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Why transitions are tricky for some and not for others!

Transitions are a movement or change from one thing to another – it describes the process through which people move through change.

Transitions come in all shapes and sizes, and for many of us, seem quite insignificant in the big scheme of things. But for those who require daily structure and routine and the security of knowing what lies ahead, preparation and preplanning of change is a necessity.

Some transitions can appear to be quite minor, but are relative to each individual’s past experiences and daily levels of anxiety. How a person manages a transition however big or small will depend on how their day is travelling and the amount of transitions they’ve had to endure (particularly when there have been unexpected changes).

Sometimes there will be unexpected changes in routine and most of the time these are unavoidable – they can be planned for on a visual schedule by using pictures or words that signify the possibility of change or an adjustment so that the person has pre warning that something is going to be different (even though they are unaware of the specifics of the change). It is also useful to practise using the scheduled change so that it becomes more of a natural occurrence.

The use of pictures/symbols or words will help show that something is going to be different, for example, the use of a ‘question mark’ in our sample visual schedule (see below)

Sample visual schedule of activities for a young person – the question mark signifies something different

For a transition to run smoothly, it is necessary and beneficial to provide some form of visual support to assist the person to manage the changes during their day.

Please comment any successes (or challenges) you’ve experienced with transitions and planning for change! 🙂

Written by Sherri Cincotta


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