I Love ABA!

Welcome to my Blog!

This blog is about my experiences, thoughts, and opinions on ABA. My career as an ABA provider is definitely a passion and a joy, and I love what I do.

This is a personal blog: The views and opinions expressed here represent my own and not those of the people, institutions, or organizations that I may be affiliated with.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Creating Order in The Home: Daily Schedules







“I can’t even talk on the phone/take a shower/ visit with guests because my child gets into everything.”

“She spends all day moving from toy to toy, and I’m constantly cleaning the house and picking up.”

“She doesn’t have any hobbies.”

“I can’t sit down/watch TV/talk to my spouse, because I have to entertain my child.”

“How do I stop my son from hitting and annoying his siblings all day long.”

“His teacher says he’s fine at school, but here at home he is just climbing the walls!”


These are just a few of the questions/comments I hear from parents who have no routine inside of their home. I personally feel this is bigger than an ABA issue and is really just an organization issue. I think most parents could benefit from incorporating structure into the household, but especially parents raising children with Autism.

Many parents raising children with Autism see that there is order and routine inside of their child’s classroom, but for some reason don’t see a need to generalize this same type of structure into the home environment. Any teacher of special needs children can tell you that without a schedule and routine, chaos would ensue.
If you watch the TV show Supernanny (I'm definitely a fan) you'll notice that nanny Jo would almost always immediately create a visual schedule of the house routine and post it on the wall.  
Why is that?
 Its because households without structure and order tend to be households full of kids with behavioral problems.


Households without structure and order tend to have all kinds of problems:
*        Transitioning issues
*        Compliance issues
*        The children don’t initiate activities (if bored, they just bother their parents instead of finding something to do)
*        The kids fight and aggravate each other all day
*        The house is hard to keep clean; toys, puzzles, games are scattered everywhere
*        Keeping the kids entertained is placed on Mom and Dads shoulders


A red flag for me is when I am meeting with parents and we can’t hold a conversation because they keep stopping every few seconds to tell their child to get down…to be quiet….to stop hitting their sister…..to put the cat down…..to get off the table….or my favorite:  to “Go Play” (the words “Go Play” mean nothing to a child with no play skills).
If your household sounds anything like this, then you and your family could benefit from creating a schedule to put structure and routine into your home.


So where do you start?

1.      Write out the schedule for your home divided up by time increments, starting with what already happens everyday (such as dinner). Be sure to add in structured activities for your child, such as Water Play, Fine Motor Activities, or Art.
2.      Decide how you want your child to transition through the activities. Do you want to use timers? Sound cues, such as playing a specific song? Giving the child a directive, such as “Its time for Art”? Each activity needs a clear start and stop, so the child can easily transition.
3.      Modify your home to accommodate the schedule. For example, you may need to set up areas of the home for different activities, section off large rooms so multiple activities can happen in that room, put items and objects away in cabinets or drawers when they aren’t needed for an activity, and label areas so the child knows where to go to do the activity. If the schedule says your son is to do homework everyday after school, then there should be 1 designated homework area, and any needed supplies (paper, pens, calculator, etc.) should be kept nearby.
4.      Create a visual schedule, or write out the schedule and display it in a central location in the home.
5.      Explain the new schedule and routine to your child in simple language he/she can understand.
6.      Teach your child to follow the schedule. This is a step many families skip. It isn’t enough to make a routine and hang it up in the living room. The routine must be taught, and will take your child time to learn. Be firm, use lots of prompts and reminders, and do not allow your child to deviate from the schedule. If the schedule says its time for Reading & Vocabulary, then it doesn't matter if the washing machine breaks, the cat gets sick, or the new neighbors drop by unexpectedly: stick to the schedule.

Creating a schedule for the home will bring order, quiet, and structure into your household. Parents have consistently told me that they have more free time after implementing a schedule. The reason why is simple: when the children are appropriately engaged, it is no longer up to Mom and Dad to constantly put out behavioral fires or keep the kids entertained. 

