Special Needs and the Challenge of Change

By Karen Crum
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email
Ciro Romero

Help your kids deal with daily transitions.

When my son, Charlie, was younger, his autism made daily transitions difficult for the entire family. One Sunday I had to drive my daughter to choir practice and bring Charlie along. When it was time to go, Charlie started screaming and throwing himself on the floor, his face beet red. During these episodes, his resistance was so intense that I couldn’t lift him, so we were forced to wait until the tantrum subsided.

After I dropped off my daughter 30 minutes late, I cried all the way home. I knew my boy was struggling to communicate that the transition from one activity to another was hard for him.

Change can be devastating for kids with special needs, whether it’s a small daily transition or a larger one such as a new therapist or school year. But there are strategies to help ease any transition. Here are a few suggestions:

Prepare

I created several short stories reviewing each coming change and read them repeatedly to Charlie. If we had to leave the house, I gave him a warning two hours beforehand. As the departure time grew nearer, I gave more warnings. I used “First we’ll ____, then we’ll _____” language constantly, alerting Charlie to what was going to happen next, as well as the “fun” thing that would follow.

It’s also helpful to include something positive to reinforce your child’s appropriate behavior. To help Charlie leave the house, I laminated strips of paper that read: “Sometimes things change, and change is good.” I placed the signs in Charlie’s room, on the front door and in the car.

Practice

When you know a transition is coming (especially a major one), practice ahead of time. I spent six months preparing Charlie for sixth grade, where he would need to move from room to room for each of his subjects. We visited the school when it was quiet and looked at all the different places he would go. I took photos, and we looked at them together many times.

Pray

The Lord knows all about our kids’ transition struggles and wants us to look to Him for guidance. There were many nights when I cried out for Him to help me help my son. He always gave me hope. He always showed me His grace and love. 

Patty Myers directs a special-needs school in Florida.

Copyright © 2015 by Patty Myers. Used by permission.

Share:
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email

Thank you [field id="first_name"] for signing up to get the free downloads of the Marrying Well Guides. 

Click the image below to access your guide and learn about the counter-cultural, biblical concepts of intentionality, purity, community and Christian compatibility.

(For best results use IE 8 or higher, Firefox, Chrome or Safari)

To stay up-to-date with the latest from Boundless, sign up for our free weekly e-newsletter.


If you have any comments or questions about the information included in the Guide, please send them to [email protected]

Click here to return to Boundless

Focus on the Family

Thank you for submitting this form. You will hear from us soon. 

The Daily Citizen

The Daily Citizen from Focus on the Family exists to be your most trustworthy news source. Our team of analysts is devoted to giving you timely and relevant analysis of current events and cultural trends – all from a biblical worldview – so that you can be inspired and assured that the information you share with others comes from a reliable source.

Alive to Thrive is a biblical guide to preventing teen suicide. Anyone who interacts with teens can learn how to help prevent suicidal thinking through sound practical and clinical advice, and more importantly, biblical principles that will provide a young person with hope in Christ.

Bring Your Bible to School Day Logo Lockup with the Words Beneath

Every year on Bring Your Bible to School Day, students across the nation celebrate religious freedom and share God’s love with their friends. This event is designed to empower students to express their belief in the truth of God’s Word–and to do so in a respectful way that demonstrates the love of Christ.

Focus on the Family’s® Foster Care and Adoption program focuses on two main areas:

  • Wait No More events, which educate and empower families to help waiting kids in foster care

  • Post-placement resources for foster and adoptive families

Christian Counselors Network

Find Christian Counselors, Marriage & Family Therapists, Psychologists, Social Workers and Psychiatrists near you! Search by location, name or specialty to find professionals in Focus on the Family’s Christian Counselors Network who are eager to assist you.

Boundless is a Focus on the Family community for Christian young adults who want to pursue faith, relationships and adulthood with confidence and joy.

Through reviews, articles and discussions, Plugged In exists to shine a light on the world of popular entertainment while giving you and your family the essential tools you need to understand, navigate and impact the culture in which we live.

Have you been looking for a way to build your child’s faith in a fun and exciting way?
Adventures in Odyssey® audio dramas will do just that. Through original audio stories brought to life by actors who make you feel like part of the experience; these fictional, character-building dramas use storytelling to teach lasting truths.

Focus on the Family’s Hope Restored all-inclusive intensives offer marriage counseling for couples who are facing an extreme crisis in their marriage, and who may even feel they are headed for divorce.