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Ask the Right Questions – How to Prepare For Your Child’s Transition to School

Are you getting ready for your child to transition to school in September? There are a number of steps that you can take to set your child up for success well before school starts. It’s never to early to start planning. The first step is to set up a meeting with the team of school staff that will be involved in your child’s school life (e.g., principal, relevant school board members, teacher). Once you’ve got a meeting date confirmed, write down a list of your child’s strengths and needs to help the school get to know your child. You may even want to ask other professionals who have been working with your child (e.g., BCBAs, SLPs, OTs) to help you with this. Then write down questions that you want covered at the meeting. You may want to create an agenda with the school ahead of time to ensure that there is enough time to cover all of your questions. Here are some suggested questions that you could consider to help you get started:

– What type of support will be offered to my child at school (e.g., will my child get access to an educational assistant, will my child get access to tools that (s)he may require [e.g., visual schedule, computer for some activities])?

– What steps will be taken to ensure proper placement and adjust the curriculum to suit my child’s needs (e.g., IPRC meeting, developing the IEP)? How will you (the parent/caregiver) be involved in this process?

– What type of experience does the school have in working with students who have special needs and specifically autism?

– When your child first starts school, is the school willing to adjust the number of hours per day that your child attends (if necessary) and slowly increase these hours? Can this transition be based on how (s)he performance at school instead of a strict timeline?

– Will there be any opportunities to teach the other children about your child (e.g., how (s)he communicates, how the other children can play with him/her?)

– Is the school open to meeting with other professionals that have worked with your child (e.g., BCBAs, SLPs, OTs) to share strategies that have been effective for him/her?

– Is your child able to access support from professionals from the board if necessary (e.g., SLP, OT, members of an autism team)?

– Does the school have suggestions of things that you can do before school starts to prepare him/her (e.g., school visit, creating a social story with pictures of the school, classroom, classroom teacher, teaching certain school readiness skills during ABA time)?

– If your child requires an augmentative communication system (e.g., PECS, sign), how will this be implemented at school?

– Is the school open to a modified schedule if your child is receiving IBI?

– Can you set-up meeting(s) before the school year begins to develop an in depth transition plan for your child (e.g., outline number of hours per day that your child will attend to start with, develop a plan for dealing with challenging behaviour (if necessary), supports for toileting (if necessary), discuss the use of augmentative communication systems (if necessary)?

Working together with your school board and planning ahead of time will help to set your child up for success! Looking for more steps in setting your child up for successful transitions? We can help! Contact us at or 416-901-8478, today!

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