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Tabitha Kirby, MA, BCBA
Expert Name: Tabitha Kirby, MA, BCBA
Expert Title: MA, BCBA
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Short Bio: Tabitha Kirby received her bachelor’s degree in psychology and master’s degree in special education with specialization in Applied Behavior Analysis from The Ohio State University. As an expert in the field of behavior analysis, Tabitha has worked in various clinical, school, and community settings. As a consultant for families of individuals with Autism, Tabitha led and implemented a variety of home-based programs. She has extensive knowledge and experience in creating special education curriculum and training programs to provide superior educational outcomes for children with special needs around the globe.

Transitioning Your Child into a New Classroom or School

As your child is starting back to school, you may find that there are new challenges.  If your student has a new teacher or a new school, it may be even more difficult.  A vital step in a smooth transition is promoting communication between the old and new teachers.  Make sure that the previous teacher has had a chance to speak with teachers at the new school or in the new classroom, preferably before school even starts.  However, this is still very important to do, even after the school year starts.  You want to prevent problems instead of prompting communication after problems begin.

 Typically, if your child’s classroom is in the same building, this sharing of information should have naturally taken place.  Most Special Education teachers are more than willing to pass along information to help the child have continued success.  However, if your child’s classroom is in a different building, or even a different city or state, you may have to facilitate this to happen. 

Speak with the previous teacher and request that he or she contact the new teacher in order to share information specific to your child.  This should include known behavior problems and strategies that worked well.  The teacher should also share teaching techniques that were most beneficial to your child’s learning.  Some other information that may be helpful to the new teacher includes: activities your child enjoys, reinforcers that work well for your child, the best way to transition your child between activities, activities or settings that were difficult for your child, methods that were tried with IEP goals that weren’t met, and ways to promote socialization for your child, among others. 

In addition to this initial sharing of information, suggest to both teachers to keep an open line of communication between them so that the new teacher can contact the previous teacher if any issues arise.  Be sure to be supportive as this important change takes place.  It is difficult for your child, but can also be challenging for the teacher.

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