There has been a lot of research on autism in the past years. Children and adults with autism have a great need for structure and safety. Sudden changes can seem threatening and cause stress and behavioral problems.
The advantages to using a visual schedule with individuals with ASD include (Mesibov et al., 2005):
- It utilizes the individual’s visual strengths and therefore provides a receptive communication system to increase understanding;
- It helps the individual to learn new things and broaden their interests;
- It provides tools that allow the individual to use skills in a variety of settings;
- It can increase the individual’s flexibility;
- It helps the individual remain calm and reduces inappropriate behaviors; and
- It helps the individual to develop independence and resulting self-esteem.
Making visual schedules is very time consuming! VERY! However, it can really help children on the spectrum. I saw it personally when I worked as a special education teacher and I see it with both my boys. Andrew uses one at home. I used to use one with Trenton but he refused to use it and only tore it up repeatedly at home. However, he is at a different stage in his life right now so we are back to using a schedule. Tonight was the first night that we used it and he loved it! Let's keep out fingers crossed that it continues:)
His schedule is on his door to his room. I also have a First/Then chart right below it in case we need it!