Predictability and routine go ‘hand in hand’. They help us feel safe and calm.
Visual time tables, calendars, objects of reference, ‘talking through the day or week’ are in my mind pretty fundamental stuff. Knowing what happens next communicates some sort of predictability.
If you can’t predict what happens next, or if anxiety means you are uncertain about next steps; someone showing you (visually) helps anchor you to the ‘here and now’.
In my work (with children and adults), having ‘visual structure’ to the day is more often the exception than the norm. We have seen anxiety and mental health problems for autistic people and people with social communication disorders soar.
I am making a tentative link between the ‘loss of structures’ and reduced wellbeing. If the importance of predictability and routine is forgotten, we are expecting people to navigate their routine on top of everything else that may be unsettling them.
Helping a person make sense of their day is pretty fundamental stuff, yet somehow it has gone off the radar everywhere.
Let’s get back to basics!