Instagram Facebook Twitter YouTube LinkedIn

Getting a Grip on Transitions and Change: Help for Autistic Children

Autistic children struggle with transition and change, which can lead to more difficulty with acquiring new skills and learning healthy social interactions.

It’s impossible to avoid changes in our daily activities. Providing an environment that’s predictable and routine is ideal, and we can help autistic children to learn functional routines as well as novel events.

With visual strategies, we can help the autistic child to adapt to a variety of common situations encountered at home, in school, and with peers. Other unpredictable changes that occur due to weather, scheduling, human error, as well as novel settings and peer interaction can also be introduced.

Visual strategies are an excellent way to introduce new routine activities as well as prepare for unpredictability and can include story cards, video instruction, picture schedules, and activity “road maps.” When possible, previewing an event with children will prime them for the upcoming transition. This can work for any upcoming event, such as a fire drill, staff absence, visiting a friend, or taking a trip.

Marvel and Friends: Transitions and Change demonstrates a variety of everyday situations for children, helping them to understand how to handle each one with visual cues. Children enact each scenario, and animated characters Marvel the dog, and his friends Mandy and Mikey, replay the scene using flashcards.

The “look,” “listen,” and “stay calm” flashcards give children visual supports to help them transition and improve their expectations and understanding of events. Rather than feel stressed, anxious, or confused, visual supports help them respond effectively.

Whether you’re preparing for a new babysitter, eating out at a different restaurant, or canceling recess, you can help children to prepare for transition and change.

For more ideas, check out National Autism Resources’ five tips for helping autistic children with change.