Factors contributing to the successful transition of preschoolers with and without Developmental Delay into school
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Entry into kindergarten marks the beginning of formal education and has the potential to pave the way for future academic success or failure. The transition into school is expected to be a challenging time for children and their families and these challenges are likely to be enhanced for children with developmental delays (DD). Despite the importance of this period, school transition for children with DD has not been well researched. Twenty-nine parents of preschool aged children with DD, and 17 parents of children without DD participated in three one-hour phone interviews throughout the course of the child’s transition into school. The Double ABCX Model was used as a framework for the current study to measure the outcome of transition (X) (using quality of life and school readiness), which is influenced by characteristics of the child (A), resources (B) and parental perceptions (C). The objectives of the study were to: 1) describe a sample of children and their families who were transitioning into school, investigate the similarities and differences between children with DD and without DD, and investigate changes over the course of transition; and 2) determine which factors contribute to a successful transition for children with and without DD. Results showed that children with DD had lower adaptive and higher maladaptive behaviour; and were utilizing more formal services and participating in less social activities than children without DD. Parents of children with DD reported lower family income, higher parental stress, different patterns and types of perceptions, and different use of coping. Very few variables changed over the course of transition. There were no significant predictors of the child’s quality of life; and only adaptive behaviour predicted all aspects of school readiness, with family income also predicting the child’s social and emotional well-being. Implications and directions for future research are discussed.