TEACCH Tip#8 for Adolescents & Adults – Creating Predictability During Uncertainty
This might be a scary time, and you may feel like you do not have much control over what is happening, but you can do things to stay safe and to feel more in control. There are steps you can take to make a positive difference.
We are all learning new routines and making new house rules about how to keep ourselves safe and healthy. Everyone in the house must follow the house rules and routines, whether you live with parents, roommates, or by yourself. Here are some steps for developing and learning new house rules:
- Have a house meeting to determine new rules,
- Write the new rules and post them where you (everyone) can see them, on a whiteboard or a poster board.
Here is an example of a specific rule:
Wash hands for 20 seconds (sing the Happy Birthday song twice) every time you come inside, after you go to the bathroom, before you prepare food, or before you touch your face. Good places to put reminders of this rule include your front door, the bathroom mirror and the refrigerator.
It can also be helpful to have new rules for social interactions. Here is an example:
Don’t hug people or shake hands when you greet them, even if they are family members. Stay six feet away from other people when you are outside of your home, such as when you are out walking, talking to neighbors, or waiting in line at the grocery store.
Remember that it is important to create a schedule and a daily routine, even when you stay inside most of the day. A schedule and routines help you stay calm, engaged and not worry as much about things you can’t control.
- Continue with your daily routines for healthy living, even doing things that seem unnecessary, or perhaps illogical (like bathing even if you won’t be around anyone).
- Routines for social activities are important. A daily call or text to a family member outside of your home, a weekly facetime talks with friends, and/or a board game evening with your family or roommates in your home can be fun and important for your emotional and mental health.
- This is a good time to start and establish other healthy living routines. Maybe you can establish a routine of practicing a daily calming routine, using a daily planner, or using new social skills.