Transitions for children with autism.

We all like routines in our daily lives. It helps us to feel in control and feel secure. Any kind of change throws us off. We as adults are better equipped to handle the changes to our daily routine. It is a very well known fact transition or any kind of changes in daily routine is very stressful for children on the spectrum as they love a structure. It helps them feel secure and in control to know what's going to happen in their day.

There are certain things we can do to ease the transitions for children with autism. Visual schedules are a very good transition strategy for children with autism. This helps them to know how their day will be and what will come next. This helps them to be better prepared as they know what to expect. It helps them to remain calm as unstructured time can be very hard for these children.

We all like to engage in preferred activities of our choice but for children with autism transitioning from a preferred activity to a nonpreferred activity can be very challenging. First and Then boards are a good tool to use with children with autism so they know once they do a particular task or activity they will be getting a reward or a reinforcer after completion of the activity. It can be a chance to play with an iPad as all children are motivated by it but specifically it is very motivating for kids with autism.
They can also get tokens during an activity and then exchange it to get access to a preferred activity or food items.

Social Stories is another good tool that can be used with kids with autism. The winter break is coming. The schools will be closed for a week or 10 days. As we know our kids thrive on a routine this break can be challenging for them. Social stories are a very handy tool to let the children know what to expect during the break. Many families of kids on the spectrum also travel during the break so having a social story about traveling on an airplane can be an excellent tool for this. Our son's teacher prepared a social story for Aarian. We start reading the story to him a few days before we travel to better prepare him for travel.

It is always beneficial to keep consistency in our daily routines. It helps the child feel more secure and be less anxious. In the case of our son one thing which always helped us was to give him an advance warning as to what was coming and to give him enough time. We never rushed him into a new activity. Aarian has a high level of sensory needs so transitioning from one environment to another was hard sometimes for him. There was a sensory activity schedule that was put in place at school and home to help him with this,.

The use of the above strategies can help children with autism to cope with transitions in a better way thereby reducing problem behavior. It will help them to deal with changes in a less stressful way.


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