family and respective staffs. Several
informal and formal meetings occurred
Give the student and
Nick’s first year in school included an
inclusive kindergarten class in the
in which Nick’s sending teachers and
morning and an afternoon session in a family opportunities
therapists shared specific strategies
special education classroom, both in his
(such as movement breaks before
intense periods of work) and infor-
to visit the school
neighborhood school. Related services
(speech therapy, occupational therapy,
mation about necessary materials (such several times before
physical therapy) were delivered
as the particular communication device
through a combination of sessions in
and software Nick used).
Common practice suggests that stu-
the child begins
and outside of the classrooms. His team
continued to meet and collaborate to
dents with disabilities, especially those
with autism or intellectual disabilities,
coordinate his program on a regular
basis. Best of all, Nick got to go to
adjust much better to school when they
school and learn alongside his neighbors
have actually seen the classrooms they
and what support or training is needed and friends and got to greet his big
will be attending, so it’s a good idea
for the student to be successful. Pre-
brother every day on the way to the
to give the student and family oppor-
sumably, the school-based team
cafeteria. This was his parents’ dream
tunities to visit the school informally
(teachers, related service staff, para-
for Nick’s kindergarten year. EL
several times before the child begins
professionals) would meet more regu-
kindergarten. Many proactive teachers
larly (usually weekly) to plan lessons,
and parents have even taken photos
or videos of the new school to use in
social stories or scripts (Gray, White, &
McAndrew, 2002) or video modeling
activities, accommodations, and sup-
ports for students in the classroom.
In September, October, and
November, Nick’s team, including his
Banda, D., Matuszny, M., & Turkan,
S. (2007). Video modeling strategies
to enhance appropriate behaviors in
children with autism spectrum disorders.
Teaching Exceptional Children, 39( 6),
(Banda, Matuszny, & Turkan, 2007) to family, met informally for approximately
ease the child’s anxiety about starting at half an hour each time. No adminis-
Fenlon, A. (2005). Paving the way to kinder-
a new school.
Nick’s mom took him to school to
visit regularly in June and then again
trator was present, just the family and
the teaching team. Team members felt
comfortable talking about successes
garten for children with disabilities: Col-
laborative steps for successful transition.
Young Children, 60( 2), 32–38.
Gray, C., White, A. L., & McAndrew, S.
in late August and early September.
they were having with Nick and ways
(2002). My social stories book. London:
He was able to meet his prospective
his program could be improved. Regular
teachers, walk the hallways, see the caf- e-mail correspondence helped keep the Meaden, H., Shelden, D., Appel, K., &
eteria, and check out the music room.
family and school team in touch after
DeGrazia, R. (2010). Developing a long-
term vision: A road map for students’
By the first day of school, Nick already
the fall meetings and between regularly
futures. Teaching Exceptional Children,
had a sense of familiarity and comfort
scheduled formal parent conferences.
43( 2), 8–14.
with his new surroundings.
National Collaborative on Work Force and
A Positive Kindergarten
Disability. (n.d.). About high school/high
Stay in Touch
tech. Washington, DC: Author. Retrieved
Ongoing communication and collabo-
Nick’s transition to kindergarten was a
U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor
ration following the child’s entrance into positive one, despite the initial reluc-
Statistics. (2010). Table A- 6. Employment
kindergarten is a key step that should
tance of his school district. By engaging
status of the civilian population by sex, age,
not be overlooked. Effective teams find in a collaborative, proactive process,
and disability status, not seasonally adjusted.
it worthwhile to meet at least once
or twice in the fall, generally during
the first quarter, after the student has
Nick’s parents and preschool pro-
viders—together with his kindergarten
teachers, related service staff, and a
Washington, DC: Author. Retrieved from
Wiggins, G., & Mc Tighe, J. (2005). Under-
standing by design (Expanded 2nd ed.).
started school. The team at this point
school administrator—were able to plan
Alexandria, VA: ASCD.
typically includes the teachers—general for his successful transition to school. It
educator, special educators, related
service staff—and parents. At these
was not always a smooth ride, and such
specifics as determining what services Amanda Fenlon is an associate
professor of special education in
meetings, which need not be overly
and supports Nick needed required
the Department of Curriculum and
formal, the team might discuss what
extra efforts on the part of some team
Instruction at SUNY Oswego; amanda
is going well, what needs improving,
members, but the road map was clear.