When we look at our children, it’s easy to see how carefree they can be! Sure, their worlds are much simpler and less complicated compared to ours, adults, but that doesn’t mean they don’t want to plan their days. As a matter of fact, a child’s day can be as intense and stressful as ours! Especially when it comes to learning. And that’s where we enter the picture 😀 As a therapist, it’s important to give my kid a structure to follow, with this, it helps him to be more focused, less overwhelmed and actually enjoy the learning! It’s stressful enough for children diagnosed with autism to make sense of his/her surroundings, so adding routine can really make a big difference. This also prepares them to learn how to organize their day independently in the future. It might take some effort in the beginning, but it’s worth it in the long run.
So how do we do this?
Very easy! You just need time, some materials, and creativity!
On establishing a routine with your child, you need to be patient and consistent. Most children learn best when they see what they have to do, so visual reminders such as schedule board, timer and other time management strategies are good things to use to keep them on track.
DIY Schedule Board
Making a schedule board, for me, is a very fun thing to do! It challenges my creativity and also, I view this as a collaboration project between me and my kid (my student who’s diagnosed with ASD)
What you need:
- Plastic board or colored cartolina paper
- Pictures of your child doing different activities
- Glue Gun and glue stick
- Animal/toy pictures (for designs, optional)
Here are some examples of Visual Schedule boards that you can copy. As I mentioned above, it’s all up to you and your creativity on how you will make your own child’s schedule board. Make it fun, colorful and interactive as much as possible!
Here is a great video on how to create visual choice boards quickly, effectively and efficiently:
What about the tasks? Most often our child gets overwhelmed whenever he/she sees a lot of activities already lined up on his/her list. So to prevent that, we can break the tasks into smaller, more manageable steps. You can use the First – Then routine for starters as this is very simple and straight to the point.
For example, if your child is currently on potty training, you can put the image of the toilet at “first” box and a picture of his/her toys at “then” box. With this, your child knows what will happen next once he/she finishes the first task. You can also make him/her choose which next activity he/she wants to do after finishing your given task. This will help your child to practice his/her independence by choosing his/her activity.
Another thing to help our child to get organized is by creating an organized work place specially for him/her. Set aside a space at home and make it as his/her “working corner” where your child can do all his/her activities without any interruption.
Always remember our children are capable of making their own choices, with our continued guidance and support, we can help them unlock these potentials and become the child of whoever he/she is supposed to be. And FUN is the new definition of learning! If you are keen to learn more ideas on interest-based fun activities, please check out our AIMS Global website, Instagram, and facebook account.
Thanks for reading!
– Meyanna, an AIMS Global Therapist, who is extremely creative in the way she works with her lovely little client and bestie!