Keeping routine is crucial to their learning and therapies. Children with autism can regress way to easily. Many times the cause of regression is the change in routine.
The following is from www.autism.org
Many people with autism have a strong preference for routines and sameness. Routines often serve an important function – they introduce order, structure and predictability and help to manage anxiety. Because of this, it can be very distressing if a person's routine is disrupted.
Sometimes minor changes such as moving between two activities can be distressing; for others big events like holidays, birthdays or Christmas, which create change and upheaval, can cause anxiety. Unexpected changes are often most difficult to deal with.
Some people with autism have daily timetables so that they know what is going to happen, when. However, the need for routine and sameness can extend beyond this. You might see:
- changes to the physical environment (such as the layout of furniture in a room), or the presence of new people or absence of familiar ones, being difficult to manage
- rigid preferences about things like food (only eating food of a certain colour), clothing (only wearing clothes made from specific fabrics), or everyday objects (only using particular types of soap or brands of toilet paper)
- a need for routine around daily activities such as meals or bedtime. Routines can become almost ritualistic in nature, having to be followed precisely with attention paid to the tiniest details
- verbal rituals, with a person repeatedly asking the same questions and needing a specific answer
- compulsive behaviour, for example a person might be constantly washing their hands or checking locks. This does not necessarily mean they have obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) but if you are concerned about this, speak to your GP in the first instance.
Routines can have a profound effect on the lives of people with autism, their family and careers.