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How do I help this kid, schedule failure and parenting fail

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

So I set up a picture schedule for ds (4 in Dec).  It's more a sequence of the days events , each activity has an icon, we used magnets to stick them on the side of the fridge.  He does a bit better with a schedule, but I am the one who hates it!  I thought 'this is great, he'll love it'.


 We start with breakfast, then move on to chores (feed cats, feed chickens and collect eggs, help put away clean dishes), then outside time, tech time (t.v., computer), lunch, quiet time, tech time (Iput these all in a row so I would have some time to rest), mommy one on one time, daddy time, dinner, bed time stuff.  So we purposefully didn't set times and left broad catagories.


 He doesn't love it.  First off, we used a picture of a bowl of cereal for breakfast, he freaks out b/c now he can only have cereal at breakfast.  We explain he can have any breakfast, he explains that we need a picture of every breakfast or the schedule is wrong.


 We then move onto 'outside time', it's a picture of a tree.  We talk about how outside time can be the playground, backyard, playing with friends, running errands.  For example today we need to go to the library and we can do that during outside time.  Huge mistake.  In the end dh has to draw a picture of a library so that days we go to the library the schedule can be right.


Everything continues in this manner.  Tech time is a picture of a computer, he insists that means that he can only play the computer, and now he's in tears b/c sometimes he wants to watch Dinosaur Train and now he can never watch Dinosaur Train.


 OMG, I am so over this thing!  THen we had a major issue.  For outside time we were going to play with the hose outside.  But it's raining, and I think it's unreasonble to make me stand outside in the rain and spray him with a hose.  I tell him we can puddle jump, we can run in the rain, etc....huge meltdown.


 This child is so literal, how do I set a schedule with a kid who does not like flexability?  He remembers things that we did a year ago and remembers very specific bits of information.  When he plays pretend, things are very specific.  When building legos the other day, he wanted to build 'rides'.  I asked about a slide and swings and he got very frustrated b/c he said 'rides', not a playground, and slides and swings are at playgrounds.  I mean he has a point, but....help!

post #2 of 11

I have a kiddo on the spectrum who is JUST like that.  Your 'picture schedule' wouldn't work for my kiddo.  My kid can't adjust.  If the sign says outside time with a pic of a tree well then its simply 'tree climbing time'  I'm never going to get to the grocery, the library, the mailbox, its just NOT going to happen.

As for the lego's- exactly EXACTLY the same thing.  I have a rule that mommy doesn't play lego's.  


Even now at 11 yrs old my kiddo still has some of the aspie tendencies.  That totally drives me bonkers at times.  But I'VE learned to accept it.  Like if its raining and he wants to be sprayed with the hose, fine.  that't not worth an argument.


IDK if you kiddo is aspie or on the spectrum but from the little bit you wrote your kiddo could be an exact twin of mine, just a bit younger.


Honestly- get rid of the magnets and the 'schedule' the way it is.  its not working for your kiddo.

post #3 of 11

How about a written schedule with options available to choose from for the specifics?

post #4 of 11

Same situation here!  I understand your frustration completely!  We were having problems with DD doing any little thing during the day so I thought a chart would make the day a little more concrete for her so she would know what to expect and in what order.  I made the chart when she was 2 yo.  But...I had the same problem, every picture I used was an argument.  I used a picture of an apple and a banana for snack time.  She insisted that that is the only thing she could eat for a snack!  I used a picture of folding laundry for chores. She didn't think she had to help put away clean dishes because the picture showed folding laundry!  I completely abandoned the list for a while and now she is coming around and finds a little bit of interest in it but she is 4 now.  It took being part of our lives for two years to actually sink in.  I saw above that someone else also had the same situation and their child was on the spectrum.  I'm not trying to imply anything but just an FYI, we are currently having our DD evaluated for Sensory Processing Disorder.  Good luck!  I hope you are able to figure something out that works for both of you! :)

post #5 of 11
post #6 of 11

We had similar problems when I used photos, they were just too specific for DS to generalise. For some things downloading line drawings helped. For example getting dressed, the photo meant he would only want to clothing in the photo, a simple line drawing of trousers and a top he was able to generalise more easily. We also used a ? for times we were not sure what we'd plan.


The other big thing for us was not trying to make the chart too detailedit worked better when we kept it very simple. in the end we didn't add too many activites within the home, just used it to show preschool days, shopping, story time at the library etc We ended up showing today & tomorrow with breakfast lunch and dinner. In between the meals was space to add a couple of activities.


The problem we could nto get round was DSs idea that if he removed the acticity from the chart we wouldn't have to do it! We still use them for somethings but no longer have a dialy shedule up.

post #7 of 11

My son is pretty flexible but we do tend toward being literal... If you are up for making more magnets, maybe you could have color coded ones and have him choose one from each category for the day. So say, blue is for breakfast. Have him pick one from the blue category (cereal, pancakes, eggs, or whatever he sometimes eats) and have some blank ones that could be filled in. Outside time could be relabeled "Not Inside the House Time" or maybe a picture of the sun would be better than a tree. Or would you then not be able to go outside on rainy days? 

post #8 of 11

My thought was to use the computer to design a framework for the schedule, and then have HIM draw whatever pictures he wanted in the correct spaces. So you would point to this space and say "this is the breakfast space - what should go there?" And then he can draw whatever he wants to represent breakfast.


If that doesn't work, I think I would use words even if he's not reading yet. "This one says Breakfast, it starts with the Br- sound."


OR you could use completely and totally abstract symbols - like a circle means breakfast, a star shape means outside... etc. Or color code like someone suggested.


Just some ideas.

post #9 of 11
A few thoughts --

1 - You could ditch the schedule all together. No sense holding on to an idea that just isn't working!

2 - You could add extra pictures to the schedule, maybe with velcro, to represent all the possibilities, and you & he together can fill in which specific pictures you need each morning to create the day's schedule.

3 - You could change it to a written schedule (with generalized words, in large print), and just tell him what the words say. You could possibly color-code the words to help him if he's not able to recognize words yet.

4 - You could write down a schedule for your own benefit only, but share it with him orally. I do this with DS and he remembers the schedule easily, as well as any daily changes (although he does have an unusually good memory, particularly for auditory input).

I can totally picture my DS doing something like yours, he is so incredibly literal. It's endearing & frustrating at the same time!
post #10 of 11

When we made a routine chart for our DD we had her help to pick out pictures to symbolize the activities.

Although our chart isn't for the whole day. It is just for the morning and evening routine to help her cooperate with eating, brushing teeth, dressing etc. We find she cooperates more if she chooses the order she has to do things in and see's all the steps she has to do to complete the routine.


But anyway. We just looked up clip art photos on the computer. She chose what photo she wanted to represent eating, brushing teeth, dressing, etc.

She loves her routine chart. We dont use it all the time. But when she is being uncooperative, we pull it out and instantly she likes the game of the routine.


But if he is the one to choose which picture symbolizes the activities, then maybe he won't find the symbol so literal?!

post #11 of 11
On that note... We had another situation we've been using symbols/charts for, and I did have DS choose the symbols. But they had nothing to do with what they represent. To him the pictures made sense but to someone else they wouldn't. Because they weren't tied in to what they represent, he didn't think so literally about them.
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