Does your child have challenges transitioning from one activity to the next? How about from one schedule to the next, like commencing and participating in summer vacation and all of the new activities? If so, I have a few tips for you!!!!
Create a well illustrated story of the new event- (This will prepare him/her for the event)
1) Preplan – Well before you beging a a new schedule like camp or go on a vacation, think of the activity/activities in depth.
2) Write- Write down what will happen, clearly and step by step. When you write down these steps, be sure to use language that is similar that your child uses. If he/she only speaks with simple sentences or not at all, then use very short, simple 3-5 word sentences to describe what they will be doing at camp or on holiday (e.g., I will go camping; I am going to camp; I will go swimming; etc.). You can also create a title and even add your child in the pictures of the activities.
2) Illustrate – If you can, take real pictures of the activities that he/she will engage in to match the text you have written. You can also draw pictures yourself or even have your child draw the pictures him/herself. On each page of your story will be one picture with the one line of text.
3) Read/Discuss- For several weeks prior to leaving or beginning the new activity, read the book about it and discuss with your child that he/she will be going there. You can let them know how much fun this will be, talk about what they will do, and talk about when it will happen.
Take your child for visits to the new place (camp), prior to beginning the new program
Allowing him/her to see the venue where he/she will go can alleviate stress and therefore, behaviour. If he/she can meet staff prior to beginning, this can help too. Be sure to take pictures of him/her in different areas of the place he/she will be attending and also with different staff members he/she will meet! Be sure to do this several weeks prior to cemmencing the activity. Look at the pictures and discuss them with your child each night for several weeks prior to leaving.
Simply discuss the event several times prior to leaving and possibly show artifacts that provide a visual representation of things he/she may see
Create a positive energy about the upcoming holiday. Any discussion or opportunity to hold and touch something he/she may see can help.
Submitted by: Jill Topp, owner of this website and Speech-Language Pathologist