Autistic Kids Love Schedules (So why do I suck at them?)

So it’s a proven fact. Most kids on the spectrum thrive on schedules. Brady sure does. If he knows what he’s supposed to be doing, and when, his days are so much better for all of us.

So why do I suck at this?

I started off with good intentions. Bought some super cute laminated images off etsy (I’d link you but she’s since closed up shop). I had a schedule for home, one for school and one for therapy. I was freaking rocking this PECS stuff.

Then, like most things I do, I started to get bored with it. I got lazy. Did Brady REALLY care if I showed him a picture of the bathtub before putting him in it? What if we were busy and had to make an unexpected stop at Target? Will his whole world collapse? Shouldn’t I be teaching him how to deal with life when it doesn’t go as expected?

Eventually we only used the schedule in therapy and school. Once school ended for the year, it was just in therapy.

That’s when I noticed he was crankier than usual. Would resist more and object a lot more. So I did what I do best. Found an excuse to go to Target and Office Depot and bought all new supplies for a new BETTER schedule. HA!

Here is the Before… (you’ll see why I say before, well, later).

PECS Calendar

Wait. Take a minute and check out how freakin amazing this thing is!

I took a month calendar, turned it into a weekly one and had spots for all his various activities throughout the day. I ROCK this whole Autism Mom gig. (I ran out of bathroom stickers, we do, in fact, hope he goes potty on Sundays and Wednesdays, despite this calendar).

Now, check it out again. Yeah, that’s the last time it looked like that. All organized, pristine, AMAZING.

Now… Here is what it looks like today (phone pictures, so sorry they are fuzzy)

PECS Calendar After

 

Those black squares? They are the magnets that don’t really stick to the laminated stickers all that well. Brady likes to peel them off and throw them at me. Either in disgust for me not following his schedule, or because it’s fun to throw things at mommy when she’s on conference calls. Both really.

I fell off the wagon again. I can’t find these same images anywhere to print new squares and need to get magnets with much stronger glue on the back. And, I have to actually USE the schedule for more than a decoration in my office.

Google to the rescue. Although don’t just google image search “pecs”, or do (you’re welcome ladies).

pecs4autism.com/ is a great resource for buying premade scedules, cards, images, etc. Now if only they sold a book on how to stick with the schedule. THAT is what I need.

So, you amazing moms of autistic or speech apraxic kiddos. What tools have helped you? Do you use pecs? Did you try it and fail miserably like me? Want to start a support group? (People Who Fail at PECS and Wonder Why.  We meet the 3rd Tuesday of the month. Bring cookies, or plan to and then forget to do that too.)

 

 

Emily

Fueled by coffee and wine. Wife to a doc, mom to three boys (one with Autism), a puppy and a tortoise. I knit, I get crafty, I tweet.

Comments

  1. says

    We got frustrated with getting our triplets to follow directions and get through the day. Two of them have CP and behavioral/sensory issues. My hubby created some apps that have helped. http://cooltoolapps.appspot.com/ we also use the token system with our therapists. But you’re right. Staying on the wagon is key!! Good luck!

  2. says

    Yup. My son is on the spectrum too and I have a printout that I always forget to look at, but it has his daily activities on it. He used to have a big notebook and has two calendars in his room and asks me before bed EVERY NIGHT what we are doing tomorrow. Um….. we’ll figure that out tomorrow. Sleep tight!

  3. says

    I so can relate to this! My son is not autistic, but rather has bipolar and anxiety. He really needs a schedule as well andd hates change. I am, by nature, a non-schedule type of person – ACK! Hubby is also bipolar and likes a set schedule. I try very hard to implement plans but I fall off the wagon all the time too. I was hoping by now my son (17) would be better at making his own schedule and sticking to it, but apparently even though he needs it, my bad skills rubbed off on him.

    PS thanks for the pecs!

  4. says

    I think that, to some extent, all children thrive on a schedule. I know mine do. And like you, I totally suck. I have so many magic tools that were going to help me become a super scheduler, but the truth is, that’s not how my mind operates.

    Good luck!

  5. says

    I don’t have an autistic child, but Rylan LOVES schedules as well, He thrives on them actually. His behavior is much better. But I am just like you, I just suck at them. Maybe when school starts it will be easier. But I am telling you, a schedule that is easier for him just seems harder for me. Though then I have to deal with him misbehaving. So I guess I just need to change my mindset.

    Glad you are finding things that work for you.

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