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Six Easy Methods to Smooth Transitions

I had the opportunity to spend the past three weeks back in the saddle – teaching to my heart’s content. It was a fun experience, and even after over thirty years of teaching, I managed to learn something every day.

The day you quit learning from your students is the day you should retire.

Our kids are a little different than most. They get hung up on things like transitions and what’s coming next and when is lunch!!!

As I was enjoying the lesson I put together on Ancient Egypt and watched in awe as these kids who can barely write made beautiful, detailed hieroglyphics, sweet, sweet, Carlos, who’s on the spectrum, kept grumbling that he hadn’t finished his math yet.

Visual timers like this can help kids who struggle with transitions.

Transitions are hard for him. They’re hard for most of our kids. They’re especially hard for kids on the spectrum, who seem to lock into something more than most, especially if they’re enjoying it.

Following is a list of six easy things I came up with to help your child move through different subjects or activities.

  1. This one is obvious, but these kids need a warning before going on to the next activity. Let them know what’s coming next. “We have five minutes of math and then we’ll do social studies,” goes far with them.

  2. Have a clear schedule and routine for them. This can be hard, but if they know what to expect each day, then they don’t dig in their heels as much when it’s time to do something different.

  3. Teach these kids to tell time and have lots of clocks available for their view. I took it upon myself to make sure every one of our students knew how to tell time on an analog clock to the nearest minute. Yes, this took about a week, but it helped them a lot when it came to transitions. They knew the schedule and could budget time if necessary.

  4. If a student has dug in his/her heels, give clear consequences for not switching activities easily. Make sure the consequences are realistic, of course. Then, be sure to follow through if the student chooses not to move on to the new activity.

  5. Use a visual timer to help the student budget time.

  6. Praise, praise, and praise some more when transitions are smooth. Kids need to hear when they do something right, especially kids on the spectrum.

I’m busy getting all my other tasks completed that didn’t get done when I was teaching – like blogging – but my three weeks back in the saddle made me think that I haven’t been spending enough time teaching. After, that’s what I set out to do so long ago! I’ve promised to not let years slip by again without stepping into a classroom.

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