Transitions. A word that fills every parent of an autistic child with dread. They know the nightmare that can ensue when they want that child to move from one activity to another.
There is no best formula for you can do transitions.
You just have to try whatever has worked in the past and if it doesn’t work, see what else you can add in to try and ease the transition for them. Some children respond better to timing, while others need to be told there are these many activities before this transition comes.
Sometimes, no matter what you do, if the child on the spectrum is really struggling, they will not respond in a good way. I know that when Johnathan reacts badly, it’s not because of me, but because of the fact that he is finding the day really difficult.
However, often what they do or say can impact you in a bad manner.
I try so hard to remember that it is Johnathan who is having a bad day and that I am just the recipient of the problem he is struggling with. Sometimes you know what has caused the problem – like maybe they are tired, or hungry or frustrated or overwhelmed with sensory issues and just can’t handle what is going on.
When you have an understanding of what they struggle with it is much easier for you to deal with. If you know there is a situation they will find hard to cope with, you can find things that will help them go from one activity to another with less stress on them and their system.
If it is big transitions, all you can do is prepare them as much as is possible.
Give them the tools they need to be able to handle things in as easy away as you can. Explain to any others that could be dealing with them the things that will help and support them through this big change in the best way possible.
Transitions for a child on the spectrum are never easy. They find it difficult, but we as caregivers are the advocates for our children and if it means doing things that are hard for us, we will for their sakes because we love them.
Love is the motivator that will help us try and make things as easy as possible for them.
On learning to handle smaller transitions, the bigger ones will become easier, too. We love our children and want to do the best we can for them, so take courage and try again, because we are the people that stand up for them day after day and are their safe place and the ones they rely on.