Autism or autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that impacts an individual’s behavior, social interaction, and communication with others. It is characterized by certain repetitive behaviors and difficulties with social interaction and communication that affect a person's capacity to carry out daily tasks like going to school, work, or other functional areas of life.   

Children with ASD often struggle with sensory processing and emotional control, which makes it difficult for them to engage in traditional talk that can cause them stress, anxiety, and other developmental issues. There is no specific cure for autism but early interventions through therapies can improve a child’s development. The treatment includes therapies to help the child learn important life skills like walking, talking, and interacting with others. With this article, we shall learn how following a set schedule or routine can be a very effective strategy for these children to build life structure and comfort.

Importance of Daily Routine For Children on ASD

Routines are quite helpful for autistic children because they are generally predictable and reliable, which gives them a genuine sense of safety and security. It should come as no surprise that children with ASD learn best when daily routines are established, as they often respond well to repetition. Achieving these daily objectives can lead to a sense of fulfillment, which is another important component.

Below are the five ways how creating and following daily routine benefits in autism management. It:

1. Creates a safe environment: Autistic children don’t like the confusing and chaotic environment around them. It's because sameness and repetition provide them comfort with no uncertainty, and they know what to anticipate. Hence, a safe, secure, and understanding atmosphere is one of the most crucial things for people with autism.

2. Lowers stress and anxiety: Anxiety disorder is among the most prevalent psychiatric comorbidities among children and adolescents with autism. Routine can help lower their anxiety. This makes them feel more at ease and content all day long. Thereby, they don't have to worry about what might happen next and can concentrate on the task at hand.

3. Enhances learning: People with autism find it difficult to understand everyday sounds, actions, and activities. Routines can improve learning in people with autism so that they may pick up new knowledge and abilities more quickly. Regularly implementing an autism routine can assist your child in accepting new experiences, adjusting to change, and finishing chores like the following: 

    a. Visiting a new place 
    b. Art or play activities
    c. Tasting new food
    d. Ordering dishes in a restaurant
    e.  Welcome guests or cancel an event

4. Encourages self-reliance: For those with autism, routines can also help them become more independent. They can learn to function independently without help by adhering to a regimen. This can assist them in honing their abilities and becoming more self-sufficient.

5. Helps establishing a strong parent-child or caretaker connection: The bond between a parent-child/caregiver and an autistic child can be strengthened by routine. It improves their cooperation and ability to communicate. Children are less likely to lash out or show disrespect and respond better to commands when provided with plans.

Ways to Create and Maintain Routine for Children with Autism

With the appropriate strategy, establishing a daily routine for your child can be easy and doable. It's crucial to remember that the primary objective of any routine is to give an autistic child the resources and skills to grow and develop. 

Here are a few steps to help structure and maintain a routine for children with ASD:

  • Divide tasks into manageable chunks. Be specific and consistent when following a daily regimen.
  • Make your child's environment relaxing. Promote self-reliance and independence as much as possible.
  • Reward task completion with positive reinforcement throughout the day. Also, allow time for a break or transition period.
  • Be adaptable and modify the daily schedule for your autistic child based on how they are feeling.
  • Give each task a visual depiction. Make a task that is visually appealing and easy to read, emphasizing the significance of each job. You can use a calendar, poster, or any other visual aid to help you grasp each goal.
  • Take your child through each step and explain to them what to expect at each stage of the day. It will only take a few attempts to fully explain and eliminate any possibility of misunderstanding before your youngster can complete these chores on their own moving forward.
  • Use timers to measure time taken during daily chores like showering, brushing their teeth, and going to bed. In this manner, your child can learn how long things take and if they take longer than needed to accomplish different goals. 
  • Make every day extraordinary for them by making it fun. Involve play therapy that helps children with autism express themselves through various play materials and activities, such as toys, games, art, and music in their daily routine.

We have learned so far that raising a child with autism requires you to give them the skills, resources, and training to help them thrive. Establishing and upholding routines will greatly aid your child in gaining new abilities, improve learning, reduce their anxiety, and promote independence. We know that creating routines for individuals with autism can be challenging, but it is crucial to create customized routines tailored to the individual’s needs. Autism spectrum disorder cannot be prevented, there are therapies and treatments available to make the life on those at spectrum easily managed. It is pivotal to consult experts and involve multiple medical professionals for early diagnosis and customized therapy that will help your child’s behavior, skill development, and language acquisition. 

If you have any questions about autism, you can check with our team of 18000+ doctors and Ask a Pediatricians online anything, anytime at Ask a doctor - 24x7.

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Disclaimer: Information provided on this page is not intended to substitute for proper medical advice provided by your healthcare professional. This is only for informational purposes. 

About the Author

Dr. Shweta Khanna

Shweta Khanna is a dental surgeon who has experience in dentistry for more than 13 years. She has been writing innovative medical and healthcare content for the past eight years. She has authored various medical blogs/articles related to dentistry, orthopedics, dermatology, women's health, consumer health articles, and research articles (basic and clinical).

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