So this summer, I took away the schedule. We were doing nothing dynamic, We had no dynamic plans. The only constant was therapy for my two and therapy for my oldest one and it was never at the same time or on the same day. So with the beginning of the school year, I figured that we would be able to keep this laid back style and be able to make it work. BOY, was I slapped with a huge dose of reality. The first full week began with two melt downs. Week two began with the forgetting to give my Aspie with ADHD her medications, so she was all over the place at school (God Bless Ms. B.). So what happens when autism gets off schedule, chaos and insanity are what happen. Even I began to feel the burn of not having a schedule to go by and not having something concrete to point to and tell the children that mommy needed time to study. Now figuring out the problem was number one, figuring out the solution was a whole other issue.
As I sat with the kids and talked with each of them, each likes a different schedule. Child A likes his picture schedules. Child B likes a list that she checks off. Child C, with her age, likes a digital schedule that she of course never looks at and just turns off the reminders and then tells you that she doesn’t need to be reminded. How do you accommodate each one? Simple, eliminate options or find a combination of two. Digital is not an option for the younger two and does not work well for the oldest child therefore, it is on the chopping block first. Then you move to looking at the pieces of your morning routine. Write it out so you can see literally what you are doing. If you are a parent that has ever taught your child the steps to brushing their teeth and had to write it out first, you know how many steps there are, this is not quite as frustrating as that. It is easy to find free printable two by two pictures to add to your picture schedule at Do2Learn.com. You can also make a daily routine page for your child(ren) that is specific to them and their age. Now I discovered that with everything that I have to do during the course of the week, it is easier to find time on Sunday to look over your week and make a list of things that you need to remember. Here is an example. Let’s say that your child’s classroom is supposed to be going to the library on Wednesday, but you got a note the previous Wednesday telling you that your child’s class will be in an assembly at the same time. You can add this change to your weekly schedule and start reminding your child on their schedule in a handwritten note that Wednesday will be altered. Also great moments to remember to place on schedules are time changes and changes in seasons. We also have a white board where the weather is updated every morning to help pick clothing a little better.
Parenting autism is chaos, you have to take your chances and use trial and error to figure out what works best for the kids, but at the same time, you have to figure what works better for you as well. I find that working on my schedule on Saturday and Sunday are the best days for me when I do not feel like I’m running from place to place and I can use the few moments during the week to take care of the unexpected. By using a to do list that I found online at The Flying Drunken Monkey. My plan is not one hundred percent, but at the same time, it’s better than waking up every morning with anxiety about what may happen. As your children grow and get older, you will find that all you need to do is make a list for them to go by, but you also keep the photos in case they need it later on. There are moments when a photo works quicker and faster than any word that may have to be decoded may work and pictures are universal.
In closing, when Autism is off its schedule, I am off of mine and I have to do what it takes to get back to ensure that everything flows smoothly.
****Now a note to those that did not know. See my post for August 29th, 2013. It is a wonderful giveaway for Little Passports. Even if you don’t have a child, it would serve as a great gift. Go to the post and find the instructions of what to do to enter the contest. Remember, it is a three-month subscription to Little Passports!****