Transitions are difficult for many students with autism. Elopement in autism and wandering with in the classroom is real for many students. Clarifying time limits and clearly showing expectations can help. Many times visual supports offer an additional source of input and remain there long after words have been spoken. This helps many students with language challenges to be able to process the message better. With students who are autistic transitions for sure can be hard. But, some students are helped just by seeing when time is almost up for an activity or just by seeing what the expectations are for that activity. This is used to hopefully decrease elopment in autism support classes. If you find that you need to instruct students in the area of transitions, try some of these ideas:
- Clarify time limits and expectations using a visual count down board.
- Make a simple contract with a “First, Then” board.
- Help students tolerate unfavorable activities with the help of a transition bin.
- Use a poster to remind your staff team to verbally state when a transition will occur.
- Show a topic board with the various activities that will occur during the lesson to help students know when the lesson will be over.
- Use visual supports (see more here) and concrete access to preferred items during transitions.
- Develop more in-depth and individually targeted strategies for students who may need them. For example, specific strategies to decrease elopment in an autism support classroom or to help a student who needs a schedule that is broken down into even smaller chunks.
- For students who are autistic transitions can be pre-planned by the adults in the room to attempt to make the transitions run smoother.