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Periods of transition can have a profound influence on children’s progress but can also be opportunities to engage with change in a positive way. There are four key transition points to be aware of, moving from:
There are additional challenges during transitional periods for disabled children and their families. Especially, for children with complex needs, a number of different professionals may be involved; the preparation process will take longer and additional meetings will be needed. An example of this could be meetings with physiotherapists and classroom staff to make sure activities and exercise regimes are implemented to support quality of movement and strength and co-ordination. In these meetings, parents, carers and professionals can also share information regarding appliances and use of specialist equipment children may use at home and at school.
The emotions surrounding transition can be very strong and every child will react differently. Some will find it impossible to ask for help when faced with difficulties, while others may cope with underlying anxieties by demanding to be the centre of attention. Even children who appear to cope well with school can be thrown off course by changes.
Transition is an ongoing process, not a single event, and it takes place over several years. The transition process starts when your child is 13 or 14 (Year 9) and continues until they leave school. It's important to get the right support early on from a number of professionals. Some of them may be involved in your child's life up to age 25.
Provision varies from one local authority to the next, so check what your authority provides. The benefits of properly managed transition will carry your child through into adulthood, increasing their opportunities in life.
Listen to what your child wants. Encourage them to say what they want, rather than letting others take over. Even if their expectations seem unrealistic, some goals may be achievable with the right support. There are various steps you need to take at each stage of transition:
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