What is a routine? “A repeatable series of events that provides a predictable structure to one’s life.” – Chris Montgomery
Routines are a tool for adding structure and predictability to the day – and they are a part of the larger picture of the Communication System.
- Routines break the large chunk of time that is the day into smaller more manageable segments.
- Routines provide an external structure on which to hang information and build concepts.
- Routines can provide external structure when internal structure is not intact.
By allowing for consistent, structured routines we are able to give a reference to build upon. Through routines we learn to anticipate, which allows for less stress and better communication. Routines give meaning to actions and events, while building a memory foundation for other learning.
Some things to consider when constructing a routine:
- Have a name for each routine.
- Have a clear beginning, middle, and end.
- Establish clear roles (i.e. what do you want your student/child to do, and what will you do?).
- Establish a purpose for the routine.
- Make your routines repeatable (i.e. don’t just do the routine once and never repeat it – try to do the same (or very similar) thing consistently.
- Try to add as much consistency between home and school as possible.
- Routines should be geared toward building concepts.
- The number one goal when creating a routine should be to teach toward greater independence!
Two types of routines:
I like to think about routines in two categories, but also along a continuum:
Having said that, all routines should include elements of skills and communication, although they may fall closer to one end of this continuum than the other.
- All routines should be child-driven, have skills that are being learned and practiced. They should be chock full of good conversation and communication – also, don’t forget to have fun, because this is how you will bond!
Thinking along the continuum
- When you are creating a routine, what are your goals for that routine – or, another way to put it – what is your purpose? Where do these goals fall along the skills/communication continuum? Sometimes it’s good to just write this stuff down – state it.
- You should always have goals and an idea of where you’re headed with what you are teaching – right?!?