Can you believe that it is already October? It seems like the school year just started yesterday. But yet, in a few weeks, we will be seeing a break for MEA. Although… I just learned recently that MEA is just for Minnesota? Needless to say… MEA means at least 2 days of kiddos home and running wild. Do you have plans? Do you know how you are going to keep them occupied or at least on a little bit of a schedule? Routine. That is what drives our household. Every day, whether it is a weekend or a school day, my oldest son knows that when he gets up, he makes his breakfast (which he has mostly prepared the night before) and he watches a little TV while he wakes up. The amount of TV differs, but the routine is the same. After TV it’s time for morning jobs. Brushing your teeth, washing your face, all those things are done on a school day; they are just later in the morning on the weekend. We have found that by keeping the routine as similar to regular days as possible, it usually means a better day for everyone. He still struggles, when we want to just sit and relax, he feels he must be doing something, but overall, having the routine definitely helps.
In reading about how people set routines, I came across some hints for how to start:
- Find a motivation – The why, what is your goal?
(Ex. Have son empty the dishwasher)
- Make it visual – reminders of your goal – the reason you want to do it
(Ex. show who is affected and how it makes them feel)
- Make a plan for success – how to make it a reality
(Ex. Be flexible in when it happens)
- Implement supports – set up timers, have someone to talk with
(Ex. set an alarm so he knows when it is ok to empty.)
- Track progress – helps stay on track
(Ex. cross it off the ‘to do’ list)
- Set up Rewards – everyone likes to get something for doing something!
(Ex. Son gets a token for doing the job, which he puts towards iPad time)
The link below is to an article talking about the importance of keeping routines for young students with ASD. (Hit ctrl and click your mouse to open and read the article.)
I also found a book that may help younger kids learn about how to deal with change. Karen Franco has other books that she has written in an effort to teach hope, understanding and acceptance of special needs.
Tune in next month for tips on how to survive the Holidays!
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