Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Autism Disorders and Transition To and Through School: A Small Suggestion

Conor visiting and preparing for his transition from middle school to high school by 
visiting the grounds of the school and seeing the Leo Hayes High School building. 

I have commented on transition planning in the school system before and I don't know if what we did with our severely autistic, profoundly developmentally delayed son can be done under the new Department of Education and Early Childhood Development   policies   or the collective agreement negotiated by Finance Minister Higgs with CUPE Local 2745, the union representing aides.  The essence of what we did though was to show Conor what his next year would look like in advance of the changes.  When we were transitioning Conor to high school we took him for visits to Leo Hayes High School while he was still in middle school.  The aide who worked with him at middle school went with Conor for these meetings where he met his aides who would start with him at LHHS and faded out during some of the visits.  On weekends we simply took him to the school grounds to get used to seeing the school he would be at the next year.   We had done the same thing when Conor transitioned from Nashwaaksis Memorial (grade) School to Nashwaaksis Middle School.   

For some students with autism visits to their next school may, as it did with Conor, help reduce their anxiety about the transition.  


John Robb said...

This is solid advice. Jenna has been to her new school playground a few times already and is really enjoying the larger choice of equipment. It all comes down to making new things normal as quickly as possible. Lots of visits, lots of time to explore and become familiar with surroundings helps to keep anxiety in check.

Anonymous said...

Here in NYC Transition Planning - from put of the school system, must start when the student is 13 y.o., but usually is initiated much later, at 18 or older. This is a genuine disservice to EVERYONE. My daughter (Down's Syndrome) was involved in a program that started early, mixing academic with vocational and ADL lessons. They actually had their own house, and about once a week they'd spend the weekend, shopping for food... they also worked one day a week, and got paid. It was great. Nothing like that exists for guys like ours, and that is a real shame. Pragmatically, if the person isn't at all accustomed to being out of the home, a hospital stay can be sheer hell. And, parents often do things the kids are perfectly capable of doing themselves, but we're doing things the way we've always done them, cause it works.

Transition is a big thing, and really needs more attention.