MyODP News Online

Promoting Flexibility

A hand holding a digital pen about to write their weekly schedule on an iPad COVID-19 requires us all to be flexible and tolerant of change as we aim to flatten the curve. For many individuals, the sudden and forced change of routines and activities can be challenging. Here are some tips to help promote flexibility during this time:


  • Promote self-advocacy and self-determination skills in an effort to help individuals maintain a sense of control in their life. Get input from the individual when modifying and establishing alternative routines and activities. 
    • How can you support the individual to understand what alternatives are available during this time? 
    • How does the person you support express what they would prefer or be willing to try? 
  • Replicate as much of the individual's typical activities and routines, as possible.  For some additional support on modifying goals and routines check out yesterday's post here.  
  • Pair preferred items and activities with new routines and activities, as much as possible. 
    • What new routines and activities could you expose the individual to that is based on their preference and interests?
  • Add new activities or non-preferred tasks in small doses throughout the day. This could mean trying something for just a few seconds at first and slowly increasing the duration as the individual becomes more accustomed.
    • How long can the individual engage in a new activity without creating high levels of stress or anxiety?
    • Is there a way to do a certain activity by breaking up the component parts throughout the day?
  • Use visual supports to help individuals understand what to expect and what will happen next in an effort to reduce anxiety.
    • What visual means of communication would work best for the person you support?
    • What new and typical activities and routines would benefit from visual support strategies?
  • Develop new habits during this time that will supplant typical routines and activities. Following this instructional flow, you can assist the individual you support to work on new habits. 
    • What one new goal or habit has the individual been considering, but has not yet been tackled?
    • Can this new habit be linked to the new activities or routines identified as replacing the typical ones that cannot be completed at this time?


Are there other strategies or recommendations that have been effective for the participants you support? If so, let us know! Please send any suggestions or questions related to this email or requests for additional resources to