Transition (Laura's definition :) ) basically means moving from one activity, event, or area to another. We want these to be smooth... desired transitions.. vs. battles.
These transitions can be a "minor" everyday change or transition (going from eating breakfast to getting dressed, etc.) to major changes (i.e., changing schools, changing teachers, etc.). Of course, to move... means we also need to end one activity before beginning another. Now, that.. in and of itself.. can be difficult - especially if the child/adolescent, etc. is engaged in a desired task. So, let's begin with the smaller changes.. or transitions. Let's say, the child is highly engaged in an activity (i.e., looking up words). Let's also say, it is "time" to eat. If we just say, "It is time to eat,"... will the child stop what they are doing and come to the table, sit down and eat? O.K.... so many skills are included here. But let's say that sitting and eating have been working out.. we even have data to indicate that the child has been successful sitting and eating at the table 5 out of 5 opportunities or trials in one day. However, getting the child to end a task and go to the table has been more trying.
We can put some things in place to help with the transition to the table. We can ensure that the child/adolescent "knows" when it is time to eat. We can ensure that the child/adolescent "knows" what signs in the environment indicate it is time to eat - at the table. So, here are a few things which may help with the transition:
* Make eating at the table an important event .... put it on the schedule.
* Make the schedule child/adolescent friendly... it is for them to use.
* Have a system or way to end desired tasks.... (i.e., a two minute warning.... child sets the timer for two min.; put on a favorite song/music... when it ends, it is time to go to the table... or wash hands)
* Handing the child/individual their favorite hand soap to indicate time to wash hands before eating.. may work... but, it may need to be handing the child/individual a placemat .. or other indicator of time to eat at table
* Making transition a game.... Using a red / green light approach. For example, "can you get to the table before the green light is turned off.... or before the red light comes off... or before the timer goes off.. indicating ... did it in the "green zone"... etc.
* Individual signaled it is time to complete job or task to set the table.. or get out the forks.. or wipe off the table. It would help to have this tied to a token system, etc. It is going to have to be pretty reinforcing for the child/adolescent to want to end a highly, focused task. Think about your options!!! :)
These are just a few examples of ways to help someone transition to our hypothetical (but realistic) scenario. :)
What are other ways to transition to a new task?