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Transition is the word we use to describe moving from something familiar to something different. Changes happen for us all throughout life.

Big changes happen for our children when they start nursery, school or college, or have change in the team that provides support and care for them as they move towards adulthood.

 All change can be unsettling for children, young people and their families. If your child has additional needs and / or disabilities these changes can seem even more challenging.

  • Your son or daughter might find changes of people and routine extra hard.
  • You might worry that your child’s needs won’t be met in their new setting and/or with new people.  

It can be a hard time for you all and it can take time to adjust. 

Parents and carers play an important part in helping their children to prepare for new experiences and help the transition go smoothly. 


Things You Can Do To Help

If you know a change is coming up try and begin preparation early. Talk about what will happen;

  • Use whatever communication style that works best for your child. You might use pictures, photos or objects to help them understand.
  • Repeat the ‘story’ of the change to come often, so your child has time to get used to the idea.
  • Use a calendar and cross the days off until a big change will happen. This can help time has to passing make more sense.
  • Write  a social story – breaking the story of what will happen into small parts. Add photos and pictures too. Find out more about writing a social story *here*’ 
  • Keep repeating the story as often as they might need to begin to know what is going to happen.

Services are much better at understanding the support children and young people need to cope with change;

  • Talk to those who have been working with your child and ask how they will share information with the new team working with your child.
  • Make contact with the new team. You know your child best. Share their likes, dislikes, things they enjoy and things that make them worried or overwhelmed.
  • You and your child may be able to have visits to new nurseries, schools or services.

You may have worries and anxieties about the change and how your child will cope. Talk to friends and family about your feelings. Try not to let your child overhear your worries. Children are very tuned in to their parents feelings. If you are able to be positive about the change in front of them it will help them feel less worried.

Once your child has made the move to the new experience - help them adjust by;

  • Giving lots of praise and encouragement.
  • Keep to routines and boundaries at home so that they get plenty of rest and feel secure. 
  • Ask for feedback on how things are going at the new placement. Share any concerns you or your child have.
  • Let them know if you notice any changes in the way your child is behaving at home.
  • Praise your child for coping with a new place and people.

Who Can Help?

You can contact the Healthy Child Programme by calling Just One Number on 0300 300 0123 or texting Parentline on 07520 631590. Our opening hours are 8am-6pm Monday-Friday (excluding bank holidays) and 9am-1pm on Saturdays.

The Patient Activation Measure (PAM) Health Questionnaire will help you to think about your knowledge, skills and confidence in understanding and supporting your baby or child’s health. The results of this can help us, to support you, in setting goals and priorities in a way that is right for you and your family. On completion of the questions you will be signposted to some self care resources which are tailored to your responses. This will help you to take steps to improve your family's health and wellbeing. *Click Here* to find out more. 


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