One of Eli’s biggest problems is transitions. All of his therapies (ABA, Speech, and OT) agree that transitions are one of the main areas of focus for his development. How is one expected to be ready for school when they cannot transition from one activity to the next? How will he learn when he cannot join the class for coloring or story time because he is on the floor crying because he had to put away the farm animals? Since preschool starts in August, we only have a couple months to get a good handle on this behavior.
Eli gets speech therapy twice a week for 30 minute sessions, as you can imagine 30 minutes is not very long for a 3-year-old with transitioning issues. Within those 30 minutes they cover at least four different activities. Eli tantrums after each activity is over and needs to be picked up, and also gets very upset when it’s time to leave. One thing they implemented is a picture schedule. They used a PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System) schedule. They lay out Eli’s favorite activities to do during speech and let him pick the four they are going to do for the session. This is very new and Eli doesn’t quite understand it yet. He sees the one he wants to do first, and doesn’t understand what the rest are doing there or what their purpose is. I do believe that it won’t take long for him to understand 1st ,2nd, 3rd, and 4th. (photo below for visual, not the actual schedule they use)
At home during ABA we started using a stoplight timer. I got it from our resources on the military base. It can be set to any amount of time and as the time progresses the lights change as they would on a regular stoplight. It can even be programmed to make noises (when turned on we have it say “BEGIN!” when it turns to yellow it makes a tick tock noise, and when the red light goes off it says “TIMES UP!” while the stop light is running Eli is in free play, whichever activity he would like to do, as long as he has asked us for it. When the timer goes off Eli has to go to the dining room, sit down, and complete and activity with his ABA therapist. For the most part, Eli caught onto this extremely fast. There are even days that he will have me set the timer at night when all the therapists are gone just because he thinks its fun. Of course there are days when he absolutely hates it and fights the whole way through the activity if we can even get it to happen at all.
I think, for Eli, these are the two things that are really going to help him with his difficulties transitioning. This is one area that causes most of his tantrums and I feel resolving this issue will make his school life soooo much easier.