COVID-19 has brought plenty of changes that make life particularly difficult for individuals with autism, who often benefit from structure and routine in their schedules. As the loved one of an individual with autism, one way that you can help make daily life more comfortable is to use visual support strategies for autism. These strategies create structure and encourage independence while your child is at home. If you need more coronavirus resources for autistic children, ShineLight supports individuals across the full spectrum of Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Coronavirus Resources for Autistic Children:
How to Use Visual Schedules to Help Children with Autism
Visual schedules are visual prompts to help individuals understand upcoming events. They depict the sequence of activities that will occur with written words and images. For example, you can make a list of everyday activities such as brushing teeth, getting dressed, cooking, and feeding a pet. In your home, you can also create an entire schedule for the day that looks something like breakfast, daily walk, snack, learning activity, tv-show, lunch, clean up, reading time, etc. You can put the visual schedule on the refrigerator, an iPad, or a phone so that your loved one can easily reference the sequence of events..
How to Create A Visual Activity Schedule
Visual activity schedules promote independence and self-management skills. Start with simple activities that your child knows how to complete independently. Create a binder with activities, such as puzzles and painting, and end it with something your child enjoys at the end such as a snack. To help your child understand how the activity schedule functions, you can start with items that are on the table and prompt your child to reference the activity schedule so that they build an understanding of the relationship between the schedule and the activity.
How You Can Use Visual Modeling to Help Children with Autism
Visual support strategies for autism, such as visual modeling can be very beneficial when trying to encourage independence and routine for individuals with autism. Live modeling uses opportunities as they’re naturally occurring so that you can comment on them. Video modeling uses videos to provide a visual model of various skills. They feature an actor, who may represent the parent, going through the process of completing a task. You can pause the video if your child needs help to perform a step before continuing the video.
About ShineLight | Coronavirus Resources for Autistic Children
ShineLight is a unique organization created with the distinct purpose of providing a brighter life and future for individuals with autism. ShineLight serves as a guiding light for individuals and their families by leading the way in support services and community advocacy. Their service areas include: Fayetteville, Wake, Sampson, Scotland, Duplin, Wayne, Lenoir, Greene, Wilson, Edgecombe, Durham, Johnston, Cumberland, Hoke, Robeson, and Bladen Counties. Contact us today.