These are challenging times especially for our special needs clients. One of the things parents say is hardest to manage is the huge change to routine that lockdown has created. As care providers, there is a lot we can do to help them handle this - even if we can’t be there in person.
With care and effort, a new routine can be created to help maintain the old one. With organized use of telehealth sessions (where possible) and by giving parents materials and added guidance, much can be achieved.
By helping parents learn some new skills, we as care providers can help them create a ‘new consistency’. We know that maintaining a routine offers calmness and consistency for everyone and helps the day run more efficiently. So when setting up a routine, first Identify goals. What is it that you are trying to achieve? Do we want to teach time? Structure? Or just help the person feel calm by knowing what's next in their day. Once you have identified your goals, you will know what kind of schedule to create.
Build a Schedule
PECS is great for building a visual schedule. You could create a more personal schedule utilizing custom pictures that can be cut out and used on a board. Another great way to create a schedule is creating the token economy chart as the schedule. There are many free resources online to help you put together schedules.
Changes are hard for everyone, but arguably particularly so for someone with a disability. There will likely be extra stress in the family at the moment and more challenging behaviors from the person you are providing care for. As their regular care provider, you know best what works for you and your client family. Have some back up activities planned in case what you intended just isn’t the right fit on a particular day.
Keep to a Schedule:
- Use Visual Supports.
- Be open to working with Incentive Systems – keep them simple and achievable.
- Alternate structured activities and looser activities.
- Involve the child in routines- e.g. spring cleaning, daily chores, clearing table, meal prep
- Cuddle and Enjoy!
Our next post will give you some detailed ideas of incentive systems and learning opportunities that you can use!