The transition experience to pre-school for six families with children with disabilities

Mara Cohen Podvey, Jim Hinojosa, Kristie Koenig

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The purpose of this qualitative study was to gain an understanding of how families receiving related therapy services experience the transition from early intervention to pre-school special education. Participants were six families with a child who received early intervention services and became eligible for pre-school special education services. Data was collected using in-depth interviews over 3 months. Grounded theory lead to theoretical insights and supported the development of three themes and a metatheme. ‘Transition is scary’, describes the families' feelings about the transition itself and their own perspectives of how their families fared. ‘Therapy is central to progress, but not to transition’, reflects how therapy remained central to their children's progress, but did not help families acclimate to the pre-school environment. ‘Communication is key to comfort’, expresses the importance of communication with all relevant parties. The metatheme ‘The Outsiders’ describes how the transition represents a significant status change for the family in terms of their involvement in their children's education, but also highlights the ways in which families continue to meet the needs of their children outside of the pre-school milieu. Findings suggest that families perceive the transition as difficult despite the presence of policies designed to make it easier for them. A deeper examination of policy and its influence on everyday practice related to the transition must occur to help reconcile the reasons for this difference.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)177-187
Number of pages11
JournalOccupational Therapy International
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2010


  • Children with disabilities
  • Family-centred
  • Infants with disabilities
  • Occupational therapy
  • Related services
  • Toddlers with disabilities
  • early intervention
  • pediatric intervention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Occupational Therapy


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