Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Transitions, Transitions: Tis the Season to be Anxious, falalalalalalalala

Teachers and students alike are anxious at this time of year, planning for next year and beyond. As special educators, there are steps that we can take to decrease the overall anxiety of our students, and our colleagues, as the case may be.

How to transition into a new learning environment

-Expose your child to the new environment, before he or she is expected to remain independently
-Speak openly with your child, encouraging dialogue about new things
-Discuss expectations and rules of the new space
-Allow your child to explore the environment at his or her own pace
-Reinforce positive interactions with people, teaching materials, and toys
-Develop social stories which explain the new and unfamiliar routines and expectations; a new drive to school, a new route to walk, a new teacher and a new classroom.
-Allow a transition period, and don’t expect or require an easy transition; know that new environments can be overwhelming, and allow your child to feel whatever comes naturally.
-Pair the environment and instructors with fun, fun, fun. How can I successfully pair with a child?
 *Lots and LOTS of positive reinforcement: high 5s, hugs, tickles, fun activities and games, treats, special activities, trips to the park
*Establish trust in the relationship
*Establish consistent expectations and standards of behaviour
*Develop a rapport

Planing for a successful transition is an essential component of any thorough program; a transition plan is usually written by a special needs teacher, behaviour therapist or individual formally trained in the writing and application of a successful transition plans. For more information on how you can develop your own transition plan, or for information on professionals who can support the transition process, send us an email at

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