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Tips for Transition to Middle School

Three boys facing away wearing backpacks.

Photo by Kobe Michael via Pexels


Beginning middle 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 middle school. Here are some tips that may help you manage the transition process.

Begin preparation during the last year of elementary school

  • Visit teachers and administrators at middle school
  • Learn more about the new expectations of being a middle school student
  • Learn about the classes and curriculum at your middle school
  • Learn school rules & traditions
  • Talk about the new social environment
  • Talk about what behavior is appropriate and what behavior is not appropriate in middle 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

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 the student 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.