Visual Schedule For Autism

Mornings are not for me, they never have been and they never will be. However, just because I don’t like to function in the morning doesn’t mean I can’t. Mom life is often just doing what you got to do.

So… Up an at em’ with the kids and it always seems to be a rushed start to the day.
Morning routines can be hectic for any family. Getting kids ready for the day, yourself ready, and all the little mom tasks that often go unnoticed.

Yes, mommas, I am talking to you. I know what you do.

While you are making lunches in the morning, checking through book bags, signing whatever forms need signed, putting the last minute items into book bags, getting your kids breakfast, changing that load of laundry, mascara in one hand while trying to grab a cup of coffee with the other while thinking what can I throw in the crockpot for an easy dinner.

I know that chaos.

Look, mornings are not for the faint of heart.

But in that chaos, I realized that I was quickly rushing and dressing my kids and moving to the next task. Gasp, I was taking that little bit of independence away from them, and while that may not seem like a big deal but Logan needs to learn and gain as many independent skills that he can gain. Getting dressed independently is one of those things he needs to do on his own. Ugh.. So how was I going to promote this independence in the chaos of the morning?

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Trial and Error

I started by placing some pictures of clothing items on his drawer. Shirts in one drawer and pants in a different drawer but there were just too many clothing pieces for Logan to pick out the one item he wanted. He would spend moments just staring at the dresser or in the drawers trying to remember or decide what he needed next.

After spending several moments trying to figure it out, he would become discouraged and would then just start playing and forget about getting dressed. This would just cause us both extra stress in the morning.

Visuals

Visual Autism Schedule for Getting Dressed

 

Next, I decided to look into visual schedules. Logan is a visual learner and he sometimes needs a little extra help getting pointed in the right direction. He responds great to visuals and visuals schedules.

Visuals schedules help him know what is expected and what comes next. Visuals are really important for autistic kids.

I created this visual schedule for Logan to follow the steps of getting dressed and it helped him immensely.
Don’t worry you can download the visual schedule I created down below.

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The Organizers

I needed a way to separate Logan and Olivia’s clothes so that they would be easy to access and separate clothing by the day of the week. I already knew too many options was just too much for Logan. I found these closet organizers and problem easily solved. Less distraction seemed best for Logan. Instead of a drawer full of shirts to choose from, he has one to put on.  Simplicity is often beautiful. Click To Tweet

Using the organizer with Olivia helps limit the amount of time she spends changing her dresses over and over. The organizer also has a nice pocket where I can place Olivia’s bows on the side. She has to have choices when it comes to her bows. She is an independent fashionista and she definitely doesn’t get that from me.

Setting up the Clothing Organizers

So what did I do to implement these closet organizers? I labeled each cubby with a day of the week starting with Monday. I used Word and switched the page to landscape and picked a font that easy to read and used a large font. I wrote the words in different colors because Logan can read while Olivia can’t.  Incorporating colors I can tell Olivia today is Monday and Monday is red so she can begin to recognize the words herself.

Days of The Week

 

 

I printed the days out and laminated them. I chose to laminate them because honestly my kids are a little rougher on things and laminating them helps to stand up to their destruction.

I got this laminator and these laminating sheets to help with projects like this, and they have held up well without any disappointment.

I used Velcro tabs and attached them to the back of each cubby so the words can easily be seen.

Next, I placed and underwear, shirt, pants, and socks for each kid in the cubby. I also placed pajamas on the bottom. This way later in the day they can go back and get their own pajamas, another opportunity for independence.

I hung both of these organizers on a small metal rack and placed it in my room. The rack is adjustable and makes it easier for the kids to reach their own clothes. After a morning shower, I can route each child to that rack and keep them distracted from the toys and fun stuff in their rooms.

Childrens Closet Organizer for The Week

Getting The Kids Involved

On the side of Logan’s organizer, I attached his visual schedule for getting dressed. The first couple of times I walked him through the visual schedule. Pointing at each picture that correlated to each piece of clothing. Eventually, my promoting faded and he has been able to just use the visual schedule for support. My hope is that he will eventually not need the schedule.

Autism Getting Dressed Schedule

I get Logan involved and give him choices when I place the clothes into the organizer. I ask him to choose which shirt he wants for which day. For example, I will say “On Monday, do you want Buzz Lightyear or red?” He will respond with his preference. Doing this I find helps keep Logan involved and still gives him a sense of control over what he wears and involved in the process.

I generally take the time to set up these organizers on Sunday afternoon. This has proved so helpful and makes for an easier morning during the week. I am all about easy mornings and anything that can make them a little easier while helping Logan gain some independent skills is a win-win.

I hope this little trick can help you and your family have smoother mornings and help your child gain a little more independent skills. What have been some of your favorite independence skill-building tasks? Does your family implement visuals schedules at home? Do you find them helpful? Comment below and share your tips for other families to try.

If you haven’t check out my other blog posts about explaining autism to a child as well as the early signs of autism I missed a mother.