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Transitioning Your Child into a New Classroom or School

41 blog avatar Transitioning Your Child into a New Classroom or School
Expert Name: Tabitha Kirby, MA, BCBA
Expert Title: MA, BCBA
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Short Bio: Tabitha Kirby received her bachelor’s degree in psychology and master’s degree in special education with specialization in Applied Behavior Analysis from 

 The Ohio State University. As an expert in the field of behavior analysis, Tabitha has worked in various clinical, school, and community settings. As a consultant for families of individuals with Autism, Tabitha led and implemented a variety of home-based programs. She has extensive knowledge and experience in creating special education curriculum and training programs to provide superior educational outcomes for children with special needs around the globe.

Transitioning Your Child into a New Classroom or School

As your child is starting back to school, you may find that there are new challenges.  If your student has a new teacher or a new school, it may be even more difficult.  A vital step in a smooth transition is promoting communication between the old and new teachers.  Make sure that the previous teacher has had a chance to speak with teachers at the new school or in the new classroom, preferably before school even starts.  However, this is still very important to do, even after the school year starts.  You want to prevent problems instead of prompting communication after problems begin.

 Typically, if your child’s classroom is in the same building, this sharing of information should have naturally taken place.  Most Special Education teachers are more than willing to pass along information to help the child have continued success.  However, if your child’s classroom is in a different building, or even a different city or state, you may have to facilitate this to happen. 

Speak with the previous teacher and request that he or she contact the new teacher in order to share information specific to your child.  This should include known behavior problems and strategies that worked well.  The teacher should also share teaching techniques that were most beneficial to your child’s learning.  Some other information that may be helpful to the new teacher includes: activities your child enjoys, reinforcers that work well for your child, the best way to transition your child between activities, activities or settings that were difficult for your child, methods that were tried with IEP goals that weren’t met, and ways to promote socialization for your child, among others. 

In addition to this initial sharing of information, suggest to both teachers to keep an open line of communication between them so that the new teacher can contact the previous teacher if any issues arise.  Be sure to be supportive as this important change takes place.  It is difficult for your child, but can also be challenging for the teacher.


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Being an RBT for me was extremely fun because where were you going to find a place where you can be completely silly without having to worry what people thought about you? This was the only job that made me feel like I could make a dramatic difference while being myself.

I also liked to be surrounded by people that had the same goals of wanting to help kids and the teamwork made the job much easier and more enjoyable.

Change and progress was the ultimate goal for our kiddos. The early intervention program was seriously only a miracle because I saw changes in the kiddos that from day one, you wouldn’t even recognize who they were.

Changes from being able to utter 3-4 words where they can only make a syllable from when they started, the behavior decreases in which kiddo that used to engage in 30-40 0 self-harm to only half, learning how to wait during games, table work where they use to swipe and drop to the floor if they had to.

My favorite was when the parents would tell us what amazing progress they were making at home. I used to tear up and felt for these parents so much because it was already difficult for them and now, they can trust and rely on ABA and the therapists knowing their goal was ours.

By Emma Rogers, BA, RBT

Mother Child
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