Preparing for return
to on-site learning

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Some children may need time and support to transition back to school. Some children who may particularly benefit from preparation and planning for their return include children with autism, ADHD, anxiety, intellectual disabilities, or children with additional learning needs, as well as any children who are known to find transitions challenging. Families may consider the following strategies to support teenagers with positive transitions.

Teens will need time and support to transition back to school.

  • Communicate clearly with your child about what to expect. Your child may feel more confident about returning to school if they know what to expect. Looking at photos of familiar faces and places around the school, alongside information about any new routines may also help with the transition.
  • Consider how you can support your child's psychological well-being. Create opportunities for your child to talk about their thoughts and feelings about the return to on-site learning. Various types of anxiety may be heightened in some teens. Speak to the school to develop a plan for drop-off if you think your child may experience school refusal.
  • Access or create resources. Access or create visual schedules and social stories about the return and any new rules or routines that your child will learn. Use positive language while acknowledging that the transition can be challenging. AllPlay Learn's transitioning from primary to secondary school page may be helpful.
  • Practice if possible. If there are new skills your child may need (e.g. new handwashing rules), practicing at home might help reduce anxiety when they return.

During times of increased anxiety and change, some teens with disabilities may experience greater challenges in their learning, behaviours or emotion regulation.

  • Check-in with teachers. Let your child’s teacher know of any changes you’ve noticed in your child. Talk about the strategies you have found helpful recently. Let your teacher know if there are any specific changes that might unsettle your child.
  • Involve your child’s specialist in planning for the return. Your child’s individual education plan may need adjusting for a time, and new strategies and supports may be needed. A collaborative approach with school, family and specialists will best support your child’s transition back.
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