Routine and Structure
Routine and structure can be very soothing to autistic people. When the world is confusing it can be helpful to have some sense of predictability. The need for routine and structure can increase during times of high stress.
Examples of routine and structure:
Eating the exact same food each day
Walking the exact same route to work
Having a specific routine for when you come home from school
Only wearing specific clothing
Changes in routine that can cause stress
The change in routine during summer holidays
Physical changes to an environment, such as a new layout in your house or office
How to prepare for changes to routine and structure
Find out about changes in advance. For example, if you know that there will be timetable changes in school, get in touch with the school to find out the exact changes.
Prepare for changes. If you are coming up to the summer holidays or easter break and you know there will be a change in routine, discuss the upcoming change in routine well in advance.
Use visual supports. These can be pictures of a new teacher, or a timetable of the new routine for summer holidays.
Be prepared for anxiety to increase. Change in routine and structure will increase stress levels. Have a plan in place for when this happens. It can be helpful to create a sensory box to help. This can include anything the person likes which relaxes them. IT can include a favourite book, fidget toys and art supplies.
A visual representation of routine and structure
Aspire Productions documentary about asperger syndrome has a character called Billy. Billy has a very similar routine in place most days and struggles if this changes. Watch the short clip to see the world from his perspective