Being and autistic college student or just a person in general I need my daily routine. If there is no routine in my life I feel like my world starts collapsing around me because I don’t have any control. Without my routine I am lost without.
The Importance Of Having A Routine
I find it very comfortable in having a routine. Some people might like to wing it or just start their morning any old way. If my routine is not on point with what is on my schedule just slightly off my day is off balance. Here are some reasons why it’s important to me to having a routine.
Keeps my moods balanced
Helps me complete tasks on time for school or work
Helps me avoid surprise visits to the doctor
Helps me keep track of where I am going and who I am seeing during the day
Allows me to practice self care by taking care of myself. For an example I like to workout in the morning right when I wake up.
People with Autism and needs for routine can vary by each individual depending how far they are on the spectrum.
Changes In Routine Can Impact Behavior
Like I said before when my routine changes because someone forgot to tell me that I need to add something to my calendar I tend to get emotional. Sometimes when this happen I tend to feel:
Pile of bricks hit me
A huge elephant sitting on my chest
The whole world resting on my shoulders
It’s really not a pretty looking site. Then after feeling all of these emotions some people around me ask me was it really necessary? I sometimes agree with them that it’s not worth all the emotional energy but then I ask how hard was it to tell me that something is coming up make sure I add it to my calendar?
Especially when there are calendar apps on phones that let you share calendar events with family members. Not that hard am I right?
Handling Changes In Routine
If people want to avoid getting me or anyone who have Autism upset then they need to know how to handle the changes in the routine. Here are some easy ways on handling changes.
Notify us a week in advanced
Share your calendars with us
Help us pick a date and time when to schedule that event but make sure there are not too many events in one day
Make sure that you tell us what’s going to happen at the event’ Example if it’s a doctors appointment tell us what they are going to do or at least what you think they will do.
Don’t assume that changing our schedules with be easy for us.
Make sure you tell us why the schedule changed and if we don’t understand keep trying in different ways for us to understand.
Don’t pretend we don’t know what’s going on by saying we are going to one place and taking me somewhere completely different.
Have patience with us while we experience the schedule change.
As you can see having structure is important for those on the Autism spectrum. Our routines can either help us through the day or the changes can ruin our day.
The Best Visual Schedules For Students With Autism
One of the most helpful things that have helped me recently managing my time better is using block scheduling. It helps me visually see how much time I can dedicate to a certain task before I have to me on to the next one.
In the below screenshot this is how I have setup my everyday schedule maybe this will help you as well? Give it a try and let me know how it goes. There are also other things you should learn about routines. If block scheduling does not work then you should try the pomodoro technique for Autism.
Having autism and no routine is not a good thing if you are a parent and you want your life to be a little easier. Make sure to give your son or daughter who has autism a structure to their life and if change occurs let them know about it in advanced to prepare them.