Many autistic students, who have difficulty transitioning from one activity to another, benefit from using a visual schedule in the same interactive way for each transition. Visual schedules provide the means to implement the same transition routine each time the activity changes. Many teachers simply say, “Check your schedule” to signal when it is time for one activity to end and another to begin. Those words serve to initiate the transition routine which the student has learned to complete once initiated without further prompting.
Like many autistics, all my life I have thought visually. My thinking is comprised of pictures, colors, shapes along with their sound and movement. Given that experience, I have had to learn how to hold onto new thoughts because it doesn’t just happen automatically. This is especially true if I see a novel thought while in a slightly (or more than slightly) elevated emotional state. It doesn’t matter if the emotion is negative or positive. Here is an example:
As an autism consultant I am often asked how I sort out what to do when I see an autistic client who is struggling in school or in life. As an autistic person I know first hand if stabilization needs are not met, regardless of the supports in place an autistic person will struggle. Stabilization consists of three areas that interplay – internal and external regulation in the context of a positive relationship.
As an autistic getting through the holiday time can be quite tricky. As an autistic parent with children who had different needs it was even trickier. Routine and structure can go a long way! They anchor the days that can otherwise be perceived by an autism neurology as totally chaotic, which in turn, often leads to being overwhelmed and experiencing meltdowns.
Because of my autism I have an autistic thinking style. One characteristic often attributed to me is “inflexible thinking.”
Flexibility in thinking has to do with being able to adapt when circumstances change by adjusting or shifting from one expectation to another. This has never been easy for me, but I have learned how to live more comfortably with my autistic thinking style in a world where flexibility is much more highly valued than my inborn trait.