Skip to content

Transition: autism additional guidance – Early Years to Primary (appendix 2020)


Last Updated


The key to a successful and seamless transition is to ensure good communication between all of those involved and to keep the child central to the whole planning process.

For a CYP with Autism we also have to consider the four key areas of difference and ensure that these differences are supported.

For example many CYP with ASC find change and transitions extremely difficult and seek high levels of structure, predictability and routine to feel safe and make sense of the world.

This may mean that greater attention/ awareness is needed to support all transitions during the CYP’s day including:

Spider diagram illustrating likely transitions during a child or young person's day

Key areas for consideration

Strategy/interventionOutcome sought:
CYP will require a carefully planned transition which may include:
  • offering extra visits prior to transition
  • offering more frequent but shorter visits
  • initial visits occurring during quiet times or after school to avoid sensory overload
  • rules and boundaries being clear from the start e.g. if the teachers computer is never available to CYP don’t let them play with it during visits
  • a visual transition book for parents to go through with the CYP during the summer break
  • CYP will be able to familiarise themselves with the environment prior to transition
  • CYP will be in a calm and regulated state during initial visits
  • CYP will be able to view/ be reminded of new routine during school holiday



Visual support strategiesOutcome sought:
In addition to the visual supports embedded in the environment as part of the Universal provision consider:
  • objects of reference that travel from one activity to another – e.g. you might give the CYP a plastic plate to hold on the way to lunch
  • creating clear visual boundaries/ cues e.g. use a specific coloured plastic table cloth for snack time and another for painting.
  • introducing a “not available” symbol (no entry symbol which can be found in auto shapes in Windows). Place the symbol on areas/items that are unavailable or out of bounds (doorframe to office etc.). When the activity or area becomes available show the CYP that the symbol is being removed and tell him the area/ item is available.
  • visual strips/ jigs for specific routines of the day e.g. toileting sequence, washing hands, setting arrival routine etc.
  • introducing an individual choice board of activities rather than free access. Guide the CYP to the board and encourage them to choose their next activity from those available and then go to this activity.
  • The CYP will follow the routines of the day with the support of visual cues.
  • The CYP will understand basic setting routines: going outside, tidying up, adult led play session, carpet time etc.















SensoryOutcome sought
  • Complete the sensory assessment check list
  • Complete the sensory environment check list
  • Setting staff to be made aware of possible areas of sensory difference/ need for CYP.
  • Setting staff to be aware of possible sensory triggers in the environment and make reasonable adjustments to the environment
Review CYP’s sensory needs and processing/ organisational needs to decide if he/she prefers to be;
  • first to an activity and waiting for it to start (accepts peers joining and environment becoming busy)


  • last to join with the activity starting as soon as they arrive (finds waiting and/ or busy environments difficult)
  • CYP will engage in adult led activities
  • CYP will engage in small group activities





  • CYP will likely benefit from sitting on a chair directly facing the teacher/ white board during listening activities. Rather than sitting on the floor

Setting may find it useful to review activities/resources from the Communication Trust and Autism Education Trust

Setting may also find the following online Inclusion Development Programme tutorials useful

Further information and resources can be found on the Communication and Interaction Teams webpage