Monday, March 15, 2010

5 Transition Tips for Managing a Child with Autism's Day

It’s no secret that people on the autism spectrum don’t like change. So how can we help people with autism manage changes in their schedules and transitions? There are a few techniques that when used consistently can help reduce anxiety and give a sense of predictability to transitions.

Here are five transition tips to help your special child.

1. Create a Visual Picture Schedule
A schedule can be a written list of activities the child will participate in during the day, a sequence of pictures or both. Schedules help a child to prepare for the transition by allowing them to see the upcoming activity and understand the sequence of activities that will occur. Research has shown that consistently using schedules decreases transition time and melt downs.

2. Show Activities as Finished
Allowing the child with autism to assist in designating an activity as finished can help them prepare for the transition. If using a picture schedule have a finished pocket for the child to place the picture of the activity they completed in. Laminate schedules with a box next to each picture that the student can check off as complete. Write out the schedule and allow the child to cross each item off as it is completed.

3. Use a Visual Timer
Time is an abstract concept that can be difficult for people with autism to understand. Using a timer gives children a visual of how much time is left before a transition. It can also help to keep some kids on task for projects they don’t like, because they can see it has an end. Some timers, like the Time Timer give an additional visual of the countdown of time.

4. Allow adequate time for the transition.
No one likes to be rushed. Especially with new routines at school allow adequate time for the child with autism to process the transition and move on to the next activity.

5. Provide a transition object.
Sometimes carrying a familiar object through each transition can add a sense of predictability and comfort to the transition. The child either can keep the object with them throughout the day, or go get the object after they have finished a project to move with them to the next activity.

If you have some other transition tips please share!


farmwifetwo said...

They (ABA/IBI etc) tried to get us to do that too and I threw it out.

I know too many people with autistic teenagers that can barely function without meltdown the moment there's change to know it's completely inappropriate.

When #2 was dx'd I discussed it with the Dev Ped.. should I do this instead... she said "NO". That school/daycare would do enough damage for me... and they did... not to do it at home.

Not that we don't discuss first/then if there's something we're doing... but atleast I can change midstride, explain why... and we move forward with a mininum of fuss.

Eldest is a clock watcher.. everytime he does... I mess with the clock.... Supper at 6... oops... 5:45, 6:15 etc.

Chynna said...

Excellent tips, Bonnie. I'm going to link this post to my "Transitional Tuesdays" segment (which was yesterday but hopefully no one will notice. LOL!!)