Transitions to kindergarten: Moving children with Autism Spectrum Disorder into the classroom
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Kindergarten is a critical period in the development of a child. The successful transition into kindergarten has been linked to increased success throughout a child’s academic career; however, one third of parents of children with special needs report dissatisfaction with the process of their child’s transition into kindergarten. Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in particular can face increased challenges with the transition into kindergarten due to social, communication, and behavioural issues. The rates of ASD have been increasing in Canada. Schools are not always equipped with the resources required to fully support these children, which often results in children with ASD being placed on reduced hours, essentially increasing the gap between these children and their peers. This applied project examines the role of parent advocacy in the kindergarten transition of children with ASD. The project explores strategies that parents can employ to avoid advocacy becoming adversarial and instead lead to respectful, collaborative relationships with their children’s educators. The research culminates in the creation of a brochure that details issues of special education in British Columbia, challenges within the kindergarten classroom, strategies to support the transition, as well as strategies that parents can employ when advocating for their children with ASD. The implications for this work seek to support parents in advocating for their children in order to ensure that children with ASD have the best possible transition into kindergarten and a strong start to a successful school career.