Change or Routine?

We hear it all the time, in the autism community, Change is good, try to not get stuck in a routine (even though your child THRIVES on routine and you typically have a happier child being on a routine!

So what is it people? Change or Routine?


No, I know that answer but it tends to be difficult when you are just trying to manage life at times.

Change is constantly occurring and I know we must embrace and understand how we can cope when it does occur.  At times though, change, especially unexpected change, can be extremely stressful for children with autism. Children with autism often prefer to have a sense of structure and to know what to expect during the day and what activity they will be doing and when. Consistency and predictability help children feel reassured that they know what will happen next.

But sometimes when this cycle of routine occurs they get stuck in a rut and you lose learning opportunities and it gets very challenging to teach them something new.

I create routines and don’t even think of them as a routine but for Cody, IT’S A ROUTINE and can become an pragmatic.  I have learned to be more flexible and shift my responsibilities to ensure that we don’t get stuck in a circuit doing the same thing every day.  For example, after his therapy session each day there is a 15 minute window where I typically come down from work, feed the dogs, Cody requests for Preschool Prep Math Facts or Wonder Pets and as soon as therapist leaves from logging their data, we then go do something fun! That 15 minute window is a routine for Cody and in my eyes it’s just managing life so we can do something fun next!  What happens is when Cody is being pushed to learn a new program that may be pushing him outside his comfort zone, he will quickly only respond by trying to request that same TV show over and over so he does not have to experience change.

Then you get stuck in that circuit of not learning new things each day. We work very closely with Cody’s team to trick this up when we start seeing these behaviors pop up.

Most times though we have to balance because too much change will not result good. At times when change occurs, we know our children may respond in a variety of ways, including exhibiting withdrawal, repetitive behaviors, tantrums, or even aggression.

We know these behaviors poke their sneaky little heads out because of extreme anxiety and/or inability to communicate their emotions/desires.

There is so much we can do to help manage change and transitions in our child’s life and it’s up to us to learn what works best for them.

Today we created a calming corner in our living room.  This consists of a huge stuffed bear and books. I am also going to search for a calming video to use in the event we may need more.

This week has been tough.  Cody lost 2 therapists, gained two new ones and had less structure with his programs with potty training in motion.  It was too much for me much less my superhero!  Taking Brad’s advice and will hug him longer tonight.


Published by mamalamaneustupa

Bio My name is Shelley Neustupa. I am a mother of two cool boys and a wife of 22 years to my high school sweetheart. My oldest son attends the University of Oklahoma. Boomer! My youngest is in 2nd grade and was diagnosed with Autism and Mixed Receptive Expressive Disorder at age 2. Since his diagnosis, I promised him I would advocate and educate as hard as he works each day in therapy. I began writing and have been able to touch many parents that may be new to this journey providing them with actual experiences (not candy coated), support and resources through my entries. Writing is my therapy and my hope one day that my nonverbal son will be able to take these diaries and speak about his own journey and how autism relates to his own experiences. Who knows he and his older brother may become National Speaker’s one day? Come along on our journey to better understand our lives through the eyes of a boy with autism, his Skilled Companion dog Jude, his big brother (and best friend) and mom and dad. My raw vulnerability captures the everyday moments of our journey and will bring even more awareness. A week does not go by where we do not learn something new about ourselves and I want to share these chapters with you. My Sons Undeniable Strengths… Extremely smart and figures out things quickly. Has a memory that allows him to remember more things than I could ever hope for. Persuasive by his personality and sheepish looks. Overabundance of stamina and strength. Loves the outdoors. Enjoys life and always has fun with an unforgettable smile. You can find us here: Writer: Autism Through His Eyes Facebook Instagram YouTube Pinterest Canine Companions for Independence News Interview Cody and Skilled Companion Jude - Our Story

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