Blog Archive

Monday, September 30, 2013

Autism Spectrum Disorder and Military Life

Structure, repetition, routines, consistency, schedules for everything (from a morning routine to daily chores to bedtime procedures.) These are all different examples of what life might when dealing with someone on the Autism Spectrum. 

Change, moving, last minute trainings, new people, new houses, new schools, new teachers…these are all examples of what military life is like for most of us.

So, for those of us who are trying to figure out how to balance and mesh two completely opposite life styles into one cohesive family unit, below are some ideas that might be of help to you.   As I often heard one of my greatest college professors say, (and as you may have heard the saying in reference to Autism,) “When you have met one person with Autism, you have met one person with Autism.” With that said, please note that what may work for one kiddo may not work the same way for another. However, I do hope that some of these will help your family.

Since military life might cause frequent moving, one way to help a child on the spectrum maintain a sense of consistency and routine would be to use schedules throughout their daily life. You could make a visual schedule for morning routine, getting ready for school, what to do when they get home from school or what to do after dinner. The more structure in place the better! Having schedules that you are able to transfer from place to place, from home to home could be very helpful.  Different examples of schedules are:

  •     Visual schedules with pictures to represent a different activity for the child to complete as part of their routine(s)
  •     Checklists to help a child understand exactly what they need to do to complete a process
  •     Written schedules, with specific information about what to do to fulfill the schedule
  •     Weekly and monthly schedules
    •      Include doctor’s appointments, therapies, upcoming training's, etc.
    •      Include possible weekend activities

  •     These schedules can be put in bathrooms to help a child understand the steps for brushing their teeth or washing their hands, in the kitchen to help them remember what their daily chores are, in their bedroom so when they wake up in the morning they know their routine
  •     Flip schedules so as they complete a routine, they flip down each part of their schedule until all tabs are flipped over

Below are examples of some of these schedules:

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