TRANSITIONS IN PRIMARY SCHOOL
To lessen anxieties around transitions
- Breaking transition down into small, manageable steps.
- Creating a book with pictures of the staff and areas around the school for the young person.
- Providing a schedule for the young person to refer to can reduce anxiety. This may include using (according to individual need):
- Objects of reference (e.g. a beanbag to signify and take to PE. Make sure there is a place to put this on arrival.)
- Picture symbols
- Daily schedules/timetables
- Route maps
- Social Stories
- Prompt cards
- Timers /Stopwatches
- Countdowns to signify the end of activities.
- Visual cues to help understand specific areas and routines around the classroom.
- Incorporating opportunities to practise changes within their schedule/timetable to develop resilience to unexpected change across the day by using a symbol to identify “change” or “surprise” to develop an understanding with the pupil that change can occur and it can be OK. Moving around 'work stations' for planned, activities on the classroom schedule provides practice in transitions.
- Entering an area earlier before noise builds up (e.g. lunch hall, assembly) as some children might find it hard to cope with loud noise Gradually build up time in the noisier area with a calm and quiet activity afterwards.
- Making transitions predictable. This helps pupils with autism feel more secure e.g.:
- Provide warning before activities end - 5 minute, 1 minute, countdown from 10
- Use timers
- Cross off activity, turn over visual on schedule, or place in 'finished' pocket to acknowledge 'the end' and aware of move to next item on schedule, timetable
- Provide learners with unambiguous, concrete information about:
- Where they have to be
- Who will be there
- Where they will sit/stand
- What they will be doing
- How much they have to do
- How they will know when they are finished
- What they will be doing next
- What behaviour is expected
- “What if?” scenarios (preparation for the unexpected)
- Gradually introducing and increasing length of time on an activity to a child who has difficulty with e.g. the smell of cooking or that involve getting messy hands
Article:Transitions without tantrums, Pat Crissey Autism Asperger’s Digest