We are going to open the second door in our home. Your medical professional just gave their official diagnosis of Autism and you don’t know where to begin. Hopefully, your medical professional suggested placing your child in early intervention and how to begin the process.
What I suggest you do at home is start developing a structured environment. I can not stress the importance of having continuity.
How do I start a structured environment?
Start slow-pick which is the most important part of the day you want to concentrate on. For me, it was the Mornings. They were always stressful. I wanted to make sure that Landon followed a routine every morning so that he would arrive at school in a good mood.
How to structure part of a day:
Write down what a typical morning, afternoon or evening Monday through Friday looks like for your child, then work on what the weekends look like. I know there are many things to think about but narrow down specific things your child will be doing during the day.
For example, when Landon went to school this was the schedule I had him follow: Wake up, Go to the bathroom, Make bed, Get dressed, Eat breakfast, Brush teeth, Wait for bus.
As time goes on, you will need charts to break down tasks such as going to the bathroom. Please don’t feel pressured that you need all of these charts right away.
When do I start the other charts? When you feel your child is comfortable with one chart. Be patient, learning the structure of a given time frame takes awhile for them to learn.
How do I create a daily routine chart or (sometimes called) a visual schedule? You can visit my Etsy shop autismcreations.etsy.com or on this website to purchase a daily routine chart or you can create your own. There are many Pinterest pages devoted to learning how to create your own schedules and pictures.
What do I need to create daily routine charts and pictures? A computer, color printer, 110 lb card stock, 5 mil laminate, heat laminator, and hook and loop fasteners. You also have the option of cutting the corners or purchasing a heavy duty corner rounder. There are online sites that will offer some graphics for free or at a minimal charge. The cheapest way to get pictures is to take them yourself and download them. The benefit of taking your own pictures is that your child will recognize familiar people and places.
Here is an example of a morning routine schedule listed in my autismcreations store. As you see, you can add many ideas to this schedule. These visual schedules grow with your child.
Here is an example of a late afternoon routine schedule: As you can see, there are so many possibilities. These visual schedules can be tailored to be very brief for a beginner or very broad for the experienced learner.