3 Keys To A Successful School Transition

1. Write a social story

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Have you ever been invited to an event for which you have no idea of what to expect?  “What should I wear?? ... is it casual, semi-formal or formal dress?  Is it for dinner?  Are we expected to bring something? Who will be there?”  These types of situations can cause a degree of uncertainty and anxiety.  If these questions get answered prior to attending the event, the knowledge helps to reduce the level of anxiety.

In a similar manner, some of our children perceive school as a big event for which they have lots of questions.  A social story gives your child knowledge about ‘the big event.’ The purpose is to reduce uncertainty and anxiety in order for your child to be successful in regulating his emotions.

It becomes a fun interactive occasion when you have your child ‘illustrate’ the pages of your book. Although the pictures may lack the form of what they are representing, you and your child know what they are!

Remember to read your book on a daily basis, but most of all, ‘Have fun!”

You can read through our social story below. If you would like a copy just send us your email and we will send you the PDF.  

If you would like us to email you a copy of the social story just send us your email here. 

2. Be attuned to your child’s sensory needs.

As individuals, we all have differences that are reflected in our sensory nervous system. Sights, sounds, touch, and scents all impact us in different ways. You may be quite okay in response to loud noises, but be very sensitive to touch. Wool may be a material that is never seen in your wardrobe!

Children, as well, have individual differences in terms of their sensory nervous system. Perhaps your child becomes anxious in situations where there is a lot of noise and people.  If this is the case, you may want to bring your child to school at a time that bypasses the ‘busyness’ and noise, which is common when the children first arrive. You may find that your teacher is completely open to your child arriving a little early, or a little after, the early morning hustle and bustle.

If your child is extremely sensitive to touch, standing/walking in a line may be challenging to your child as they move through the hallways. Perhaps your child could routinely be placed at the end of the line.  In this placement, your child would have a lot more control over inadvertent touch. He has the ability to place himself at a distance where he can avoid bumping into the child in front of him, and of course, there is no one behind him.

3. Organize his lunch box.

It came to my attention that some of our children became quite upset when they weren't allowed to eat certain food items for recess but were told to keep food items in their lunch box until lunchtime.  A child may have difficulty understanding time concepts, especially in the heat of the moment, when he is being told that he can’t eat his chocolate pudding, but needs to return it to his lunch box for ‘later’!

If your child is already acquainted with eating items from his lunch box at two different times, this will not be an issue.  If however, your child’s lunchbox has only housed food items for one occasion per day, you may want to be proactive and take steps to avoid your child becoming unnecessarily upset. 

One idea is to package your child’s recess items separately from his lunch items.  If you are using brown paper bags, have fun with your child colouring the bag in a manner that differentiates the two activities. The same lunch box could be used, but your child knows which bag to take out at recess time.

Please remember that these are only suggestions.  It has been my experience that suggestions often need to be tweaked for each child.  This is just a lovely reminder that our children are all unique!

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