Bullet journal for daily routines.

Daily routines, such as dressing, brushing teeth, eating meals, and getting ready for bed, offer the perfect opportunity to work on life skills, speech, and language skills with children with autism. Repetitive routines build predictable patterns and provide structure while developing vital speech and language skills within your child’s natural environment. Below are some examples of how to target speech and language and implement ABA therapy practices through your family’s daily routines.

Daily Routines with ABA Therapy

1. Dressing Routines

Dressing your child provides an array of opportunities to work on vocabulary words while selecting clothing items and discussing body parts. Use speech and language strategies, including pointing, gestures, modeling words, and repetition. Just as with ABA best practices, modeling and positive rewards are ideal during dress routines.

Describe what you are doing using short phrases and simple language, such as “socks on” or “jammies off.” You can promote communication by giving choices about which clothing item to wear by asking them if they prefer the pink shirt or the purple shirt. Talk about where each clothing item goes while explaining, “shoes go on our feet.” You can also use speech and language techniques to see if your child will complete statements such as “hat goes on our _.”

2. Bath Time

Make bath time a fun and educational routine. Create and explain the steps necessary to wash their body and hair. For example:

  • First, we wash our hair with shampoo and conditioner
  • Next, we wash our bodies with soap
  • Then, we have time to play with our favorite bath toys (and offer their favorite toy as a positive reward, following ABA best practices)

Follow this same routine during every bath time, narrating, and modeling what you are doing with simple phrases, such as wash hair and pop the bubbles. Repetition of bath time speech and language is essential in helping your child develop communication skills. You can also be creative by playing games like Simon Says while emphasizing speech and language techniques like touching your nose or showing me your eyes.

Child in a bathtub

3. Car Rides

The car is another great time to model speech and language for your child while incorporating their ABA therapy strategies. Talk with them about what you are passing by what you see around you and use various gestures. Practice self-talk by narrating where you are going and what you will do.  As they progress, take this time to enhance language with further explanation, such as:

  • I see a stop sign, and that means we stop.
  • We need to pick up eggs, apples, milk, and bread at the store. Then we are going to the park.

4. Reading Before Bed

Reading to your child is always beneficial, so incorporate it into their bedtime routine as well.  Discuss the images in your book and what is happening during the story. Try to make reading as engaging and fun as possible! Talk about what the characters are doing with gestures and short phrases. Books with repetitive storylines, such as “Good Night Moon” or “Five Little Monkeys,” are a great way to target early language development. When reading these types of books, pause to allow your child to fill in the missing word or use gestures to show they understand what’s next.

Two kids sitting in bed reading

Together, ABA strategies and speech and language tools can create successful routines for children with autism. Be consistent and enjoy the bonding time you have with your child as they continue to learn. If you’d like more information on resources and service, visit our site today and find out how we can offer your family the support you need.

Using Daily Routines to Improve Language Skills

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