Transitions/Changes/Rigid Views and Inflexible Thinking

Struggles with transition from one place to another or one task to another.

 

  1. Prepare. Explain what will happen, how long it will take, what can be expected, what is expected of them and what others will be doing.

  2. Use Social Stories™ that describe a specific social situation that will be coming up.  They will usually include who will be there, what will happen, when it will happen, why it is happening and how it will happen e.g. cinema trip.  They may also include social rules and expectations.  This may include role play.

  3. Use Visual Schedules to add structure and predictability through preparation.  This may also involve sequence strips for tasks.

  4. Break the visual schedule down further into ‘Now’ and ‘Next’.

  5. Use timers/bell/alarm to indicate when a task is over.

  6. Warn before transitions happen, this may be with vocal warnings, timers, visuals if needed.

  7. Start transitions early so they can do this slowly and have more time to ‘shift gears’.

  8. When difficult transitions happen, give choices as this give them some control i.e. ‘It’s tidy up time, would you like me to help or would you like to do it on your own?’

  9. Explain why the transition is important i.e. ‘We need to tidy up so we can have lunch’.  You may also focus on upcoming enjoyable tasks ‘After lunch we will be able to play etc’.

  10. If they become upset listen to them, validate their feelings and explain that you understand.

  11. Use praise when they transition calmly.  If it was a hard transition emphasise that they managed it even though it was hard and they are ok now and they can do it calmly next time.

  12. If they have difficulty with transitions, you could use a reward system when they complete the transition calmly i.e. time with a preferred object, computer time etc.

  13. Having a bag of familiar items to touch or smell may help them remain calm during transitions.

 

Has difficulty shifting from one mindset to another.

 

  1. Model more than one way of doing things i.e. making food several different ways, different ways to make a picture.

  2. Model different ways of doing the same thing i.e. different ways to eat soup etc.

  3. Get them to take part in activities that require ‘shifting gears’ and ‘thinking things through’ i.e. tag, football.

 

May struggle if plans suddenly change, something doesn’t go to plan or expectations are not met.

 

  1. Having a bag of familiar items to touch or smell may help them remain calm when unexpected changes happen.

  2. Use Visual Schedules for ‘Now’ and ‘Next’, so any changes to routine can be prepared for.

  3. If using a Visual Schedule, have a ‘?’ or ‘surprise’ card for unexpected changes.  Make sure you use this card for positive changes, so that the card is not associated with negative changes only.

  4. Re-direct to a calming activity or use coping skills.

  5. Praise or use rewards when they have coped with a change.

 

May be inflexible to changes in routine and actively resists change.

 

  1. Prepare. Explain what will happen, how long it will take, what can be expected, what is expected of them and what others will be doing.

  2. Use Social Stories™ that describe a specific social situation that will be coming up.  They will usually include who will be there, what will happen, when it will happen, why it is happening and how it will happen e.g. cinema trip.  They may also include social rules and expectations.  This may include role play.

  3. If they are going somewhere new, you may want to show pictures, videos or visit beforehand so they are more familiar with the environment.

  4. Give them extra time before a change to prepare for the change.

  5. If they become upset listen to them, validate their feelings and explain that you understand.

  6. Having a bag of familiar items to touch or smell may help them remain calm during the change.

  7. Re-direct to a calming activity or use coping skills if they are resisting the change.

  8. Praise or use rewards when they have coped with a change.

 

Small changes may cause great anxiety i.e. school teacher off ill.

 

  1. Prepare if there are going to be any expected changes. Explain what will be happening, how long it will happen for, what can be expected, what is expected of them and what others will be doing.

  2. Visual supports may help to explain the change.

  3. Mark any important changes on a calendar (if appropriate).  This way you can count down to any important changes.

  4. Visual timetables during the change can help explain exactly what is happening.

  5. Having a bag of familiar items to touch or smell may help them remain calm when changes happen.

  6. Re-direct to a calming activity or use coping skills.

  7. Praise or use rewards when they have coped with a change.

 

May feel anxious in unfamiliar places or around unfamiliar people.

 

  1. If they are going somewhere new, show pictures, videos or visit beforehand so they are more familiar with the environment.

  2. Show photos of a new person so that they can become familiar with them.

  3. If they are meeting unfamiliar people it may be helpful to build up the time spent around them.  Start off with a few minutes and build this up over time.

