Supporting change

Posted: 15/06/2024 by Michelle

I recently wrote an instagram post about moving to my very own therapy space, which is very exciting, but it also means that there will be a big change to adjust to , for me and my autistic clients. Anyone who is autistic, or who has an autistic child or partner, will be aware of how triggering and uncomfortable change can be. It is, therefore, incredibly important to get the transition right.

Every person will need something unique to them, when it comes to supporting transitions. However there are general rules that you can follow. These include examples of reasonable adjustments that can be requested in a place of work, school, or for medical appointments.

  • Giving clear information about what to expect and when the change will happen.
  • Providing the opportunity for people to visit new venues, or to meet new people (e.g. new class teacher)
  • Giving visual information e.g. pictures/ social stories, as some people are visual learners.
  • Providing a specified place to sit, so the person can go directly there and feel safe.
  • Paying attention to the sensory environment and asking the person if they need any adaptations.
  • Giving the right amount of notice, so the person can feel prepared.

I’ve been able to follow these steps when moving people across to my new therapy room, and I was delighted to welcome clients into the space this afternoon to have a look around, get used to the new venue, and to ask any questions. I sent out a visual step-by-step guide to how to find the building and what to expect when you get inside, which should help anyone who likes to feel prepared. People also had the opportunity to have an extended transition period if they needed more time to get used to the space.

An unexpected benefit of the open afternoon was that people stayed for a brew, and had chance to chat together and share some of their experiences of being autistic, and suggestions of things that had been helpful to them. Overall, it was a lovely day!