I mentioned yesterday the pluses of routine. Today I want to touch some of the downsides of them.
First, having a set routine can be stagnating and boring. Even the best walking track gets boring if done absolutely the same way day after day, and even a two-week "diet paln" can leave one feeling after a while that one is not living a "normal" life. But worse than that, if a routine becomes so important that it is unbreakable and unflexible, we have become prisoners in a jail of our own making. When asked to do a favor for someone which infringes on our regular routines, we may often be tempted to refuse without even really considering if the request is feasible.Perhaps we could, with minor adjustmants to our schuedules, accept the opportunity to help another, but servitude to our "routine" my cancel our logical thinking. (In extreeme cases, this can be downright dangerous.)
We need to be able to alter our routines when change is called for (as I did by sleeping in on Tuesday), while keeping in mind that regularly-done tasks may be more difficult when not done in their regular way. (If I had given myself an extra incentive, or perk, for walking, I probably would have done so despite the novel I was devouring.But I underestimated my evil inclination....)
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It is well-known that children, teens, and adults with Down syndrome often have "scripts", or "grooves" : routines that they will keep, almost no-matter-what. These routines give the person with intellectual disability the security of knowing what is expected of them, what they need to do, and what comes next. It is definately worthwhile to occaisionally purposely alter the standard schuedule of the day, starting from when your child is young, in order to teach them possibility of flexibility.