Does your child struggle with following a daily routine like getting ready for school in the morning or for bed at night? Sometimes getting into those routines can be challenging, especially for children who are diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder! Implementing a visual schedule and incorporating it into your child’s day can help them in so many ways. Some potential benefits include helping children gain independence with tasks they complete every day, guiding them in the sequence of everyday activities, and learning the steps to take to get them done. Becoming successful and independent with those routines we do every day can be challenging at times, but visual schedules are here to help!
What is a visual schedule?
- A visual schedule is a series of visual cues that show a breakdown of the task as a whole and can encourage the child by giving them a sense of independence and a boost of confidence that they can accomplish tasks on their own. Visual schedules can be beneficial to many children of all ages and abilities. Sometimes children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) have a hard time completing tasks without having visual reminders or prompting along the way. Therefore, the use of pictures for steps to complete a routine activity can be helpful with anything they do on a regular basis.
Using a Visual Schedule:
- To use a visual schedule, it is important to identify a routine your child is struggling with. It is also a good rule of thumb to pick something important to their everyday life. We have so many tasks we do every single day that are an important part of our daily routine, things such as making the bed, getting dressed, preparing breakfast, packing lunch or a backpack, brushing teeth, cleaning up after dinner, and the list goes on and on! Picking something the child is struggling with and is an active part of their everyday life is a great place to start when it comes to making a visual schedule. The first step is to pick an activity and then pick a visual schedule that works for the child.
Types of visual schedules include:
- Creating and utilizing visual cards for the activity at hand, using a white board, a Velcro or felt board, or even using magnets! When picking the images to go on task cards you can use any image online or even take a picture of the child doing the task and use that as a motivating factor in building and learning the sequence of steps! This is also a fun activity to do together and can build your child’s motivation to do the task at hand. Note: If your child uses a PEC system of AAC device on the iPad, it is important to talk to your child’s therapist about options within those devices!
The process of breaking down the task into several small pieces is needed to learn the steps in the task as well as to boost your child’s confidence in their abilities. Consistency is the key! Keep it fun! Be positive and patient! For more information on visual schedules and inspiration for building your own, follow us on Pinterest @littlespursautism.
Little Spurs Autism Centers offers collaborative and compassionate ABA Therapy to children 0-21 years old. Offering both center-based and home-based care, LSAC is excited to empower families by providing them with the support they need. For more information, please email us at email@example.com