If you have an autistic child who does not need the higher level of support that comes with visual pictures, try using a system similar to this color coded daily schedule instead. You can also set this up as a master calendar to help your entire family get organized. It’s one of the many ways to set up structure and routine. Read about why routine is important for autism and find more resources throughout our site.
How to Use a Color Coded Daily Schedule for Autism
A daily schedule helps with setting up routine and structure. Seems simple enough and yes, it really is that simple.
Having a daily schedule takes some of the guesswork out of the day-to-day and provides structure. By making things predictable, you are helping your autistic child with any anxiety that they may come with their time and daily activities.
For example, if your child is starting at a new school or it’s over the school break; their daily routine may become disrupted. While you cannot predict every single thing that can possibly happen, you can at least provide them with some structure. You can also help them become used to their new routine when you set up a visual schedule.
For autistic children who are able to discern colors and can recognize words, you can try a color coded daily schedule.
Or you can use this in combination with a picture based system.
How to Set Up a Color Coded Daily Schedule
First things first, you’ll have to decide if this system will be used just for your autistic child or if the entire family will adapt. It may seem like a bit much, especially at first. So I would suggest starting small. At the very least, you’ll want to set this up for your autistic child and in a way that makes sense.
Inside the Autism Family Toolkit, you’ll find my Autism Mom Routine Toolkit as well as the visual schedule toolkit. The printables in these toolkits will help.
Start by looking at their daily routine and then set those out on an hour-by-hour basis. You can color code in the following ways:
- Home or school
- Morning, afternoon, evening
- Weekday vs. weekend
Or, if you are making this for the entire family, you can color code by family member.
Just keep in mind that it may be a bit overwhelming, for everyone, if you are starting with all family members. However, with patience and repetition, you’ll all get used to the idea in no time.