What Are Transition Difficulties?

  • Pipe-Cleaner-FlexibleTransitions involve novelty, and novelty involves adapting to new sensory information. Each time we enter a new environment, a new activity, a new demand, a new social situation, each and every one of us has to organize and integrate all the incoming sensory information across all 7 sensory systems. For some of us it is easier and more automatic than for others, frequently dependent upon optimal sensory processing. 
  • If transitions are difficult, visual reminders are extremely helpful. This can be as simple as a sequence of pictures, words or objects representing each transition. Using a visual time timer (red shows the amount of time left) is also helpful, so your child can begin to modulate the passage of time, and prepare him/her for the transition ahead.
  • All children benefit from routines, external organization, structure, and predictability.
  • Visual-TimerStart each morning with a visual outline of the schedule for the day, highlighting any changes that may be different. For younger children, shorter lengths of time will be beneficial. As the child completes a task, have him/her take the symbol off to indicate “all done.”
  • Discuss and/or write simple ‘social stories’ about how to handle unexpected events to help support adapting to change.





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