08 Mar Transitions
“The process or a period of changing from one state or condition to another.”
Let’s face it, transitions are hard. We do many things to avoid transitions. When we cannot avoid them, we prepare for them. While in the midst of a transition, we all exhibit many behaviours that express our internal state such as crying, and behaviours that keep us well-regulated during the transition such as going for a walk.
Some transitions have a huge impact on our lives, while others are part of daily routines. Regardless of the impact of the transition, transition cause us varying amounts of stress.
Life is a never-ending transition. Therefore, attempting to avoid or postpone them is never going to make transitions easier. In fact, it will make them much harder. The good news is we can make transitions easier – it is all in the prep.
At the Friend 2 Friend Play Centre we have a saying, “Prepare 100%, use 30%” This means we prepare as much as we can for every eventuality to ensure the children and youths that we support are successful. Even if we only use 30% of what we have prepared, we know we have done all we can.
If you are a parent of an individual with autism, think about all the transitions your child experiences in a single day. Are you preparing 100% for all those transitions?
Here are some transition strategies that may make transition easier for your child and you for you:
- Provide and review a visual schedule prior to the transition,
- Provide and review a Social Story® about the transition and / or the upcoming activity prior to the transition,
- Offer your child closed choices giving them a sense of control over the transition,
- Carry a transition object – holding a beloved object, phone, iPad etc will help distract your child during transitions lowering their anxiety
- Plan an exit strategy with your child – come up with a plan of action before they become dysregulated,
- Respect your child’s wishes – if your child puts on the breaks, slow down, listen and respect their needs.
While we cannot control all the transitions that we will face in our lives, we can prepare, prepare, prepare thus making those transitions a little smoother on ourselves and our children.