by Brooke Twine
Five years ago my son was diagnosed with Autism. It didn’t come as a shock to us but it did come as a huge reassessment of the needs of our dear little boy. As we began down the path of multiple therapies one thing emerged as a commonality and that was the use of routines, schedules and choice boards. All of the professionals that we visited hammered home that establishing routines and understanding requests are a day-to-day necessity for a child with special needs. We found that using schedules with our son did not make him rigid in his ways but rather became a calming mechanism when he could see what was to come. For example, on a Wednesday, his schedule is different as he has an early morning appointment before school. This sent him into meltdown mode but when I could show him a visual routine with actual photographs of the places we were going he enjoyed his morning and went back to school content!
I decided to design the Autism/Special Needs Daily Organiser app for iPad as I needed to get rid of the paper, the velcro, the sticky tape and the constant printing that comes with paper-cardboard schedules. My son does not like paper/cardboard routines and would rip everything to shreds! I designed this app so everything that I needed would be in the one place without breaking the continuity when communicating with my child. I designed this app for my beautiful boy and to support and assist others in their life with a child with special needs.
The Autism/Special Needs Daily Organiser is a great tool for assisting families, carers and teachers to establish daily routines for the extraordinary and beautiful child/ren in your lives. Routines and activities can be created minutes, a day, a week or months in advance. A combination of written instructions and the ability to upload pictures to illustrate the activity serve as a step-by-step instructional guide to assist with the steps in a particular activity. Routines and activities are not locked and are flexible to assist with last-minute additions. Teachers can use the app to establish individualised timetables. The daily routine operates in real-time, highlighting the current activity and allowing the users to see what is to come to make transitions into new activities easier and less stressful.
The Autism/Special Needs Daily Organiser also allows you to create request boards for family, feelings, food, play and other wants. This feature gives you the support to encourage children to actively make requests and helps to eliminate the frustration faced, particularly by a non-verbal child, to get their needs across.