Tuesday, February 9, 2016


Children with autism tend to appreciate order, routines and repetition far more than neurotypical children. Any disruption to this routine can lead to high levels of anxiety and emotional outbursts. Both of my boys thrive off of routine and schedule!!! I was reading a fathers blog the other day and he was talking about how his kids go wild and don't sleep when their routine is off. WOW! Can I ever relate! My boys are like his boys...the anxiety and stress over change of routine comes out at home and Mommy deals with the aftermath for the next 24 plus hours.
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.
People's dependence on routines can increase during times of change, stress or illness and may even become more dominant or elaborate at these times (Attwood, 1998). Dependence on routines may increase or re-emerge during adolescence.
Routines can have a profound effect on the lives of people with autism, their family and careers.

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