Helping children transition throughout the day can be an important part of making them successful. Many students with communication disorders also have an autism spectrum disorder, ADHD or sensory processing disorder that make transitions especially difficult.
Sometimes getting to the speech office (or desk or hallway) is the hardest part of the day. Here is a quick list of some of my favorite strategies to transition a student.
- Prime the child for what will happen next (where are you going and for how long)
- Give warnings (1 more minute)
- Avoid using words and use visual/tactile cues
- Use a song or chant for transitions (clean up song or make one up about speech)
- Make a movie of other kids transitioning as a model.
- Use a social story about coming to speech
- Use a picture card to indicate it is time for speech.
- Use auditory or visual signals to indicate that it’s time to move to the next activity.
- Use a time timer
- Define boundaries and the physical where you want a child to be
- Allow the child plenty of time to transition
- Believe the child will be succesful
- Use a transition item. Let them keep one item from the activity they are working on (for example, bring one car with them. I have them keep it in their pocket during speech)
- Use a visual schedule for the day
- Teach transition words
- When making changes to the schedule, make some of them very good things so change becomes a positive thing.
- Make the end obvious
- Be aware of signs of stress
- Create a visual schedule for speech time
- Bring the big guns. The big guns are what ever new fancy light up musical toy you have that will so enticing the kids are begging to come with you to speech.
Transitions can be difficult but utilizing strategies to make them less stressful can be the different between a great session and one that never gets off the ground. It takes some practice, getting to know your student, and gut feelings for when to use each strategy. My best strategy is the last one I listed. If I can bring something so fun and amazing that the kids are begging to come to speech it removes the opportunity for a power struggle. Once I get them at my table, I can transition to other work to do with that special toy as the reward at the end of the session.
Do you have a favorite transition strategy that wasn’t listed? I’d love to hear about it! Leave a comment below.
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