Navigating Changes to Routines
Having a wrench thrown into plans isn’t ideal for anyone, but for individuals with autism, it can be downright scary. In today’s blog, we wanted to talk about some ways to help prepare children for potential routine changes, as well as some good approaches to help them cope with changes that may not have gone according to plan.
One way that may help prepare children for a potential change in plans is by using social stories. A social story is a great way to prepare children for big events that aren’t part of their typical daily routine, and can also help children understand what potential issues they may run into during those events. Check out our previous blog to learn more about social stories!
Another great method for helping children prepare for changes to their routine is by using a visual schedule. Visual schedules are great for individuals who may need occasional reminders about what they’re working on and the order in which events will be occurring. Another perk of using a visual schedule is the ease in which you can show an unexpected change to the schedule. By informing your child of the change and replacing the previous task or event with the new one on the schedule, it allows the child to see the change and gives them a better opportunity to process the new routine.
Finally, a first/then board can be a big help for individuals who may have difficulty following a longer schedule, as well as to help them see that a big new event or non-preferred activity is coming up. When using a first/then board, it is often best to let the individual choose the item or activity they would like to receive after the big event or routine change is completed. By allowing them to choose their reward at the end of the day, the individual will be more highly reinforced throughout the activity, as they know the reward at the end will be something they really want. Read more about visual schedules and first-then boards here.
Thank you for reading, I hope you found this post helpful! Be sure to follow us on social media and stay up to date on our blogs for more tips and tricks, and to see what’s new at Gateway. Have a great day!