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Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) are likely to show signs of favoring rituals and routines.  Routines tend to be an extremely important part of a child’s ASD world, as having a routine can help them feel more consistent and in order.  While relying too much on a specific routine may do more harm than good (in some cases), generally, adopting different routines can be rather beneficial for individuals with ASD; the important part is how to better understand and implement them properly to avoid issues.  Here are some of the major benefits of adopting a healthy routine:

Maintain Order with a Schedule

Life for a child or adult with ASD can often seem chaotic and hard to manage.  Creating a schedule can better help someone with ASD adapt to different areas of life that generally may be more of a challenge for them.  Visual schedules are a great way to implement this as it allows for visual images of daily activities and gives your child the opportunity to see what is happening next.  Ultimately, this can assist in avoiding potential breakdowns due to unexpected changes throughout the day. It’s important to remember that a schedule is a best practice, however, change can sometimes be unavoidable; you should always be prepared, and its best to prepare your child for potential unexpected schedule changes.

Reduce Stress and Anxiety

Many children with ASD struggle with severe stress and anxiety disorders.  Daily tasks such as meeting new people, being in different surroundings, and going to school,  can cause an immense amount of stress for someone with ASD and may make it harder to manage. Implementing a routine can help ease these issues and improve your child’s ability to adapt to new situations.  For example, if going to school is something that generally causes your child a mass amount of stress, develop a before school routine that will help them understand what their day will look like and help them ease into it.

Increase Potential for Learning

Using a daily routine can also increase your child’s potential for learning.  In a school setting, a child with ASD may struggle to learn and retain new information.  However, with a healthy routine, and a lowered stress level, your child will be able to better focus on the direct tasks at hand.  If your child is in school, talk to their teachers to get them on board with the routine. This can make all the difference for both your child and their teachers.
It’s important to remember that a routine and schedule can be a great tool for both you and your child.  However, schedules should be flexible, as unexpected changes happen, and can throw off normally set tasks.  Always remember that while a routine is important, so is teaching your child healthy ways to adapt to unexpected changes.  A healthy balance of both will help your child thrive in any environment.