What are transitions?
Change is often difficult for many people on the autism spectrum. This is due in part because of difficulty in flexibility of thought, and anxiety linked to the unknown, common in many people with autism. People on the autism spectrum have difficulties in predicting what might happen in a new setting so often prefer to stick with what is familiar.
In terms of transitions within education, it can be a challenging time for everyone, whether we have positive expectations and look forward to making a change, or perhaps feeling worried, nervous or even frightened. Because of challenges in processing the environment, and preference for predictability, transitions can promote high levels of anxiety in pupils with autism. It can be very difficult for some pupils to imagine what might happen next and may result in unusual behaviours or responses. Staff, pupils and parents need clear information about transitions and any support requirements.
There are numerous types of transition that occur throughout the day, the school term, the year and across the lifespan. It is not always the major transitions that have the most impact on pupils on the spectrum but all need to be considered and planned for where possible. At the very least, coping with transition needs to be recognised as a potential for increase in stress for pupils and their families. Transitions should be planned well in advance and suggestions below might be implemented over months, or in transition from primary to secondary, secondary to future destinations, over a year.
Preparation for Transition
This guide aims to help by bringing together some of the main issues that parents and young people need to think about. It is written for parents with children around the age of 14 as this is the age when planning for this transition process should normally begin.
Scottish Transitions Forum
The Scottish Transitions Forum website offers an information resource and membership platform dedicated to improving the area of life transitions. We focus on leaving school/college to rest of life planning.
The Scottish Transitions Forum is for cross sector professionals or individuals who may want to explore these difficulties and solutions to them.
AET Transition Toolkit
This toolkit is a summary of common issues surrounding transition for young people on the autism spectrum, as well as a guide to the considerations that should be taken by those supporting them. We offer some practical strategies to support transition periods as well as provide a list of useful links to other organisations and support materials. Please note it references the English rather than Scottish system.
CnES Transition Planning Guidelines
This guidance focuses on the Transition Plan that requires to be in place for children in secondary school with additional support needs, and the timely engagement and involvement of Social and Community Services Department; in particular, the Community Care Team and Adult Services.
Western Isles Foyer Project
Western Isles Foyer was initially established in 2003 and the project initially provided a supported accommodation service. We continue to provide this service but expanded our support remit in 2011 to provide a drop-in service, deliver independent living skills training and provide support and training to assist young people to move into/onto education, training or employment.
We support service users via our current range of service provision with the overall objective of assisting young people to move on to successfully sustaining their own tenancies and live independent and fulfilled lives and participate as active members of their local community.
Transitions and Self Directed Support
This report will set out the findings from a knowledge exchange project which focused on young people’s transition from school to adult life against the backdrop of the Social Care (Self-Directed Support)(Scotland) Act (2013). This project was undertaken by a consortium of five voluntary organisations and three local authorities, detailed more fully in the report. The knowledge exchange project ran from May 2014 until the summer of 2015.
LCC Introduction to Further Education
Introduction to Further Education is aimed at potential students who wish to gain qualifications to enter college courses but lack the skills, confidence or entry requirements. This is a general course for people who want to acquire or improve core, practical and employability skills.