I am sure most teachers have given children packages and are probably expecting you to implement them, but how do you start when you are so overwhelmed, working and also trying to calm your child down? First things first, it is okay to feel overwhelmed, COVID-19, has taken the world by storm. Let’s start by simply using this week to create a schedule and a routine. I know it is not what we had all hoped for, but it has happened and so we must all work together to make this transition as smoothly as possible for our children. Many are back on track with teachers and are working via online learning with your teachers. However, not all of our children are that fortunate, some children are going to have a rough patch for a couple of weeks, unless they have consistent schedule and routines. If we can create some normal daily routines for those kids that rely heavily on sameness or are have a tough time with transitioning it will make teaching easier.
Let’s start with the basics of a visual schedule. A visual schedule is a set of pictures or words that shows what is happening daily. Parents with children diagnosed with Autism are familiar with visual schedules, but most of them have not had to take on the teacher roll. We are going to work first on creating visual schedule so to assist in establishing routines for school work at home. The visual schedule will help your child know what activities he is going to engage in daily. This will help you and your child feel less anxious and feel more in control.
How to create your schedule?
Step 1: Make a list of your daily routine and also the schoolwork you plan to implement daily. It is important to start with the schoolwork your child enjoys and is successful at and in the future you add new assignment. Start your list with familiar routines. Your routine will include common occurring tasks and instead of school put “School work.”
My advice is to cut out the pictures so you can move them around on your Calendar, because when things change, and the routine on the Calendar stays the same, you may end up with a very unhappy child.
I am hoping you have a laminator at home to cut out the pictures and laminate, but if you don’t, just tape the pictures onto an index card or card stock or any hard surface paper. Then Velcro as shown above and if you do not have Velcro use tape. During work time also have a schedule for expected work and along with the work a reward system to help the child stay on task. There are lots of resources out there. You can make your own reward board or order you can buy from Amazon. More ideas to come. To find ideas and pictures for your schedule or activities below:
Uduak (Udie) Osom holds a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree in Speech and Language Pathology from San Jose State University. Udie has served students of all ability levels from preschool through grade 12, for over 20 years. She is very passionate about neuro-developmental disabilities and social-cognitive disabilities. She is the owner/director of Innovative Therapy Services, a pediatric speech, language and social skills clinic in Santa Clara, CA. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.