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DrillDown Icon 2 Diagnosis
DrillDown Icon 3 Family
DrillDown Icon 4 Skill Development
DrillDown Icon 5 Recreation, Leisure and Health
DrillDown Icon 6 Volunteering and Employment
DrillDown Icon 7 Elementary / Secondary Education
DrillDown Icon 8 Intervention Options
DrillDown Icon 9 Technology
DrillDown Icon 10 First Person Perspective
DrillDown Icon 11 Planning for the Future
DrillDown Icon 12 Post Secondary Education
DrillDown Icon 13 Transition to School
DrillDown Icon 13-A - Bookmark
DrillDown Icon 13-B Planning Calendar
DrillDown Icon 13-1 Introduction
DrillDown Icon 13-2 Why Disclose
DrillDown Icon 13-3 Creating a Parent Information Binder
DrillDown Icon 13-4 Welcome to Kindergarten Program
DrillDown Icon 13-5 Developmental Screening Clinics
DrillDown Icon 13-6 Case Conference
DrillDown Icon 13-7 The Transition Plan
DrillDown Icon 13-10 Creating a Portfolio
DrillDown Icon 13-11 Creating An All About Me Album
DrillDown Icon 13-12 Creating an I'm Going to School Album
DrillDown Icon 13-13 Ideas for Preparing Your Child for Kindergarten
DrillDown Icon 13-14 School Day Schedules
DrillDown Icon 13-15 The Individual Education Plan (IEP)
DrillDown Icon 13-16 What is an IPRC?
DrillDown Icon 13-17 Contact Information Sheet
DrillDown Icon 13-18 Telephone Call Record Sheet
DrillDown Icon 13-19 Meeting Record Sheet
DrillDown Icon 13-20 List of Acronyms
DrillDown Icon 13-21 Frequently Asked Questions
DrillDown Icon 13-22 Parent Resources
DrillDown Icon 14 Professionals and ASD
DrillDown Icon 15 Mental Health
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13-1 Introduction

Starting school is an important period in a child’s life, marking the first step of a child’s school career. How a child experiences the transition into school can greatly impact how they view school and can influence their level of comfort and success for years to come. Such an important transition can create anxiety for all parents, in particular parents of children with additional needs. For children with additional needs, “entry to school is more complex and requires careful planning and coordination.” (1)

In an effort to ensure consistency across the district and to facilitate a smooth transition to school for children with additional needs, the District of Parry Sound Best Start Network initiated the Transition Planning for Children with Additional Needs district-wide project. A focus group, comprised of personnel from the three school boards in the district of Parry Sound, representatives from local service providers and early childhood settings as well as parents of children with additional needs, was created to examine current practices related to the transition into school for children with additional needs.

This focus group succeeded in pulling together the collective knowledge and experience of its members, as well as information from existing documentation, to create the following resources:

  • Entry to School Planning Calendar and parent bookmark; (download from link at end of this article)
  • Entry to School Parent Resource Guide. (individual articles in this section of the Knowledge Base)


The Entry to School Planning Calendar outlines responsibilities of parents, the school board and agencies, up to a year in advance, in order to ensure the child with additional needs experiences as smooth a transition as possible. The parent bookmark presents information from the parent column of the calendar in a bookmark format to facilitate easy review and planning.

The Entry to School Parent Resource Guide provides parents with information and tips regarding key components of the transition to school. Although created for parents, this resource guide can prove beneficial for staff of early childhood settings and service providers supporting children and their families. The format of the resource guide aims at facilitating quick access to the following key topics:

  • Introduction
  • Why Disclose
  • Creating a Parent Information Binder
  • Welcome to Kindergarten
  • Developmental Screening Clinics
  • The Case Conference
  • The Transition Plan
  • Staggered Entry
  • Creating a One Page Profile
  • Sample One Page Profile
  • Creating a Portfolio
  • Creating an All About Me Album
  • Sample All About Me Album
  • Creating an I’m Going to School Album
  • Ideas for Preparing Your Child for Kindergarten
  • School Day Schedules
  • The IEP
  • The IPRC
  • Contact Information Sheet
  • Telephone Call Record Sheet
  • Meeting Record
  • List of Acronyms
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Parent Resources


Each topic is presented as a one or two page document. Topic documents were deliberately limited to a maximum of two pages to ensure essential information was highlighted and to respect the parent friendly nature of the resource guide.

Parents wishing more in-depth information will find some additional resources they can examine.

In an effort to include all children who require additional support and services, the focus group chose to use the term additional needs rather than special needs. The term special needs tends to refer to children who have received a formal diagnosis and may fail to acknowledge the needs of children who have received and will require varying levels of support but do not have a formal diagnosis.

Project leads would like to thank all of the focus group members for their commitment to this project and to the children they serve. A special thank you to the parents who kindly volunteered their time to review every part of this resource to ensure it met its goal as a clear, user friendly resource for parents of children with additional needs. In addition, the focus group would like to thank the District of Parry Sound Best Start Network for entrusting it with the very important task of creating a district-wide approach to the transition into school for children with additional needs and their families as they embark on this very important part of their journey.


(1) Planning Entry to School, a Resource Guide (2005) Ontario’s Ministry of Education

(2) Focus Group Membership

  • Almaguin Highlands Community Living (AHCL)
  • Community Care Access Centre (CCAC)
  • Community Living Parry Sound (CLPS)
  • District of Parry Sound Best Start Network
  • Hands, the Family Help Network
    • Infant and Child Development
    • Treatment and Intervention Preschool to Six (TIPS)
  • Near North District School Board (NNDSB)
  • New Horizon Montessori Early Learning Centre
  • Nipissing Parry Sound Catholic District School Board (NPSCDSB)
  • North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit (NBPSDHU)
  • One Kids Place Children’s Treatment Centre (OKP)
  • Parents of children with additional needs
  • District of Parry Sound Social Services Administration Board (PSDSSAB) – Children’s Services
    • Integration Support Services
    • Licensed Child Care
    • Early Years/Best Start Child and Family Centres
  • Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board (SMCDSB) 



Disclaimer: This document reflects the views of the author. It is Autism Ontario’s intent to inform and educate. Every situation is unique and while we hope this information is useful, it should be used in the context of broader considerations for each person. Please contact Autism Ontario at info@autismontario.com or 416-246-9592 for permission to reproduce this material for any purpose other than personal use. © 2012 Autism Ontario  416.246.9592  www.autismontario.com.