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Seek Policy Advice From Students On The Autism Spectrum To Help All Students With Transitions

Resolution Number: 2018-04
Submitted by: Colonel Gray Home and School Association

WHEREAS    transitions, whether between grade levels and schools, between parts of the school year, or within the school day, have been identified by mental health professionals and by educators as significant mental health challenges for all students1 and,

WHEREAS    the PEI Learning Partners Advisory Council, in its white paper Ambition, Excellence and Prosperity: Priorities and Directions for Learning, identified transitions as a particular area of focus for learning in the province2, and,


WHEREAS    students with autism spectrum disorders typically face significantly greater challenges with transitions than typical students3,4 and,

WHEREAS    because of the particular challenges with transitions faced by students on the autism spectrum, these students (and their caregivers and educators) are uniquely attuned to the frequency and nature of transitions in learning environments, and, by virtue of this, have unique insights into how to mitigate the stress of transitions, and,

WHEREAS    many of these insights and mitigation strategies, if more generally applied in learning environments, could aid in the reduction of transitions-related challenges for all students,

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that regular feedback from students on the autism spectrum, and their caregivers and educators, be integrated into all aspects of the policy-making process by Public Schools Branch and the Department of Education, Early Learning and Culture,

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that Public Schools Branch convene an advisory body of students on the autism spectrum and their caregivers and educators, to conduct a review of operational policies and procedures, with particular focus on transitions, with the goal of advising the Branch on changes to these procedures that could mitigate the challenges of transitions for all students.

Status: Passed
Saturday, April 14, 2018

Destination:Department of Education, Early Learning and Culture
Public Schools Branch

PUBLIC SCHOOLS BRANCH (July 10/18):  The Public Schools Branch Student Services Handbook, pages 3-5, refers to the transition process for children in the PSB. It speaks specifically to K transitions, 8-12 transitions and has a separate page on transitions for students diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

For children who have Autism, the transition process into school typically begins in February with parent information meetings. Due to low attendance in the past, this year, a video was used on socail media to explain the process.

Case conferences are booked for March and April to decide the plan to transition individual students as plans can differ according to the needs of the student.

IEP (Individual Education Plan) meetings are planned for May and June as required.

Included in student planning can be school visits, playground visits, pictures of staff and social stories, depending on a student's needs.

Case conferences are held to plan for any school to school transitions and, similar to school entry, a plan is developed for school visits, depending on the student's needs.

Finally, grade 8-12 exit plans are usually developed to help students and families plan for the future after public schooling is completed. Planning could include working with Autism consultants and Commuinty Access facilitators who, with families and often the children, start to look at future goals. A transition action plan (TAP) is established that addresses goals and educational plans for employment, recreation, transportation, residential options and personal skills. If students are following a TAP program in high school, these goals drive programming to ensure they leave school with the skills to meet their goals.

As with any education component, the PSB welcomes feedback from our community partners. The PSB Director of Student Services and Autism Consultants would be pleased to sit with some members of Home and School and children who have been involved in transition planning and look at ways we can enhance our programs.


EDUCATION, EARLY LEARNING AND CULTURE (October 22, 2018):  The Public Schools Branch Student Services Division practices extensive planning for students diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder and the transition process is outlined in the PSB Student Services Handbook. Early planning, case conferences, IEP meetings, and Exit Plans are key components of the process used to ensure students are well-supported through transitioins. Students participate in school visits and/or playground visits and are often provide pictures of new staff to prepare for an upcoming transition.  Exit plans and transition action plans are planned wit6h students and their families, along with Autism consultants. Also, it is important to continually review existing processes and current research.  I will be reommending to the PSB that they hear from students, parents and eductors and that this information, along with current research, be considered in updating policies and procedures.