  4. Having a bag of familiar items to touch or smell may help them remain calm.

  5. Re-direct to a calming activity or use coping skills.

 

Seeks to control activities and interactions.

 

  1. Prepare. Explain what will happen, how long it will take, what can be expected, what is expected of them and what others will be doing.

  2. Use Social Stories™ that describe a specific social situation that will be coming up.  They will usually include who will be there, what will happen, when it will happen, why it is happening and how it will happen e.g. cinema trip.  They may also include social rules and expectations.  This may include role play.

  3. Use Visual Schedules to add structure and predictability through preparation.  This may also involve sequence strips for tasks.

  4. Break the visual schedule down further into ‘Now’ and ‘Next’.

  5. When difficult transitions happen, give choices as this give them some control i.e. ‘It’s tidy up time, would you like me to help or would you like to do it on your own?’

  6. Explain why the transition is important i.e. ‘We need to tidy up so we can have lunch’.  You may also focus on upcoming enjoyable tasks ‘After lunch we will be able to play etc’.

  7. Give choices – Many individuals will benefit from having choices throughout the day to help them feel in control.  Limit these to two or four choices (depending on the individual) i.e. ‘Do you want pizza or pasta for tea’ ‘Do you want to wear a green shirt or red shirt’.

  8. Choices may be given using choice cards, where two visual cards are given to the individual to choose from.

 

May have black and white/concrete/literal thinking/rigid to one viewpoint.

 

  1. Teach different ways of doing things throughout the day to build flexibility.  For young children this could be different ways to play with a ball and for adults it could be discussing different routes to get somewhere.

  2. Teach more than one way to do and not just ‘right’ or ‘wrong’.   Discuss options; discuss the ‘pros’ and ‘cons’ of each option.   Focus on there being more than one ‘right’ way to do something.

 

Follows strict rules and routines.

 

  1. Social Stories™ may be used to teach social rules and situations where these may change or be inappropriate.  This may include role play.

  2. Teach different ways of doing things throughout the day to build flexibility.  For young children this could be different ways to play with a ball and for adults it could be discussing different routes to get somewhere.

  3. Teach more than one way to do and not just ‘right’ or ‘wrong’.   Discuss options; discuss the ‘pros’ and ‘cons’ of each option.   Focus on there being more than one ‘right’ way to do something.

  4. Model more than one way of doing things i.e. making food several different ways, different ways to make a picture.

  5. Model different ways of doing the same thing i.e. different ways to eat soup etc.

  6. Prepare if there are going to be any expected changes to routine. Explain what will be happening, how long it will happen for, what can be expected, what is expected of them and what others will be doing.

  7. Visual supports may help to explain the change.

  8. Mark any important changes in routine on a calendar (if appropriate).  This way you can count down to any important changes.

  9. Visual timetables during the change can help explain exactly what is happening.

  10. Use Visual Schedules for ‘Now’ and ‘Next’, so any changes to routine can be prepared for.

  11. If using a Visual Schedule, have a ‘?’ or ‘surprise’ card for unexpected changes.  Make sure you use this card for positive changes, so that the card is not associated with negative changes only.

 

May struggle with understanding ‘good enough’ thinking.  To them it is either right or wrong.

 

  1. Teach different ways of doing things throughout the day to build flexibility.  For young children this could be different ways to play with a ball and for adults it could be discussing different routes to get somewhere.

  2. Teach more than one way to do and not just ‘right’ or ‘wrong’.   Discuss options; discuss the ‘pros’ and ‘cons’ of each option.   Focus on there being more than one ‘right’ way to do something.

  3. Teach ‘good enough’ thinking when discussing the options available.  Discuss what would be ‘good enough’ and that it doesn’t have to be ‘perfect’.  Carry out the option until you reach ‘good enough’ and then stop.

  4. When the option is complete, review how it went and what was ‘good enough’.

 

May constantly talk about their preferred interests.

 

  1. Set time limits for talking about their preferred interests i.e. Three times a day for 20 minutes each time.

  2. Add time into schedule to discuss/talk about obsessive interests.

  3. Visual reminders of when they can talk about their preferred subjects and how long for.

  4. Use a timer to demonstrate time limits.

  5. Expand their interests using their preferred subject as a starting point.

  6. Use praise when they have talked about a different topic.

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SHINE for Autism is a registered CIO - Charity number 1185018
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