Transitions Your Child Will Need to Handle
Are your children able to transition and change from one location in the school to another? That could be going to the bathroom, library with the class or even to the lunchroom. Some of these can be intimidating to our children! And are these transitions done “according to the rules” of the class/ school? To get to the cafeteria, your child will need to get her lunch, walk in line with her lunch with hands to self, get to the cafeteria table, sit down & eat lunch, and then be able to clean up …. only to do this in reverse to get back to the classroom. If your child cannot do this, he may need some assistance – either verbally or with an adult in proximity to him – to be able to accomplish this. This should be written in the IEP as a goal and phased out as he masters this goal.
The transition from one grade to the next can be terrifying for our children. They have just gotten familiar to the routine of one grade and the friends they have made, and now it’s time to leave for the summer and advance to the next grade. Everything is going to change for your child! This may take a lot of preparation from you with your child so that the event does not distress your child. Your child needs to be able to enter the next grade and be ready to accomplish all the goals and standards that are set out by the district (for curriculum) and in their IEP. Parents can be supportive and positive so that your child sees that you are excited for them to move to the next grade.
Transitions happen from elementary to middle school and again from middle school to high school. For a child with an IEP in Florida, transition planning starts at age 14/15 or 8th grade.2 That means that according to the FL statutes, your child is actually “invited” to their IEP meeting. (Reference the July/August edition of Parenting Special Needs Magazine for a discussion on your child’s attendance at their IEP meeting at an earlier age). At this meeting, your child’s wishes for transition after high school should be advocated for, either by her or by you. This path will lead your child to further education (either in school until their 22nd birthday or onto college) or employment (possibly thru vocational rehabilitation). In all of these transitions, parent support and participation is essential for the success of your child.
Doreen Franklin is a Special Education Consultant & Private Tutor. She assists families with children with special needs with their IEPs. Doreen & her husband adopted two daughters; both are special needs. Doreen homeschooled their older daughter and tutors children privately.