1. Planning for Successful Transitions Across Grade LevelsBelow are suggestions for facilitating a smooth transition: Preparation for transition should begin early in the spring. Identify the homeroom teacher or general special educator who will have primary responsibility for the student. Involve the receiving teacher in the annual education plan process so they can learn about the student’s level of functioning. A meeting should be held to discuss relevant information, responsibilities and timelines for those involved. Exchange information about effective instructional strategies, needed modifications and adaptation, positive behavior support strategies and methods of communication. The receiving teacher may want to observe the child in his current classroom. Instructional assistants who will be involved in the student’s daily education should be identified, educated and informed about their role in the student’s education. Before entering a new school, work to alleviate any anxieties the student may have about the new setting. Provide student with a map of the school, list of activities, copy of her fall schedule and copy of handbook and rules. Schedule visits to the school and allow the student and family to meet staff, locate their locker and become familiar with the school culture. Identify key people or a mentor the student can contact if he is having a hard time adjusting or understanding a certain situation. Once in the school, identify peers who are willing to help the student with the transition to the new school. The student with autism may have a greater access to social opportunities with the support of a friend without a disability.Thinking about transition: When thinking about a transition, it is helpful to start with a list of questions for discussion. Here is an example list: o What does your child like to do? o What can your child do? o What does your child need to explore? o What does your child need to learn to reach his goal? o What transportation will your child use to get to school? Many people think of school as a curriculum, but having friends and sense of belonging is also important. Here are questions to address these areas: o Are supports needed to encourage friendship? o Do people in the school community know your son or daughter? o Are supports needed to structure time for recreation? Exercise?
2. o Does your child have any special interests that others might share, which could lead to participating in extracurricular activities? o Can you explore avenues for socializing with peers, such as religious affiliation or volunteer work?The transition process also should involve taking action. After identifying areas ofinterests and setting goals, take some steps to meet those goals. Each student shouldhave a personal plan that goes with their skills, preferences and abilities. Havingthree or four different experiences can be helpful in assessing a student’s desires andcapabilities while in school.*Information provided by ASA Autism Society of America