 Below is a sample schedule for the home:

SAMPLE DAILY SCHEDULE

6:00 Wake up, Morning routine, Get dressed
6:30 Morning chores: Make bed, Feed dog
7:00 Breakfast
7:30 Leave for School
3:30 Arrive at home, Afternoon chores: Take out trash, Put book bag away, Take out homework
3:50 Snack time
4:00 Homework
4:30 Outside Play
5:00 Quiet Reading
5:30 Computer Time      
6:00 Cooperative play with siblings
6:30 Prepare for dinner, Wash hands, Help set table
7:00 Dinner
7:30 Bathtime, Brush teeth, Put pajamas on
8:00 Bedtime routine
8:15 Bedtime, Goodnight!




** Quick Tip: I really like this YouTube video posted by a Mom showing how she made her entire house ABA-Friendly. Click here to watch the video.

12 comments:

  1. Hello! I'm glad I found your blog!! I have never been a big fan of ABA until recently. You make it sound / look easier than I believed it could be. We failed at our first attempt at ABA, but we are looking into a more intensive program where we would live on site for 6-12 weeks (Kennedy Krieger Institute Feeding Program).
    Anyway, I plan on stopping by often, and definately will be encouraging people to come check you out!! Thanks again for the help!!

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    1. The Kennedy Institute has an excellent reputation, I hope you find success there. I'm so glad you like the blog, welcome!

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  2. The thing I struggle about with this is that it would be great if our lives were so predictable that a visual schedule for the ENTIRE day would work. But it just doesn't! We have so much going on with 3 kids that I have to flexible about what comes next. I try to tell the kids what is coming next as far in advance as I can, but I'm only human! How do you handle changes in the schedule that come up?

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    1. Actually, your household doesn't have to be 100% predictable for a schedule to work. Yes, you do need some level of routine and order because children crave structure. However, every day doesn't need to be identical to the day before it. When you have changes to your routine you can modify the schedule to reflect it, or you can even put choices on the schedule. If the children come home from school and either go to karate class OR do homework, then you have both items on the schedule and cover up the option you don't choose. Not every family can make a schedule for the entire day, some families only have morning routine schedules or after-school schedules, as these tend to be more routine parts of the day.

      My Visual Learners post provides information about how to make a visual schedule, and here is a direct link to a video demonstration: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SgEkHcipoy0&feature=plcp

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  3. I am thrilled to find your site! My son was diagnosed late and we are on a very long waiting list for ABA, live in a rural area, so we may never receive it. I am trying to implement it at home from teaching myself ABA. Your blog is of tremendous help to me. Thank you!!

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    1. Welcome to my blog! :-)

      I started my career in a rural area so I know how difficult it can be to locate qualified professionals in smaller towns/rural areas. Thankfully there are so many resources, books, online training courses, and webinars today that many parents can educate themselves about ABA and provide services to their own children.

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  4. Thanks for the great job you're doing! God bless. I am recommending your blog to my parents.
    Have a great year.

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    1. Hi Christie,

      Thanks so much for your comment! I hope you have a great year as well :-)

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  5. Thank you I have be trying to create one in my head My children need structure and my oldest has abandonment issues and doesn't do well with change

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    1. I'm glad the information was helpful for you and your family! Good luck

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  6. Wow, lots of good ideas. I have one comment; my girl (high-functioning spectrum, ADD, dyslexic, etc.) needs LOTS of outdoor time when the weather cooperates. I find the 30 minute slot very inadequate for all kids needs who have spent almost all the day inside a building, esp. our kids!! She's just turned 11, and needs it as much as she did when much younger.

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    1. Hi there :-)

      The outside time slot can absolutely be modified to fit individual needs. I agree that outdoors time to burn some of that energy off is super important, regardless of age. I have an adult client and we go on neighborhood walks, or if the weather wont permit we exercise together (exercise bike, or yoga) so he can get his body moving and release stress. I think that is important, right along with teaching skills and managing behavior.

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