10 Practical Tips for Easier Transitions

When I was in college, I remember having to read tons of research articles. That, actually, is when I started drinking coffee! Staying up late at night in a hot campus library reading research led to falling asleep. (I couldn’t afford to make photocopies and personal computers were science fiction back then.) So,  I learned to drink coffee and it still keeps me going!

When clinic hours would start in the morning, I wondered why there were never any classes or articles giving us any practical information about what to do when the client sat down in front of us. Thank goodness there are bloggers and TpT now!

It turns out that reading research was a great way to get a strong background in the science, as well as a strong motivation to start to developing therapy materials, since very few commercial materials existed then. 

But I thought then, and agree now, that we all improve our therapy when we have a chance to learn practical techniques that can make managing our students and their behaviors a bit easier.

Clinically based, not necessarily yet evidence based, but that does not necessarily mean that that these ideas don’t work or are wrong.

Last post, I gave you 5 questions to ask yourself to start problem solving your students’ transition difficulties. Every student is different, so a framework for figuring it out is helpful.

It also helps to get some practical suggestions that you can try! While you are working on expanding communication skills, here are some adaptations in routines that I found to be helpful.

10 Practical Tips to Help Students Make Transitions

10 Practical Tips for Making Transitions


1. Use songs and clean up routines to give a heads up for transitions when working with little ones.

2. Have young students bring a preferred object from the classroom with them.

3. Have the teacher give a heads up verbally or with their visual schedule to students a few minutes before the session is to start.

4. See if the teacher will try having students finish the current activity and sit in a waiting chair to be ready to transition.

5. Stop by on the way back with the prior student to wave and say you are next, giving them a little warning.

6. Use your photo on their schedule instead of a generic speech symbol.

7. Use a token board, just for transitioning, that lets them choose a preferred short activity when they arrive successfully.

8. Always start and end with a preferred activity to make the speech room a very preferred place.

9. Wait until they complete the current activity in the room before making a request to leave.

10. Show up to get the child with a preferred activity (or a visual for the first activity) to let them see what they will be doing first.

What else have you tried that worked?
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