Autistic pupils can find everyday transitions difficult, as well as the major transitions that happen. The reasons can include:
- Not being told what the change will involve,
- What will be expected of them,
- How long it's going to last,
- Perceived or real sensory challenges,
- Not being given time enough to process the changes or enough information to do so
- Being so engrossed and comfortable in what they are doing that they cannot seem to switch attention and move to somewhere else,
Transitions can cause a lot of anxiety.
If you're involved in supporting children with every day transitions and often a visual timetable used correctly (see my blog post here) can help enormously and give the pupil some interaction and choices when appropriate. Giving them time to process and information about what to expect is important. An example is a child who hated lining up because he didn't know where he was going. He did everything he can to avoid lining up, such as hitting others in the hope he'd be made to stay behind. For him, we worked with him to ask "Where are we going?"; So he didn't have to rely on an adult telling him, and the behaviours ceased.
But what about the major transition of moving to the next class or from Primary to Secondary School...