How I Navigated for Transition Success

by Marnie Morneault, M.Ed.
CCIDS Research Associate, Inclusive Care and Education
NH LEND 2012-2013; NH-ME LEND Adjunct Faculty Member
University of Maine Adjunct Faculty Member (Special Education)

Transitions for children and their families at any point in life can be both exciting and potentially overwhelming. Thinking back to one of my own child’s transitions from the early intervention system to the special education system brings me both a smile and that yucky feeling of uncertainty in my stomach.

As both a parent and a former special education teacher, I carried the knowledge of the “system” that my child was being enrolled in, but also a desire to be just my child’s mom who was enrolling her child in kindergarten. I remember heading into the meeting and my most important hope was that my child would belong and be known in the ways that we, (family, previous teachers, and professionals we had worked with) knew my child.

That first meeting had too many professionals and was awkward and uncomfortable as I struggled to find my role as just the mom, knowing I was being viewed as a professional, and potentially a challenge. What I learned from that meeting, and all those that came after was that part of my role as a parent is helping the adults who were about to receive my child to make connections to what his story had been so far. How is he the most successful, where does he need support, and what had we learned along the way?

For children and families who have a child with a disability such as mine, transitions can feel heavy with the goal of supporting the right choices for their children’s future in partnership with professionals who are new to them. I found that access to resources and information (other parents, professionals, and general resources) as we moved through a transition provided support and guardrails for how to navigate.

Here are some resources to support your transition journey:

Transition from Preschool Special Education to Kindergarten [PDF] (Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center, 2020) – https://ectacenter.org/~pdfs/decrp/PGP_TRN3_preschooltokindergarten_2018.pdf?cid=17850a6f9a40c28c892202f30855b09e

Transitions to Kindergarten: Collaborations, Connections, and Six Steps to Success [PDF] (National Center on Early Childhood Development, Teaching, and Learning, Winter 2020) – https://eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/pdf/ttk-collab-connect-6-steps-success.pdf

A Comprehensive Approach to Transition (Association of University Centers on Disabilities, 2014) – https://www.aucd.org/template/news.cfm?news_id=9955

Need assistance with transitions?

Whether you are a parent, educator, or anyone else who feels they need support, feel free to reach out to us at CCIDS by email ccidsmail@maine.edu or call 207.581.1084. TTY users call Maine Relay 711.

Photo Credits:
Image of parent and young girl by fstop123 (istockphoto.com) Standard License.
Image of young black woman with keys by Fizkes (istock.com) Standard License.
Image of white female graduate using a wheelchair by Jenny Kane is courtesy of The Patriot-News. Used with permission.