Most students with ASD find routines and schedules comforting and calming.
Routines and schedules:
- minimise stress and anxiety related to learning new skills or accessing new environments or information
- remove confusion and difficulties comprehending information (instructions) from others
- help students predict what will happen and what is expected of them
- provide consistency necessary for learning
- teach expected behaviours necessary for group learning.
Some students may benefit from adjustments to routines or schedules and some explicit teaching of how to follow whole class and school routines and schedules on a planned and regular basis.
Visual cueing systems
Most children with ASD seem to understand and respond better to visual, permanent information. Their communication and sensory processing differences mean that auditory information may not be heard clearly, processed correctly or retained in short-term memory well enough to be useful. Information presented visually (written words, symbols, photos, objects, drawings or video) rather than via the spoken word alone, often causes a significant improvement in the student's response.
Visual cueing systems may include schedules, timetables, cue cards, story-based interventions, lists and other activity checklists, video modelling and visual reward systems.
Planning and evaluating visual cueing systems
Visual cueing systems can be used, adapted and integrated into the Prep learning environment in a variety of ways. When planning or evaluating the use of visual cueing systems it is important to consider:
- the environment(s) that the visual cueing tool is intended for
- what the student is currently using or doing
- the communication, behavioural and curriculum goals of the student
- what the visual tool will actually look like and include
- the intended use of the tool
- the intended audience for the tool (e.g. just one student, whole class, support staff)
- the implementation and evaluation of the tool including teaching the student how to use it.