Transitions and Related Behaviors
TRANSITIONS AND BEHAVIORS RELATED TO THEM:
If transitions and behaviors are a problem there may be a possible need for a picture schedule with a sensory diet, with activities for the day and what order they come so that student knows that unstructured activities, such as TV watching, are limited to a certain amount of time. What is expected next, such as going outside, to the store, or school times, should be stabilized, so that they will know and have a reminder other than verbal cues of what transitions are coming.
- Visual reminders can be as simple as a picture of activities, a word, or an object representing each transition. Using a timer like an egg timer can help when working on structured tasks, so that the student understands that when the timer goes off, then they can play. You can reset the timer again to show how long they have to play before the next transition.
- May need to combine verbal choices when a student is upset with the actual object or pictures of objects. Often when a child is upset they cannot tell you what is wrong and if they have another option other than a verbal response then they may be able to tell you what they want by pointing to a picture or taking the object that represents the picture. If it is something that you cannot give her at that moment then you can show pictures saying, This now, then...what they want.
- Remember to have a picture list or a written list of calming sensory activities for them to choose from when they are upset. Put in a central location in the home and classroom that they can go to and choose from while upset. If they are not able to do this, then give them the choice of two activities (usually linear swinging and brushing and joint compressions are the most calming).
- If new places are difficult and stressful, record the sounds and video tape that place before they have to go there, and play the tapes at home or in the car for several weeks before they have to be there. This works great before they transition to a new classroom, therapy room with children playing in it, basketball games, gym, and other new and possibly stressful environments. Playing these tapes at home for a few hours a day may help them integrate and become more accustomed to the new environment. May need to do this for many weeks prior to a new stressful task.
*Adapt the environment as needed to create a calming learning environment.
** Remember to brush and joint compress and swing before going to this stressful environment, and wear a weighted vest, pressure vest, and ear muffs if necessary to prevent a meltdown.