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Tips for Transition to High School

A high school girl opening her locker.

Photo via PhotoStockSecrets

Overview

Beginning high school is a stressful time for any student, but it can be especially challenging for a student with autism and his/her parents or caregivers. Planning the transition process should begin several months before the student enters high school. Here are some tips that may help you manage the transition process.

Begin preparation during the last year of middle school

  • Visit the high school with and without the rest of the student body present.
  • Ask and read about the new expectations of being a high school student.
  • Ask about the classes and the level of classes that is right for the student.
  • Learn school rules & traditions.
  • Talk about the new social environment of school, what typical high school students do for fun, potential after school activities.
  • Talk about what behavior is appropriate and what behavior is not appropriate in high school.

Review IEP (Individual Education Plan) and set appropriate goals

  • Discuss student’s new schedule with team.
  • Discuss any sensory challenges that a student may face (i.e. loud sounds, locker combinations, and riding the bus).
  • Consider revisions to the IEP to include time for breaks or resource support.
  • Make sure the IEP has goals that help a student work towards independent living if appropriate (i.e. job training, life skills, money management, etc.).

Prepare the student for a new environment

  • Practice walking the halls to each class.
  • Show student important areas such as the bus stop, homeroom, bathrooms, cafeteria, gym, etc.
  • Practice using their locker.
  • Review a yearbook to help the student become more familiar with staff and faculty members of the school.
  • Organize a notebook with subject dividers to help student the stay organized.
  • Review daily schedule with student.

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This information was developed by the Autism Services, Education, Resources, and Training Collaborative (ASERT). For more information, please contact ASERT at 877-231-4244 or info@PAautism.org. ASERT is funded by the Bureau of Supports for Autism and Special Populations, PA Department of Human Services.