Routines for Children and Adults with Autism

Ok, this one… is actually a very personal subject to me. It’s one that I have a lot of personal qualms with and one that I know is touchy. Maybe not as touchy as one would think, but still. In fact, I had to call my sister for advice on this topic because I didn’t want to come off as full of baloney. A routine for many can be something as simple as making a microwave pizza or putting on clothes. Things that people take for granted like walking outside, opening a mailbox, getting the mail, closing the mailbox, and going back in… THAT is a routine. Things that we may not PROCESS as routines can be.

Ok, that all said, I have to say MY personal opinion on them and I am NOT going to hold back as that would be a disservice to all of my readers. Routines can be VERY dangerous and the stereotype that autistic people like them…… It’s a very scary half-truth. There are SOME who like that set in stone routine, like in “Rain Man”, but that is a very selective few. For others, a routine can become more of a hindrance than a helper. That can develop into things like OCD, anxiety attacks, even full-on agoraphobia. That being said, here is my thought.

Routines CAN be helpful if used sparingly. They can help you remember when to go to appointments or watch a favorite show or even when a sale is going on. They can help you with video games, jobs, even getting in shape. But they NEED to be done CAREFULLY. I would avoid things like strict schedules or making a certain day an event every week. Allow for flexibility and for unforeseen situations to occur. Trust me, crazy things can and sometimes WILL happen and it’s always good to be able to allow for flexibility if need be.

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