Transitioning to another school

Transitioning from one school to another can be difficult for a student with autism. This may be further exacerbated by the new and unpredictable sensory stimulation in the new environment.  The key strategies listed below may reduce the anxiety around this transition.

  • Arrange a series of visits to the new school in the year before transition to allow the student to become familiar with the new setting.
  • Advise parents to introduce the new school uniform weeks before commencing in the new school and to gradually increase the amount of time the uniform is worn.
  • Invite staff from the new school to observe the student in the current school setting.  This will allow staff to become familiar with the student’s sensory needs and any required sensory resources, activities and environmental adaptations.
  • Share information about the student’s sensory needs with the new school well in advance of the transition:
    • Communication method used by the student to request a calm break or a sensory break.
    • Type of calm area the student requires.
    • Sensory resources used by the student e.g. calming resources, movement resources, tactile resources.
    • The activities which effectively regulate the student e.g. calming activities, movement activities, proprioceptive input.
    • The frequency with which the student requires calm breaks or sensory breaks during the day.
    • Activities and sensory input which may cause the student distress and anxiety e.g. the school bell, close proximity of others, certain smells.
    • Indicators that the student may be becoming distressed.
    • Input which is distractible for the student.
    • Environmental adaptations required e.g. screens, where the student should be positioned in the classroom.
    • The student’s preferred learning style- visual, tactile, movement, auditory.

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