Transitions, moving from one activity to another, can be very tricky for many children with language delays. It can be a time of stress and confusion as they can be unsure of what is going to happen next. If they are doing an activity they really enjoy, it can be hard to do something less engaging. For those children who don’t like change, even the small transitions in the classroom can be overwhelming. Here are some suggestions to help them move from activity to activity more successfully.
1. Use real objects. Some children have difficulty understanding that a picture means we are going to do something different. Giving them an object such as a ball to mean we are going outside or to the gym. Giving them a letter means it circle time. Use these objects only for transitions. The ball, for example, that you use as a transition tool is ONLY used as a transition tool. It can be too confusing to use it as a transition tool and a toy. As well children with limited vision respond well to real objects because they are 3D and can feel the different shapes.
4. Use written words. For children who are reading, using words or sentences can be a great way to help with transitions. As well for older children, it is more age appropriate then pictures. Caution: if older children respond better to pictures/drawings then written words then continue to use the drawings.
5. Use schedules. This lets children see the overall structure of the day. It can help moving from one activity to another.
7. Use first/then boards. These are a great way to help with transitions. It helps them know what going to happen now but also in the future. I find it works best when a non-prefered activity is first then is matched with preferred activity (second).
BONUS: Be creative. Not all of these are going to be effective. You may have to play detective and try a number of these tools or even invent some of your own.