Kids with autism and sensory issues thrive with structure and visual cues. Here are some visuals that we have around our house to help Dill Pickles. Of course Sweet Pickles benefits from them as well.
Dill has a bit of an obsession with bowling and golfing of any kind. Wii Sports has both and Dill would play all day if we let him. The boys are given 3 Wii cards a day. (Their real names are hidden under the moustaches.) They are clipped to our family bulletin board in the kitchen. When one of them want to play Wii, they must give me a Wii card. I set the timer for 20 minutes and when the timer goes ding the Wii is shut off. When all 3 cards are gone, Wii is done for the day. It took a few days for them to get used to the new routine. There was lots of crying and pleading for more time, but not any more. Now the boys fight over who gets to turn the Wii and TV off!
Breakfast used to be another struggle in the Pickles house. Dill likes to eat the same thing over and over for breakfast. Sometimes we run out. *GASP* What kind of mom runs out of something? :) In effort to get Dill to vary his menu a bit and avoid meltdowns when a preferred food is not available, I came up with this breakfast menu. I bought a cheap picture frame from Dollar Tree. Then in the Boardmaker program I made pictures of every possible thing Dill could have for breakfast. We have cereal, oatmeal, toast, breakfast bars, yogurt, pancakes, waffles, sausage, bacon, monkey milk and juice. I laminated the pictures and then put Velcro on the back. There is a long strip of Velcro on top of the plexiglass in the frame. I realize most people don't have access to Boardmaker. You can use clip art, Google some images or even take your own pictures. After dinner I present Dill with his breakfast options for the next day. He chooses what he wants and places the pictures on his menu. Sweet Pickles does the same. This has made breakfast a zillion times easier in the morning.
Monkey milk? I know you want to know what that's all about. Long ago when we were trying to transition Dill from Alimentum formula to rice milk, Dill wanted nothing to do with the rice milk. Out of desperation I bought Zoo Pals disposable cups. My mother-in-law had Zoo Pals paper plates and Dill loved them. He liked the monkey the most, so we put his milk in the monkey cup and called it monkey milk. Dill drank it like it was going out of style. Eventually it got kinda pricey so I found a create your own sippy cup. Daddy Pickles drew the same monkey on Dill's cup and then there was a permanent monkey milk cup. Two and a half years later the name still sticks. Whatever works, right?
Have you done anything creative to get your son or daughter to try something new?