A. Consider Perspectives and Contexts

Step 3 provided an opportunity to consider general sources of evidence about transition practices to support a child and family’s preparation for and adjustment to a new setting. Now you will need to think about that general knowledge in light of Tamiya’s unique situation. To help you understand the contexts further, listen to the perspectives of Tamiya’s family and the other members of her team during the transition process. These perspectives will help you gain an understanding of the family’s values and priorities, the perspectives of those who served Tamiya in early intervention, and the perspectives of those who will serve her in the new program.

Use the information from these perspectives to describe the unique contexts in which this dilemma occurs in Activity 2.11a.

Audio 2.5: Rosemary’s Perspective (Tamiya’s mother)

The mother of Tamiya, a two year old girl turning three with developmental delays, shares her goals and concerns on her daughter’s transition into a preschool classroom (running time: 1 min. 07 sec.).

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My biggest concern is that I want Tamiya to feel comfortable in the classroom and be able to show her true personality. She is so fun-loving and affectionate at home. She sings, she dances. But when she is around other people that she doesn’t know (and even some she does know), she gets extremely shy. She won’t talk. If the first time Melanie meets her is in a strange situation with lots of other people and Tamiya won’t stop crying, I’m afraid she’s not going to want her in her classroom.

I would welcome Melanie to our home to let her see what day to day life is like for us. Melanie could see Tamiya’s personality, and how much she can do. I know this will raise Melanie’s expectations for Tamiya and help her see Tamiya’s strengths and capabilities.

I want to take things slowly at first. My schedule is flexible right now, so it’s ok if Tamiya doesn’t want to stay the full day at school in the beginning. I would much rather ease her into it, rather than just drop her off and leave her in tears. I just couldn’t do that.

Audio 2.6: Melanie A.’s Perspective (receiving teacher)

A preschool teacher shares her perspective on a transition of child with disabilities into her classroom (running time: 1 min. 11 sec.).

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I’ve been thinking a lot about the transition process with Tamiya. We have a set of standard transition procedures in place that have worked in the past with other children, but those children weren’t as medically fragile as Tamiya. And when I called Tamiya’s mother yesterday to talk about our transition procedures and to arrange for Tamiya to come for a classroom visit, I could hear the hesitation in her voice. She talked about Tamiya being quiet in large groups and easier to get to know when she is in a familiar place like home. So maybe we should think about changing some of those procedures for her.

I have been on a few home visits before when I worked for another program and I thought they went well. I know we don’t typically make home visits, but I’m willing to do anything that would make Tamiya feel comfortable and at home in her new classroom. I’ll need the support of my supervisor, Judy, and of course the support of the rest of the team to get behind these efforts as well. Most importantly, I’ll need the commitment of Tamiya’s family and more time to learn how to best prepare for the transition from them. They have a lot to teach me.

Audio 2.7: Randah’s Perspective (physical therapist)

A physical therapist of a two year old girl turning three, shares her perspective on the child’s transition from early intervention to a preschool classroom (running time: 0 min. 53 sec.).

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I’ve worked with Tamiya since she was 6 months old and she is one tough little girl, and has always had a hard time with transitions. She has been through so much and has come so far. And I’m confident that she is up for this change. I’m so happy to know that I will continue to serve Tamiya at least twice a week in the program. And I hope, I’ll be a familiar face for her. And I am more than happy to help support the teachers and staff at the program on how to best care for her. I’ll be there to ask and answer questions, and to help identify any new supports they might need. This may mean trying to squeeze in some extra time with them for a short period and figuring out how that will affect my contract hours. I understand that they might be a little nervous, but I think they’ll quickly realize that they are capable.

Audio 2.8: Melanie B.’s Perspective (Tamiya’s early intervention service coordinator)

The early intervention service coordinator for a child turning three shares her perspective on the transition process from early intervention into a preschool program (running time: 0 min. 56 sec.).

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I am glad that we were able to work with the public school to find a great placement for Tamiya. Finding the right spot for a child that the family feels comfortable with and the staff and practitioners are supportive of can sometimes be tricky. Tamiya’s Transition Conference and IFSP meeting to discuss her placement options went really well in this case. Soon after our meeting, Tamiya’s mother decided to start the referral process with the public school. Tamiya was found eligible for the program and they were able to settled on a program and classroom Tamiya’s mom and the IFSP team felt good about. Tamiya’s mom has been talking with Judy, the program administrator, and everything is moving along like clockwork. They are discussing ways they can support Tamiya in being ready for her first days in the classroom and we have added a few activities to Tamiya’s transition plan.

Audio 2.9: Judy’s perspective (program administrator in Tamiya’s new program)

The administrator of a childcare program shares her perspective on the transition of a child with disabilities into her program (running time: 1 min. 38 sec.).

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I welcome Tamiya and her family into our program. I credit my staff with making it possible for us to serve such a diverse group of families. Their energy, their commitment to inclusion, and their willingness to learn are what make this all work.

But transition is a particularly stressful time for children, families and teachers, and this is the first time our program has served a child with this level of health needs. So it is important that we have good transition procedures in place. Typically we set up a visit first for the family to come without the child, so there are no distractions and they can get all their questions answered. Then we have them bring the child and invite a friend or family member whose opinion they respect. Depending upon the family’s comfort level, we encourage them to leave the child on the playground while they come into the office to do paperwork; but we always follow the parent’s lead. If the parents’ schedule allows, we have found that a staggered entrance or abbreviated hours to start is helpful.

I want to make sure that I involve the classroom team in the transition planning and that their concerns are addressed. I’ll need to make sure they have adequate time and coverage for some professional development if they need it. I also want to ensure that the staff begins to develop a strong relationship with the child and family as soon as possible. Melanie, Tamiya’s teacher, asked me about making a home visit; she said Tamiya’s mother really hoped that could happen. That is not a typical procedure but in this case it could be important. Being flexible and ensuring that everyone feels supported is the key to making any transition work.