19 July 2018
Life Transitions for Young People with Special Needs: Useful Strategies – By Interchange Australia Consultant, Amber Hall
Life transitions are moments where there is a change in a person’s life situation.
Everyone experiences many life transitions throughout their lives and can include adjusting to a new school, moving to a new town or city, changes to family circumstances and many more.
How Do Life Transitions Affect People with Special Needs?
Life transitions can bring on behavioural changes such as anxiety and challenging behaviours. They can also have an impact upon relationships where new peers, teachers and family members become part of a person’s life. Parents and carers of young people with special needs understand that life transitions can be confronting and challenging for their children and they implement a number of strategies to assist their child through these times.
What are Some Useful Strategies?
• Communication – familiarise yourself with knowledge, the location, people, area, routines and share this information with your child;
• Establishing Routines – Use visual aids, for example, with a new school, show them a timetable, activities program and photos of staff;
• Increasing Leisure and Relaxation Activities – Explore what activities your child enjoys and research where and when they can engage in these activities – e.g. sport, art, technology;
• Building Self-Confidence – Invite a known friend to accompany your child on a new activity. The familiarity will assist with the ease of transition; and
• Building Independence Gradually – Start a task or regular activity slowly and gradually increase the time your child spends engaging in this task or activity.
How Can Interchange Australia Assist?
• Assistance with Daily Living
– Developing and maintaining daily living skills – banking, shopping, domestic skills, making a bed, cleaning etc; and
– Mentoring/assistance with homework/after school support
• Assistance with Social and Community Participation
– Participating in mainstream activities – e.g. swimming, bushwalking, youth centre, vacation care; and
– Weekend activities and outings, dinner groups, music, drama and cooking
• Short Term Accommodation/Respite
– Building independent living skills – i.e. making a bed, helping with cooking , personal hygiene etc
Interchange Australia’s experienced, caring and friendly staff understand the impact that life transitions can have on young people with special needs. For more information about how we can assist, please call us on 1300 112 334.