Developing a Daily Routine
Angie Moran, BCBA, LBA
Routines and schedules can be important for everyone, especially families with individuals with autism or other developmental differences. Schedules often help adults and children better predict what will happen next or what still needs to be done. With increased time spent at home, trying to follow a strict schedule each day is nearly impossible, so we want to offer some feasible alternatives. For those of you who are trying or successfully implementing a schedule during this time at home, kudos!
Use the suggestions below based on how your child communicates and plays. Because children are constantly developing at different rates, it’s common for there to be variation in what works best.
First/Then, First/Then/Next, Visual Activity Schedules – These typically include sections for visuals of what is going to happen now/first and then what will happen after. These schedules usually have a picture of a learning or performance task first (and/or next), followed by a picture of a preferred reinforcer to show the child that he or she will access the wanted item AFTER they complete the assigned activity or task. You can take pictures of the items in your home and place them in the boxes or check online for pre-made pictures or symbols that may work for your child!
To Do/Finished, Task Lists – These can be interactive for any level. For example, one has visuals a child can move from one side to the other as they complete the tasks, one uses the same technique but with words for a child with reader skills and the third folds one side over the other to reveal some praise (smiley face or phrase) as a child finishes the activity.
Sometimes these boards are meant to be implemented in order and other times they allow the child to choose what he or she would like to complete next. For example, a child may earn a sticker at the end of the day for completing at least four tasks (task options are placed by her parent each morning) and remembering to move it to the other side of her board before dinner each evening. The stickers are then part of a larger reinforcement system where the she can access a special outing or choose what to order for dinner one night once she earns enough stickers!
Share what’s working well for you and your family by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about Touchstone ABA and our services, call (985) 446-6833.