"Now and Next" boards can be both helpful and essential for some autistic children, but they can also cause stress and anxiety.
The colourful cards, magnets, or labels on a "Now and Next" board can sometimes be too overwhelming or distracting. Expecting a child to focus on this additional information can lead to overwhelm.
Understanding the concept of "Now" and "next" can be challenging for some autistic children. If your child struggles with this, it doesn't mean they can't follow a structured routine, but you may need to provide more concrete cues to help them transition from one activity to the next.
Some autistic children need to prepare for the next activity and know what's happening, while others may feel anxious about change. It doesn't mean "Now and Next" boards won't work, but you should consider a few things:
- Use sensory accommodations like muted colours or different materials if tactile input helps.
- Stick to a consistent routine to minimise disruptions and build trust in the board.
- Use tangible cues or objects to represent tasks, like having their swimming bag nearby when transitioning to swimming.
Always approach these interventions with a person-centered viewpoint, considering the specific needs and preferences of autistic individuals to reduce stress and make these visual supports more effective. Remember, what works can evolve over time.
Learn more about Autism and Anxiety here https://www.autability.co.uk/autismandanxiety