ABA therapy providers recommend maintaining a predictable schedule for children with autism, as changes in routine can make them feel uncomfortable. However, change is sometimes necessary. An autism therapist can teach you the strategies that can help your child adjust to changes in daily life. These strategies can be effective regardless of whether the change is minor (wearing a new shirt) or major (taking a family trip).
Introduce visual aids.
Visual aids will improve your child’s understanding of the world around him or her, including changes in daily routines. Experienced parents of children with autism often have large schedules posted prominently in the home to help kids keep track of what they’re supposed to be doing at any given time. A large wall calendar can also introduce upcoming events. If your family will be taking a trip to the aquarium in a couple of weeks, you can talk about it with your child in advance. Help him or her mark it on the calendar and, each day, count down the number of days remaining until the trip.
Use social stories.
The more your child knows about what will happen and how he or she should behave, the easier the transition will be. Use social stories to explain every detail. Social stories consist of simple sentences matched with pictures that explain a common event, such as going to grandma’s house or meeting a new friend.
Practice doing the new activity.
Children with autism can make amazing progress when they have the opportunity to practice new activities. This is true of everyday events like talking to peers and for special occasions like flying on an airplane. For instance, you and your child can go to the airport before the departure date to explore the terminal and security checkpoint. Some airlines have even held events that let kids with autism get on a plane to experience the concept of flying without actually going anywhere.
The behavior analysts at The Behavior Exchange are on a mission to improve quality of life for your whole family by reducing undesirable behaviors like resistance to change. Call our autism therapy center in Plano at (888) 716-8084. We look forward to meeting your family and helping your child reach his or her full potential.