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 will help the Autistic child feel a sense of structure. Children with Autism often have anxiety issue they are dealing with. Having a schedule helps the levels of anxiety to drop. 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 hectic. They have lots of doctors and therapist appointments. Sometimes there will be more than one appointment a day. Keeping a schedule can help you and your child to make sure they do not miss any appointments.
Some Autistic children have trouble with reading. You can use a visual schedule. Have pictures for all the daily activities. This allows them to see what is coming next. Having a schedule for your child will help avoid some breakdowns. Keep the schedule posted where your child can see it. If you have to change the schedule explain the changes to your child. They like routines, and a change could 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. Simply show them that after they do this they will get to move onto something else. Tell them they cannot move on until this activity is completed.
There will always be things that come up. Try to stick to the schedule as much as possible. When things come up try to get back on schedule as soon as you can. This includes weekends . 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. Your child will be happier when they have had enough sleep.
Schedules will make life much easier you and 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 if 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.