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Ask Alli: The Importance of Routines

October 17, 2023-WKYC

If you’re a parent with a neurodiverse child you have probably seen firsthand how a schedule and some structure can help out. However, there are times when starting that schedule at home can really be the most challenging part.

One of the core autism criteria is the need for sameness. Alli states, “Individuals with autism really struggle when their schedules are changed or there’s unpredictability in their lives so if we can set up that structure for them as parents then their days will be more successful.”

Parents can put together a schedule, but how do they get their kids to follow it? Alli suggests using rewards when first introducing a schedule. To do this she suggests using a token system for instance. Anytime the child follows their routine they earn a token. Once they collect enough tokens they can turn those tokens in for a reward. She also encourages parents to use it naturally within their day. She suggests not to bribe the child, but rather if they followed their morning routine, they brushed their teeth, or they put their shoes on time, then they get a special pancake at breakfast or something special in their lunch. If they followed their afternoon routine and they sat at the table to eat their lunch, they get extra iPad time. If they followed the evening routine and didn’t give a fuss during bath time then they’ll get a story at bedtime. “I’m not going to bribe them with ‘if you dont’ do this then you won’t get your storybook’, and I’m not going to give them a hard time if they didn’t do it and then they won’t get they storybook” Alli explains.

Alli also states how important it is to show the schedule and to have that routine so that kids can follow along. “We all want to know what to predict during the day and it’s the same for children” says Alli. If they can’t read yet Alli suggests showing them pictures throughout the day. As they become older parents can write out the schedules. These small pieces of predictability can really relieve a lot of anxiety.

Need help with setting a schedule and sticking to it? Frazier Behavioral Health’s Board Certified Behavior Analysts are experts at helping families setting up routines that are individualized to the child and that works for them. They can teach both the child the routine as well as teach the parents to give them the techniques to follow through.

To request a consultation or connect with the experts at FBH, give them a call at 216-446-2944.

You’ll find them at 5885 Landerbrook Drive, Suite 310, Mayfield Heights, Ohio.

To watch the full segment on WKYC’s website please click here.