I have struggled with the idea of routine for years. I would start one and then fall flat on my face. I guess I don’t like the perceived rigidity. I want to be able to accommodate my lazy inclinations. (Did I just write that out loud?) But I have learned to embrace the concept of routine. You can guess that Torah did it!
We began with our evening routine.
I would like to point out that the pictures work really well. Sadie can recognize all the pictures now. She doesn’t always remember to follow them in order, but she has siblings to help her. This one thing has completely changed our evenings. I am on my own most evenings, so chaos tended to be the general practice. It’s not that I ignore my children and let them get away with murder, but the evenings have always been hard for me. I’m tired, and more likely to hide in a corner. Our routine has changed that.
Torah gives us an example of routine, because Torah is full of cycles, like the moon, stars, seasons, feast days, Shabbat. Routine and predictability is very good for all of us. It is particularly good for people with autism or aspergers syndrome. I wondered why that is. Here are my thoughts:
- People with aspergers tend to take everything very literally.
- They don’t like change.
- They are reliable and dependable, because they do what they say they will do.
- If I say I will do something, they will expect me to follow through.
- If I don’t follow through, they will see me as a liar.
(I don’t think I’m very comfortable with this kind of thinking!)
If Sadie comes to me and asks me to read her a story, I can say, “Well, maybe later.” This response is not in keeping with Torah. YHVH does not like luke warm wishy washy anything. I say maybe because I hope that she will forget and I won’t have to do it. But Torah says to let your yes be yes and your no be no. I should make a commitment one way or the other. I should either say no and stick to it, or say yes and schedule it.
My aspies are thinking Torah here. They expect me to keep my word and follow through with what I say. To be completely honest here, this is hard for me. I have grown accustomed to sloppy speech. I have used maybe too many times. I have promised something and then forgot. I have strung them along with tomorrows that never come. I have been wrong. I have sinned.
Knowing that keeping to a routine is Torah has helped me to stick with it faithfully for two weeks now. Knowing that keeping my word about even the little things is Torah, has changed me, too.
So what does keeping my word have to do with a routine? I can stick to what that little picture chart says, and keep my word. I can say to Sadie, “I will read you a story during reading time.” When reading time comes up on the chart, I keep my word and read to her. Somehow, that chart has the ability to rule my life from 4:30 pm to 9:30 pm. And I’m actually thrilled about that!
Sadie has not been flapping and jerking her arms in several days. She has been dancing and smiling. She has made progress in her schoolwork. I think I can credit that little blue chart on the wall that brings order to our days. She still baby talks sometimes and stares at us when she’s frustrated. But we have plenty of room for improvement.
YHVH has used my wonderful aspies to refine me. He is teaching me about the importance of order and routine. He is showing me that I must keep my word. These are lessons that we all must learn, whether we are dealing with aspergers or autism or nothing of the sort. And I’m very excited to announce that I felt ready to post the morning routine this morning!