Transitions and changes

Transitions and changes

  • When changes happen that are unplanned, caregivers need to try to support the person with Autism through this distressing time.


Moving house, or changing schools. Introducing a new activity or a change of schedule for an activity the person you care for enjoys. A friend, teacher or family member moving away. Changing teachers or having a substitute teacher or carer. Changing the family car or getting new clothes, shoes or school bag.  Changes to daily routine.

  • Preparing the person you care for of possible changes which may affect them may help to make the change easier for them.
  • Talking to the person about changes at home such as moving bedrooms, or rearranging furniture can be helpful.

What else can I do to help?

Try using pictures to show what the change will look like and each step in the process which will occur. For example if you are preparing to go on a holiday, start with pictures of packing clothes and favourite things. Then pictures of the car journey, and of airplanes. Then use pictures from the hotel you will be staying in and the bedroom the person will be sleeping in. Following on from this  show the person you care for pictures of packing again, the airport and then returning home.
Allow time for unexpected delays caring for the person with Autism. Allowing for regular breaks from activities or actions can help the person to feel less affected by sensory issues. For example if getting on a bus the person you care for becomes distressed, wait for another bus and spend time explaining what will happen next.