Simple Ways To Make End Of Year Transition Easier For Children With Autism

If there is one thing guaranteed to cause anxiety for young people with autism, it has to be end of year transition. Switching from a known classroom and known staff, to an unknown teacher, unknown staff and sometimes even unknown peers can be a challenge, but beginning the transition early is the best way to ease anxiety and ensure both a calm summer and a calm September.

For Those Staying In The Same School

  • Organise an early meeting (no later than May half term) with your child’s new teacher, to give you a chance to raise any worries or issues that you have.
  • Ask how the school plan to make sure your child becomes familiar with their new teacher as soon as possible, and question the possibility of swapping staff for an hour or two a week as early as possible to give lots of chance for exposure and familiarity to develop.
  • Some schools move the whole class up to their new class for the last week of school, which can lead to a much happier and less anxious summer holiday of wondering what will happen at the start of the new year. This is well worth suggesting if it isn’t something that your child’s school currently do.
  • If that isn’t possible arranging for your child to visit their new classroom and teacher for at least an hour each week during the last half term will help.
  • Ask for them to be shown where they will sit and who they will sit with prior to the end of the school year, and given a chance to talk to their new teacher about any anxieties they have about the move.
  • A visit to the toilets nearest their new classroom(s) and being shown where they will be able to leave their coats, bags and/ or lunch bags will also be really helpful in alleviating worries over the holidays.
  • Book a meeting in advance for the week prior to the end of term, to discuss any last minute questions.
  • It’s also worth asking whether there is any way you could have access to an email address that will be manned over the summer – just in case any unexpected questions arise. (N.B. this could be the email address of the school office, or that of your child’s new teacher – but please be aware that there are likely to be times when it will take a while to get an answer).

For Those Transferring To Different Schools

  • Organise an early meeting (no later than May half term) with your child’s new teacher, to give you a chance to raise any worries or issues that you have.
  • Where possible arrange a time for your child’s new teacher (or SENCO if it is a secondary transition) to come to their current setting to observe them. This can make a huge difference, as children often present very differently at times of transition, as knowing that this is not the norm can go a long way to reassuring a new school that the placement can work even if the start is challenging.
  • Ensure children get a chance to visit their new setting. This should include some time spent in the classroom with their new teacher and time to explore the building as a whole.
  • In an ideal world this should occur as several shorter initial visits, followed by at leas one full day being spent in the provision prior to the summer holidays.
  • If the child already knows other pupils at the school, or who will be going to school getting them together in the weeks prior to the move can help to alleviate worries about what will happen when they get there.
  • Ask for them to be shown where they will sit and who they will sit with prior to the end of the school year, and given a chance to talk to their new teacher about any anxieties they have about the move. For older children it can also be helpful for them to know who will be in their classes that they know already from primary school and to be given a copy of their timetable in advance so that they can picture what the day will look like.
  • Book a meeting in advance for the week prior to the end of term, to discuss any last minute questions.
  • It’s also worth asking whether there is any way you could have access to an email address that will be manned over the summer – just in case any unexpected questions arise. (N.B. this could be the email address of the school office, or that of your child’s new teacher – but please be aware that there are likely to be times when it will take a while to get an answer).

What Next?

We’re currently working on some very special workshops which will be held in our virtual classroom over the summer especially to prepare young people who are making the transition to secondary school in September. If you would like to be kept up to date about the launch please sign up below and we’ll keep you updated.

 

Leave a Reply

Your e-mail address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Talking Autism - Buy it now!
Did you know Talking Autism: Parenting Your Unique Child the book is now available to buy? Click here to find out more.
More  info