Autism therapists often recommend that parents keep their children on a consistent routine. A predictable schedule can ease anxiety in children with autism and help them feel more secure. However, sometimes it’s necessary to change a child’s routine, such as when he or she starts school or when the family takes a vacation. Preparing your child for the changes in his or her schedule can help prevent difficulties such as meltdowns. Additionally, remember to discuss your child’s needs with anyone else who may be affected by the change, such as your child’s new teacher or babysitter.
Introduce Visual Cues
Start by discussing how your child’s schedule will change. Use visual cues to reinforce the information and improve comprehension for your child. For example, if your family is going to fly on an airplane to visit Grandma, you can show your child a picture of an airport, airplane, Grandma’s house, and Grandma. Additionally, mark the journey on your child’s calendar. Discuss how many weeks or days it will be until your family will travel. Every few days, you can point to the calendar and remind your child of what will happen.
Read Relevant Books
Reading books about a particular transition can help children with autism. Your local library may have many illustrated books available on topics such as starting school, going to the dentist, going to the hospital, and flying on airplanes.
Use Social Stories
Social stories can be very helpful in teaching children with autism what they can expect from a particular situation. You can create your own social story by drawing or printing out pictures that depict what will happen. Add simple sentences that tell your child what happens in each picture or instructs your child on the steps he or she needs to follow. For example, if your child is starting school, one picture might depict putting away his or her backpack in a cubby.
When you enroll your child in behavior classes at The Behavior Exchange , our autism therapists will thoroughly assess his or her unique needs. We provide intensive autism therapy in group and one-on-one sessions to help children advance. If you live in the Dallas or Plano areas and you’re interested in learning more about autism therapy options, call us at (214) 556-3947.