Saturday, August 01, 2009

Autism, Conor, Schedules and Haircuts

The summer months, with no school, and with much less structure and routine, are difficult at times for Conor. We do try, as much as possible, to keep structure and build activities into each day for him. Lately we have been putting a schedule on a kitchen wall which Conor reads and makes a mark as activities are completed or are about to be undertaken. This appears to help Conor keep from getting anxious as he sometimes does when structure and routine are not as consistent as during the school year.

We also used the schedule to help prepare Conor for a badly needed haircut as you can see in the middle "before haircut" picture below. The after haircut picture follows. The shop where he gets his haircut now is located in a mini mall anchored by a Price Chopper store so we described it as Price Chopper haircut to let Conor know where he was going. (Conor did really well, sitting quietly throughout his haircut, although we don't attribute that solely to the schedule by any means. He has come along way with remaining calm during haircuts over the past few years). We don't try to put too much detail into the schedule leaving the spaces between listed activities open to adjust to his preferences and our ability to facilitate activities. The schedule seems to be helping.

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Anonymous said...

He looks great!

I am surprised he doesn't have full day/full year ABA programming. Try to get your Neuros. to write that in detail in their recommendations. Full day/ full year with no more than 5 consecutive days off. I am always surprised when I hear kids with autism have so much time off. They should not due to risk of regression and the need for consistency. Additionally, since they are clearly far behind their peers they should of course have a full day and full year of programming. This wins all the time in the states, but the parent has to have the recommendations from the Neuropsychologist and the Neurologist or the districts LOVE to look the other way. A heck of a lot cheaper for them of course!

Tammy said...

I like the way you are doing a schedule. It is simple, easy to follow, and easy to write up. Most schedules I see are nicely typed up, with pictures. It's great to see someone doing it the way I do.

Marius Filip said...


Have you tried Activity Schedules with Conor? He might be able to manage that and it might help him A LOT.

Activity Schedules is an ABA technique developed at Stanford (if my memory serves me well) which empowers children with autism to better manage their life. McClannahan & Krantz autohored "Activity Schedules for Children with Autism" presenting the method (see on

Based on this method, the same authors developed another method to teach conversation using scripts and script fading (see "Teaching Conversation to Children with Autism: Scripts and Script Fading" by the same authors).

I mention conversation stuff just to show that the method of Activity Schedules was sound enough that something else was build on top of it.

navywifeandmom said...

Summers are tough for us, too. Pumpkin Pie misses school and the structure and sometimes I am at a loss as to how to keep her entertained so she doesn't stim at the sink all day.