TRANSITION AND Impact on LearninG
Students learn best when they are calm and alert. Feeling confused, overwhelmed or anxious about upcoming transitions inhibits a student’s ability to focus on their learning. Warnings or instructions about transitions are often given verbally, but students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) have difficulty interpreting social communication and so, may have trouble understanding instructions or take longer to process instructions than other students.
Gaps in understanding can make coping with transition harder. Students who have challenges with organising their thoughts may struggle to make connections between events. For example, during a transition involving gathering materials for a science experiment, and then performing the experiment, the student with ASD may require structured assistance. Students may also require support with connecting prior learning with current lessons.
Organisation of materials is expected in many school transitions. People with ASD usually have challenges in the area of organisational skills. This can make organising materials for lessons or activities challenging. It is common for students to require support to organise items needed for lessons. For more information regarding strategies to support students with organisational difficulties, click here.
Certain subjects combine many small transitions, as well as high levels of verbal communication and social interactions. These subjects are renowned for being times of anxiety or complex behaviour for students with ASD. The difficulty which students display with these subjects may not necessarily reflect a lack of ability. It may be a sign that they are struggling with the number of transitions. One example might be a physical education lesson: