The advantage of a schedule are the following. The parent is able to let the child know what is to be done next in a positive manner. Also, children know that the previous activity will end at a specified time so they do not get upset. Thirdly the child can look forward to certain prefered or reinforcing activities during the day. Finally, the child is more productive with his time learning since there is not as much time that does not include an activity for learning.
To effectively implement the scheduling of a childs day it must be first individualized to the particular client. Secondly, it should include some preferred activities or reinforcers or time for choosing a reinforcer during the schedule. Thirdly, it is helpful to make the child aware of the schedule or review the schedule in the beginning of the day and throughout the reminders of the next activities scheduled. This serves as a stimulus for good behavior. If paired with the reinforcer to be expected this will improve the childs' behavior even more during the activities.
Posting the schedule is usually in practice not that helpful, The child frequently ignores the posted written schedule and in many cases has vision, reading skill problems or simply does not bother to look. Although some therapist and researcg reports it is helpful to post it is suspected by this author and others that posting is more of a help to the parent or caregiver in most cases. However, It is very helpful for the caregiver to have a copy for themselves either posted or in a binder or other location.
The schedule of course should be updated regularly and include the childs choices and preferences in the schedule. Consistancy, throughout the day is also very important. If changes have to be made in the schedule it is helpful to discuss the changes prior to the day or hour in which the change will occur with the child. The prior discussion of a change, may avoid any strong reactions such as tantrums that could result from changing the routine. Parents and caregivers will find that the schedule is a very useful tool in improving the childs' Behavior.