Originally Posted Friday, June 14, 2013
Above are the “visual supports (pictures) used to assist my son Jr with adhering to his schedule. Most children with Autism need a routine/schedule for “Everything!” Jr actually prefers a routine and schedule, even if we “improvise” having it in place, comforts him.
During the summer months, because he attends Summer School each year, this schedule isn’t applicable to every aspect of his day, primarily because it’s outdated. It was created before summer school was incorporated. However, we use this schedule as a “guide” of what to do.
We still get up in the morning and he eats by 7:30am however since he has to arrive at Summer School by 8:30am everything from 7:30 – 4:30pm is actually spent at school. When he arrives home we go right into dinner, because he’s given a period to “wind down, de-stress, and relax” prior to beginning his evening schedule.
Usually, between 6 -9pm Jr simply plays on his tablet, smart phone or he may ask to use the desktop computer to play games. Once he’s finished with that, he’ll eat again. We may read a book or do an activity that’s educational just to build his “brain power (intellect).” Brain power is a term that I created because of his obsession with Superhero’s like Ironman; Spiderman; Thor, etc… so I told him that Superhero’s are physically strong, but their “brain power” is what helps then to stay strong, because your body can only do what the brain tells it to!
Within respect to “over indulging” in electronics…. Electronics have become great in assisting us with “getting Jr to sit still, and getting Jr to focus” Of course, we have to “limit” his usage periodically and instruct him to take a nap. That’s to ensure he’s not overloading in the technology.
To ensure Jr (or any other child with Autism isn’t overindulging in electronics) we make him take “timed” naps. I time his naps for no longer than 1 hour each time. 1 hour is more than enough time for a child to “reboot” sometimes they have so much energy and are extremely busy and honestly irritating to those that have to care for them.
During the time that I have Jr nap ( I take a nap also for the same amount of time) when my Blackberry calendar rings off I’m rejuvenated and am able to go forward with whatever the remainder of the day throws my way! Without “naps” I wouldn’t be as sane as I appear to be! LOL
The keys to making a schedule that works for you, are:
1. ALWAYS Be realistic as it relates to your life and the responsibilities you have in addition to your child
2. MAKE time for yourself to “de-stress” as much as you make time to spend with or accommodate your child’s needs
3. Delegate (when and where applicable/possible) don’t be afraid to ask for or demand help especially from your loved ones and professionals in your school/doctors offices
4. Ask your child (for those who are verbal) what they would like to see on their schedule, what they would like or wouldn’t like to do “including them in the creation and maintenance” of their schedule promotes self esteem and independence
5. EXPLAIN EXPLAIN and EXPLAIN AGAIN, children with Autism need “head’s up” and “details”about everything going on, because this helps with transitioning. i.e., if “grandma is sick and can’t make it for a weekend visit” then it’s best to explain to your child that grandma is sick and she “can’t” come see you not because she doesn’t want to but because she’s not well enough to. This will prevent a meltdown, tantrum, or introversion from happening!
6. Show “joy” in all that you do and be honest with yourself if your reaching your capacity (of endurance) that is. Meaning “smile” as much as possible in front of your child (this shows resilience) and when they are not around or situated (take some time for yourself, to write down your frustrations and your desires)
7. Create a plan of action that will allow you to get everything done that you want to, but it doesn’t overwhelm you or cause you to become a tyrant to those whose help you’ve requested and enlisted
Last but not least, PRAY, plan, and prevail! Remember a saying that I created one day after crying my eyes out because I felt downtrodden due to the fact that I have Bipolar Disorders I & II, and my son Jr has Autism. “Autism is not a disability, it’s the “ability” to see and experience the world differently!”
Make that statement your daily affirmation until you create one of your own! Or use it until you no longer need it!, because your “living it!” Versus fighting with it.