Making Transitions

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How can teachers help students make smooth transitions between activities?

Making Transitions

Transitions are especially difficult for children with autism. In order to help an autistic child transition smoothly from one activity to another a teacher may want to use a visual schedule. There are a number of ways to incorporate this into the classroom setting. Structure is very helpful in easing the stress that an autistic child feels during transitions. However, it is highly unlikely that a classroom will follow the same exact schedule each and every day. The child will still need some guidance to help him understand what to expect during special activities in the school setting. Some teachers choose to use a visual schedule that the entire classroom shares in certain grade levels. The schedule can be arranged in front of the classroom and the teacher references it between activities as part of the transitional process. Creating a social story is another approach that helps children with autism make transitions. Many older students benefit from scripting the events of the day. The child memorizes a story that helps him understand that he is supposed to get in line with the other students; that the teacher and classmates are pleased when he does so. Objects that are associated with certain transitions are very helpful in the process as well. The child knows that he will be expected to line up for the school bus after he gets his coat and backpack. A teacher may use a picture of the art teacher or a drawing as an object of transiting before art class.



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