Structure and routine are so important for autistic children. They’re important for just about everyone, really. But, when it comes to kids on the autism spectrum? They really do thrive with routine and structure. If you haven’t already started to implement, let’s talk about the importance of routine and structure for autism.
The Importance of Routine and Structure for Autism
Why are routines important for autism? Because, when you create structure and establish a routine, you are establishing predictability. In fact, routine and structure and can help with autism meltdowns.
Regular schedules provide the day with a structure that orders a young child’s world. Although predictability can be tiresome for adults, children thrive on repetition and routine. Schedules begin from the first days of life. Babies, especially, need regular sleep and meal programs and even routines leading up to those activities.
How to Set Up Routine with Visual Schedules
One of the main ways that we have established and set up a functional routine is by using visual schedules. Something as simple, or as expansive, as using a homemade PECS binder has been huge for my autistic daughter. For that matter, with my daughter being non-verbal, I’ve come to believe that there is a huge benefit to using visual schedules with a nonverbal individual. She may not be able to vocalize it to me exactly, but she can show me.
Even if you are starting off with something simple like my daily routine printable or using something a little bit more involved like my daily routine card pack, setting up a visual schedule is easier than you think.
Further Benefits of Routine and Structure for Autism
Having routine and structure reduces the anxiety as it (hopefully) makes life a little bit more predictable. And while it’s difficult to completely plan everything, at least with having visual schedules and routines in place; you can help your child manage this. You are equipping your child to communicate, to navigate the environment around them, and your are adapting the environment for their needs.
Even for young children, you can begin to teach routines and schedules.
Not the other way around.
This is huge.
A visual schedule is empowering and freeing.
A visual schedule changes things.
Having that routine and structure for autism changes things — for the better.