Everyday tasks can prove to be a challenge with an autistic child because they need constant reminders. Transitioning from one task to another can cause anxiety or a meltdown to occur. However, social stories, visual schedules, and reminder strips can help alleviate the stress and anxiety associated with the everyday tasks that so many of us do with ease.
To many parents, hearing the word “schedule” can be overbearing. When it was first suggested that I create a picture/visual schedule for my autistic child, I thought that it wouldn’t be helpful. I mean, if my child is already so rigid with the order of things – wouldn’t creating a schedule make her even more dependent on everything being in order all the time? I came up with many excuses to avoid making the first picture chart. I found it intimidating to create charts and schedules, but at the same time I understood that no one could make the chart for us. Since every family has their own routine, it must be created for the individual. Of course, there are some tasks that need to be performed everyday such as waking up, going to the bathroom, getting dressed, eating breakfast, brushing teeth, combing hair, and putting on shoes. However, on weekdays “putting on shoes” would be followed by “put on coat” and “get on the bus.” The problem is, my child wasn’t attending school every day of the week and was too young to understand the days of the week. So then I would have to deal with meltdowns when the weekend came or if there was a cancelation of school because of inclement weather. Click here to read the rest of the story.
Imagine during the course of the day you have no idea what is expected of you. Moving from one activity to the next depending on others to inform you of your daily plans. there are many benefits to using visual schedules especially for autistic children and adults. Studies show that many people diagnosed with autism experience high levels of anxiety often caused by unstructured activities.
Visual schedules are a way to communicate an activity through the use of images, symbols, photos, words, numbers and drawings that will help a child or adult follow rules and guidelines and understand what is expected during the course of the day.
Th following are resources containing information on creating visual schedules and free printables: