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All images and posts written by and copyright to Amanda Clements (nee Gray) 2009-2012 unless otherwise indicated.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Routines to help children get started

Q: What do you do with the child who can't seem to get organised in the morning?

A1: Have a set routine - repetition and rehearsal replaces the difficulties caused by executive functioning issues. It means that the routine becomes automatic - you don't have to think, analyse, prioritise or plan. So do the same things, in the same order to start the day.

A2: Use visuals - especially for young children or children with language and/or literacy difficulties.
A3: Use checklists - especially for older children or children who have good literacy skills. You can do this on little whiteboards, or you can use a table like the one at

A4: Have a time frame - leaving time open can increase the chances that the child will daydream, or spend too much time focusing on details rather than the sequence of things they need to get done.

I recently went to a workshop by Dr Lee Sturgeon where he talked about the use of a Time Timer. This is a great tool that will help children keep track of how time is passing. You can find information on the different formats on the following links:

Q: What do you do with the child who takes ages to get settled in class?

A1: The same as might be done at home: have a set routine. This might involve a simple routine that determines the sequence in which the necessary equipment for the day is unpacked. Or it may simply be a routine such as:
  • Line up
  • Walk in quietly
  • Sit down
  • Get out your pens and books
  • Look at the teacher
A2: Again, as with home, use visuals to represent your routine.

Use checklists and advanced organisers. For example, this chain of events graphic organiser from You can find more here and here.

A4: Have a time frame - this is very important in classrooms as children with executive functioning issues often get "left-behind" at the beginning of lessons as they struggle to get organised and started. This can then have a significant impact on the rest of the lesson - or the rest of the day.


Sue June 25, 2010 at 3:17 PM  

Hi Amanda,
Great post. I have linked it to our regional ASD Support Nings.
have a great holiday.


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