Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Visual Schedule

On there is a community that has posts with questions and topics that are category specific. Of course, I subscribe to the autism posts. I have seen some good stuff there, but other stuff like the dietary stuff, DAN! doctors and gluten free stuff doesn't interest me. There was a post today talking about the brushing and joint compression techniques (Wilburger protocol, fyi). Shelly does it on Nikko, but I don't see that it's very effective on him. I just see him squirming to get out of her grip. Today there was a post from an article written by an autistic person who listed ten things every child with autism wishes you knew:

1.) I am first and foremost a child. I have autism. I am not primarily "autistic." Don't just use labels; Nikko is still a person with many facets to his personality.
2.) My sensory perceptions are disordered. Nikko can have a difficult time trying to process all the sensory things around him, and can get overloaded.
3.) Please remember to distinguish between won't (I choose not to) and can't (I am not able to). It isn't that he doesn't listen to instructions. It's that he can't understand you. Don't yell across the room, come speak directly to him in plain words.
4.) I am a concrete thinker. Language is interpreted very literally.
5.) Please be patient with my limited vocabulary. The words are beyond Nikko's ability to express. Be alert for body language, withdrawal, agitation or other signs that something is wrong.
6.) Because language is so difficult for me, I am very visually oriented. Show Nikko how to do something rather than just telling him, and repeat it many, many times. Lots of consistent repetition helps him learn. This bullet point also mentioned that a visual schedule is extremely helpful. It relieves him of the stress of having to remember what comes next, makes for smooth transition between activities. It is a good suggestion, and something both Shelly and Gloria mentioned to me before. I have to start planning to put that in action.
7.) Please focus and build on what I can do rather than what I can't do.
8.) Please help me with social interactions.
9.) Try to identify what triggers my meltdowns. If I can figure out why Nikko's meltdowns occur, they can be prevented.
10.) If you are a family member, please love me unconditionally.

These are all good points, but what really got me thinking was the visual schedule. I have taken some pictures for Nikko for PECS, but I really should put together what his daily schedule is like. In fact, since we have playgroup and different therapies on different days, I should make something to reflect all that. PLUS I have to get the whole "choice" thing going, where Nikko should be picking between two objects or two activities. When the heck am I going to get this going??

As for today, it was day one of Chinny coming to help me out with the boys, in lieu of Brianna. She was late this morning, but luckily it wasn't dire. Gloria doesn't like Ronin to be around during Nikko's therapy because she thinks he gets way to distracted. But Chinny arrived and took him downstairs where he remained rather compliant. Nikko had a good session, according to Gloria. He played appropriately with a toy airplane and car, did some puzzle matching, and some fishing with felt pieces. Nikko did seem focused today, but had some moments of being Noodleman. When I had to leave with Audrey for the chiro, Nikko was going bezerk. He didn't want me to leave, and I had to tell Chinny to carry him off into the other room. He definitely threw a fit, but according to Chinny, after I left he was mad but ran to the living room and calmed down, acted like nothing was the matter. That's good! He even took a nap on the armrest of the couch. For dinner I had the old Dino nuggets instead of the Disney nuggets and Nikko wolfed them down. I was surprised about that because he's been on a Disney nugget hiatus unless I cram it into his mouth. Who knows? Maybe tomorrow will be another nugget strike.

At bedtime he had started to lift up his head and lean in to let me kiss him good night. I encourage him to kiss Denis too, which he allows. He's been going to bed without a fuss lately, so that's also good.


  1. Mich...I have some templates for the "schedule" and "choice" that I can show you. I can laminate it and use some velcro to get it going for you.

  2. How awesome is that??!!! I had no idea you had access to that stuff, or even knew what I was talking about. I would love to learn more about it. THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!!