lunch
1:00 PM Play Outdoors
2:00 PM Arts, Crafts
3:00 PM Free Time
5:00 PM Have Dinner
6:00 PM TV Time
7:00 PM Bath
8:00 PM Bed Time
Having a schedule such as this will allow your child to know what to expect during the day. Be sure to include appointments for therapy and doctor appointments. Older children can still benefit from having a schedule. Of course, the schedule will have to be adjusted to include school time and extra curricular activities. You should also include homework time and time for chores. When you begin using a chart for your autistic child you probably will see a significant improvement in the way your day flows. Little time will be left for boredom because there will always be something planned to do.