Tips From An ABA Therapist: How To Know If Your Child Is Ready To Transition To School

This article was submitted by one of our ABA therapists Victoria and has been edited for style and readability. 

Starting school is a big step and could be stressful for many parents and their children, alike. For children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (or ASD) this transition could be even more challenging. Having to deal with a new environment, new people, and new schedule is often problematic for first-time students. How do we prepare them? With tips from an ABA therapist on how to know if your child is ready to transition to school.

It's important to focus on two major areas when it comes to the transitioning process. The first being working on skills that a child needs to have in order to be successful in school and what techniques we can use to make that transition a smoother one. Family members and ABA therapists should begin the transitioning process at preschool age by evaluating a child’s strengths and weaknesses in areas of emotional, behavioral, social, academic and independent skills.


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There are a few questions you need to consider before transitioning your little one to school for the first time. Is your child ready to sit and pay attention to a lesson for 15 minutes? Are they ready to answer questions and follow group directions? Are the able to effectively greet their peers? Can they use the restroom and eat, without assistance?

Other crucial skills to functioning in a group setting include: responding to one's name, understanding and following multistep group directions, paying attention during an activity and the ability to work independently or in a small group.

So what techniques can be used to ease the process and prepare your child?

You can start with establishing and teaching a new routine and schedule. Introduce a calendar and start to count down the days until the first day of school. You can visit the new school and take pictures of what their new setting will be. Continue the process by introducing new materials that are typically seen and used in a school setting.

If possible, try meeting some of your child's potential new classmates prior to the first day of school in order to help your little one make friends and get them more comfortable in a new social environment. You can also try creating a social story like “Going to School” and read it few times a day so that your child gets used to their potential new surroundings. Another idea is teaching them new rules and start practicing with them at home.

These are only a few little tips that will ease their transition!

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