Cleanup, Reorganize and move on!
We survived!!! We survived the 2nd week of school. YES!! More importantly, my class survived the transition of temporarily moving to another classroom while repairs were made in our room. That's a big thing in the world of students with autism!! While all the students in my classroom are not on the autism spectrum, even the ones not on the spectrum often find solace in routine and revolt at change. Heck, even their teacher has issues at times!  Because of all this, transitions were an exceptionally BIG part of my life last week as I aimed to maintain schedules and ease the anxieties of 8 precious students.
People on the autism spectrum rely on predictability. When that measure of predictability isn't there, their anxiety level may increase, in turn effecting behaviors, making transitions that much harder.
There are many reasons individuals with ASD have difficulty with transitions. They may have difficulty understanding directions given to them. This may be because they have difficulty sequencing the information or processing all the steps given. They may have difficulty recognizing the subtle hints in the environment that tell others its time to transition such as (e.g. packing up, getting out lunches, the teacher is ending the lesson) and may not be prepared when it is time to move.
In addition, individuals with ASD have patterns of behaviors and often higher levels of anxiety during times of transitions.
No matter what the reason behind it, we as people teaching and caring for persons on the autism spectrum want to help them transition easier.
So how do we help them? Here are some suggestions I used last week. I just provided a few of the biggies. These are just a few things I did to make this room change smoother for my fantastic group of students! They were troopers!


1. Use Social Stories ®. Using Social Stories to help teach the predicted expectations in a situation can help ease anxieties. A very hard transition in my class is fire drills and Social Stories have been extremely helpful in teaching what is expected of the students and what is going to happen next. 

2. Use a timer to indicate how long something will last or how much time until the next change. I find that the visual timers are fantastic for individuals with ASD as I'm sure many of you have also. There are many types out there now. For the most part I'm "loyal" to the original Visual Timer, but I'm also experimenting with several timer apps at the moment. 
On the left you see a screen shot of the Visual Timer app. I love this because its just as easy as the real one to set. One of the PROS I find with it is that kids love to watch it on the iPad or iPhone. 
On the right, is a picture of a visual timer. Both the app and the timer are so easy to use and are easily understood by students.

3. Using your visual schedules during times of transitions proved to be very critical in our changes last week. My visual schedules are on the chalkboards and are affixed by magnets.
Here you see our visual schedules almost packed up and ready to 
move to our temporary room.  
4. One of the things that is the most important to take is everybody's preferred items. If they need the favorite item in their normal room, they will definitely need it if the schedule/routine changes. Here you see one of my newest kiddos using his body sock.
So we took our iPads, body socks, Legos, fidgets, chew jewelry, stim toys and much more.

All in all it turned out so much better than I ever expected. It was worth the hauling of all the preferred items. Luckily we didn't have really far to go, but everyone had their preferred items, the same schedules, the same finished trays so they knew where to put their work and those that needed their specific chairs to sit in; well, we took those too. 

Its MARVELOUS MONDAY and one thing that helps transitions are Class Rules. Here is a basic set of class rules I've used in my classroom. 
Don't forget to also check out my friends at Manic Monday for the the goodies there!
Classroom Freebies Manic Monday