Tips for Successful Transitions Autism – ADHD

Transitions can = meltdown city! 

But why are they so hard?

  • Confusion

  • Anxiety about what is coming next

  • The instruction is unclear

  • Anxiety from having to stop a “lifeline” activity for something difficult or non-preferred

  • Fear of failure

  • Not knowing when he/she can get back to what they want to do

  • Fear that the difficult or non-preferred activity will last “Forever”.

So, what can we do to help our children? 


  • Show your child what is coming by using a written or picture schedule

  • Use the Time Timer Plus to show them when they can get Back to their special interest or how long the activity may take.

  • At first, provide an easier/shorter/somewhat preferred activity

  • If your child has difficulty stopping a special interest activity, allow them to continue the activity through the transition.

  • Allow several minutes of play in the new location.

Transition puzzle  

  • Look up your child’s interests on google images.

  • Ask your child to pick their favorite images and print.

  • Draw out puzzle sections and cut out each section. Each section represents a transition.

  • Start out with only a 1 to 2 transitions. Add more transitions as your child becomes successful.

  • Your child will earn a puzzle piece for each transition.

  • When the puzzle is complete, they will earn a reward.

Transition tips for beginners

    • Write #1 on an index card and put it on a chair

    • Write #2 on an index card and put it on a nearby chair

    • Reward your child for moving from #1 to #2.

    • When your child is successful, consider adding #3 index card on the floor nearby.

    • Reward your child for moving from #1 to #2 to #3.

    • Switch it up between numbers and you can also use letters.

    • Make small successful steps, PRAISE, and REWARD.

    • As your child is more successful, move to more places and request more transitions.  


    Holly Blanc Moses
    The Mom/Psychologist/Behavior Analyst Who Gets It


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