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Using An Autism Schedule To Help Your Autistic Child

Jun 11, 2008
Some people may not be aware that schedules play a very important role in all children's lives. Children like schedules because they don't have to guess or wonder what is supposed to happen, they are able to anticipate what will happen when. However, having a schedule is crucial for a child who is autistic. Children with autism have to have some sort of sense or idea of structure throughout their daily routines to help them overcome their feelings of anxiety that they normally have. Throughout their days they will know exactly what activity they will be doing at a specific time every single day.

If a child with autism does not have a set and structured schedule each day it will make things hectic and dysfunctional for the child and the caregiver. Even though it may be easy for you to remember doctor appointments and other necessary activities you have to do, a child with autism does not have that natural ability of remembering things like that. Autistic children cannot simply do things at different times whenever it feels right because they have to have a schedule.

Children with autism have a great difficult time with reading. One way to deal with that difficulty is to make a visual schedule to help those complete daily tasks in their routine. Visual schedules consists of pictures of every activity the child has to complete that do and it shows exactly at what time it needs to be done. The visual schedule will be placed where it is easily accessible for the child so they can see it and understand what they need to do. If there is a possible change in the child's schedule for the day it is essential that you take the necessary time to explain to the child what changed and why so they do not have a breakdown. One change can completely through off some children and for the rest of the day they will be completely confused and filled with anxiety.

Other than using visual schedules to show your child what they need to do each day, they can also be used to teach your child to do something that you already know they do not like or want to do. If this is the case in the use of the visual schedule, you need to go through the activity and explain in depth why it is important for them to do this before they can move forward to the following activity. Make sure that once you are going over the activity that they know the importance of finishing the task.

Life is unpredictable and it is common for random events to come up during the day. Even with these unplanned events it is crucial to try your best to stick to the schedule as much as possible. If the event is simply unavoidable make sure that you return to the schedule so that the child won't be filled with anxiety and confusion. This visual schedule also includes what time the child must wake up each morning and what time they are expected to go to bed. Maintaining consistent times everyday is important so that the child has a sense of normal scheduling.

Even though it is important to have schedules for all children, it is significantly important for autistic children. Having the best understanding that you can about how autistic children require structure and daily routines will make it better for you to work with them. Once the daily routine has been working for your child, after a while it may be important to consider the introduction of new activities to their daily routine. For example, label the activity as, "Learn Something New".

Make this new activity as simple as you can and something that can be easily learned. Maintain a positive attitude about the new activity and be excited so the child will highly anticipate this point of the day. Take your time explaining the activity to them so that they know what is going on and that it's a good thing to have this new part to their daily visual schedule.
About the Author
For more insights and additional information about Autism Visual Schedules please visit our web site at http://www.autism-explained.com
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