Starting a new school
Starting secondary school or any new school can be both exciting and challenging. Planning, preparation and communication between home and school can make the transition successful.
The most important strategy that can contribute to facilitating a successful transition is PLANNING. (Transition Powerpoint)
- Gradually introduce the school to the teenager. For example:
- Some schools have introductory videos of the school online
- Some schools provide introductory meetings to help the teenager with autism get to know the school environment and meet new teachers. (Some schools may help facilitate introductory meetings and may allow the teenager to take photos of classrooms, assembly halls etc. to familiarise with the school before they start).
- An example of a good introductory school video: Coláiste Cholmcille, Ballyshannon, Co. Donegal video
- Create a student passport which details a profile of the teenager with autism. It can describe strengths and areas of difficulty, likes and dislikes, and any other information that you think new teachers will find useful.
- Plan the route/ journey/ transport to school and practice the journey with the teenager, allowing alternative pathways to take account of road diversions.
- Create a School Portfolio about starting school or a visual storybook with photos of the school, classroom and new teacher (This is like a passport of the school, detailing who everyone is, a school map, expectations, uniform, behaviours etc). This can help with understanding what to expect – and what other people will expect the teenager to do.
- A countdown calendar to the day the teenager is due to start school can help reduce anxiety about when it will happen for some teenagers with autism.
- Have a Transition Plan.