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Tips for Transition to School from a Therapy Setting for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder
MARCH 29, 2021
Transitions for children with ASD can present challenges in areas of social interaction/communication as well as with restrictive and repetitive behaviours. Changes can be particularly difficult for this population of individuals, so it is best to start planning for the transition as early as possible. When preparing for a major school transition, it is a good idea to collaborate with all key stakeholders who will be involved (e.g. school principal, supervising therapist, occupational therapist, instructor therapist, ASD Consultant, teachers, speech language pathologist, etc.). As a team, you can identify the strengths and needs of your child and develop a comprehensive transition plan.
Keep a binder of useful information regarding your child (e.g. list of mastered skills, progress reports, psychological assessments, medical reports)
Visit the Ministry of Education website to learn about special education services (e.g. IPRC, IEP) Ministry of Education
Remember to register at your home school
Visit the school’s website and learn about special education classrooms (speak to principal about entry criteria)
Find out how you can get involved in the school community
Have a list of questions ready to bring to meetings with your child’s therapist or school board staff
Establish best form of daily communication between home and school
Engage in regular communication with school board staff before, during, and after the transition
Use visuals in the home (e.g. schedules, calendars) to prepare your child to follow school routines
Practice transitions at home between activities (e.g. play time to homework, outdoor time to dinner)
Model dressing skills for your child to increase independence (e.g. taking coat on and off, putting on boots)
Provide opportunities for your child to communicate as much as possible (e.g. leaving out a needed item to complete an activity to encourage the child to ask)
Promote opportunities for play and social interaction (e.g. peers at the park, neighbours, siblings)
* Use visuals (e.g. First/Then Board, Task Analysis, Video Models) for extra support while practicing these skills
Visit the new school setting with your child (multiple times)
Show the child pictures or videos of the new school/teachers
Use a calendar to show your child when the transition will happen
Fontil, Laura; Gittens, Jalisa; Beaudoin, Emily; Sladeczek, Ingrid E., Barriers to and Facilitators of Successful Early School Transitions for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders and Other Developmental Disabilities: A Systematic Review, Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, (2020) 50: 1866-1881.
Larcombe, Tegan J.; Joosten, Annette V.; Cordier, Reinie; Vaz, Sharmila. Preparing Children with Autism for Transition to Mainstream School and Perspectives on Supporting Positive School Experiences. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, (2019) 49:3073–3088.
Marsh,Annabel; Spagnol, Vanessa; Grove, Rachel; Eapen, Valsamma. Transition to school for children with autism spectrum disorder: A systematic review. World Journal of Psychiatry. September (2017) 22; 7(3): 184-196.