Transitioning to high school – My top 5 tips to support your special needs child:

Oct 20, 2017

Many of you will be becoming increasingly aware of how to best assist your child to transition from Year 6 into Year 7 and the different challenges associated with this major transition time.

Parents often get in contact with me at this stage of their child’s lives to assist and put different strategies in place as to how to best support and guide their child in this daunting transition phase of their lives.


So, I thought I would share with you “My top five tips” for children of varying special need transitioning for primary school to first year high school:


  • Familiarity – It is important that your child is able to gain as much familiarity of his/her new school as possible. Arrange as many transition visits to the new school as possible. If you attend a transition visit with your child, video the school and the new surroundings. Make sure you video classrooms, toilets, lockers, canteen, playground areas, any oval or PE areas and the library. This way your child can then watch the video as much as he or she needs.
  • Ask the school to provide you with a sample Year 7 timetable. This way you can familiarise your child with the concept of timetables, having subjects at different times, having multiple teachers and changing rooms.
  • Find out if the school has a map with all the different classroom numbers, and if not consider making one. This is to assist when going through the transition visits and timetable your child can then work out the best way to navigate around the school and to get to classes.
  • Ask the school to provide your child’s new timetable at least two weeks prior to the new school year commencing. Upon receiving the new timetable colour code each subject on the timetable with a highlighter colour.  You can then purchase specific colour coded folders whereby the colour of the folder corresponds with the colour of the subject.  Your child can then keep text books and materials for the specific subject in the folder, so then they can obtain the specific folder out of their locker for the next subjects without having to find text books etc.
  • Ask the school whether they can implement a specific peer support person for your child. Another boy or girl in an older year who can take on the role of being both a mentor and contact point for your child.  This is to assist against any bullying that may start, and provides a familiar person as a reference point and stability for your child.


In addition, it is also good to implement checklists and timetables for the mornings and afternoons to ensure homework is well understood and completed.  If a child has impaired executive functioning and poor working memory this will really come into play in the high school years.  These checklists really do become imperative.


These are just some of the tools and skills that I can assist your special needs child with at this very important stage of their life. If you would like more information about how I can assist and support your child as they transition into high school and navigate their way through the crucial first few months then please email me at or you can find out more at where you can get in contact with me and book an appointment.