Manic Monday Solutions #3 – Visual Schedules and Predictable Routines

Manic Monday Solutions #3 – Visual Schedules and Predictable Routines


Supporting Smooth Transitions forpicture1 Children on the Autism Spectrum

Some transitions are more difficult than others. For example, the first day of school is much more anxiety provoking then just the average Manic Monday (insert Bangles chorus here).  We all feel transitions, we all stress about transitions and we all do things to make transitions easier for ourselves and our children.

One ways most of us make transitions more palpable is by using a daily schedule. Knowing what is the beginning, the middle and end of our day, helps us to stay well-regulated throughout. For many of us, a schedule is a visual reminder, something that keeps us on track. The calendar itself could be a wall calendar, or a book that we carry with us. Where would we be these days without our smartphones where most of us keep visual schedules. I have often said I could run the world from my smartphone because it carries everything I need to make my day smoother, easier, safer and let’s face it a lot more fun.

But what helps our children understand their day? What keeps their daily schedule and routine predictable?

At the Friend 2 Friend Play Centre, visuals schedules and the predictable routine the key to successful peer play. The routine and predictable of play group lessen the children’s anxiety, making it easier for them to engage in meaningful peer play. We do this in a number of ways, they are:

  • Transition visit/s to the play centre before play group begins to review the visual schedule and practice the routine
  • Preparing a visual schedule using PCS (Picture Communication Symbols) and sending that home with them beforehand to prepare them for the upcoming session
  • Providing the same visual schedule at our opening and closing ritual areas, as well as carrying mobile visual schedules as needed
  • Providing transition warnings using songs and the PCS schedule to support the understanding of the routine within play group
  • Providing the children opportunities to use the schedule, by adjusting it on request or by putting the PCS in the “all done” bucket as activities are finished
  • Being very consistent in the use of our visual schedules to support the child’s understanding of beginning, middle and end of play group thus increasing the child’s ability to make smooth transitions

What types visual schedules do you use with your child with autism to help make daily life predictable? Please share your thoughts and comments.

What to read more about the importance of visual schedules?

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