Thursday, August 4, 2011

How Does a Visual Schedule Benefit the Autistic Child?

Schedules are an essential part of a child's life, they are important to use with children because children will not have to wonder what happens next in their daily routine and they will be able to anticipate activities that they will have to do each day. Schedules are necessarily important for all children however they are extremely essential for children with autism. Autism makes it so that the child has to have a set pattern and structure throughout their day. Schedules help and do extremely well with this. Children with autism often go through their day full of anxiety and this schedule helps reduce that.

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.

One difficulty that many autistic children face is reading, in which it is strongly encouraged to start bringing a visual schedule to help your child go about daily tasks. With these visual schedules you will have pictures of each activity at each point of the day that they have to do, which will help them see what they need to do and what to do next. Having this sort of visual schedule placed where the child can always see it will allow them to understand what to do and not have the occasional breakdowns. It is important that if there is a change to the schedule that you take the extra amount of time needed to explain to the child what was changed and why, so they don't become confused. Since children with autism like schedules, structure, and routines having even one small change to their schedule can put a huge dent on the rest of their day.

Schedules also come into use when you want to teach your child to do something that you already are aware of that they do not like or want to do. Go through the activity with the child and explain in detail that it is important for them to finish this task before they can go forward to the next task or activity. You have to be sold when letting them know and understand that the next activity or task cannot be started until the first task is completed.

As always, life is very unpredictable and things may come up during the day, however it is important to still try and stay with the schedule as much as you possibly can. If something comes up that you cannot avoid make sure that you return to the schedule as soon as possible to avoid the child to become full of anxiety and misunderstanding. The schedule for the day also includes what time they have to wake up in the morning and what time they are going to bed. It is important that you maintain the same times everyday so that the child has a sense of a normal routine.

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 sure to keep the new activity simple and something easily understandable so that the child can ease into learning it. Maintaining a positive attitude for the child so that they will have a tendency to look forward to this activity, which is why it is important to start the new activity slowly and let it build up over time so that the child becomes used to this new activity being a part of their daily routine.

For more information and additional insights about Autism Visual Schedules please visit our web site at

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