Thursday, June 20, 2024

How To Set Up A Classroom For Autistic Students

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How To Create An Autism

How to Teach Children with Autism : Setting up Classroom

Over the past few years, more and more people have asked themselves how they can create an autism-friendly environment. Architects have written about designing autism-friendly buildings and families have remodelled rooms to provide positive sensory experiences.

It is clear from listening to people who have an autistic spectrum condition that they can experience the world very differently to others. This can be both debilitating and empowering. In creating an autism-friendly environment we must try to reduce the negative effects of sensory differences and enhance the positive effects.

Every individual on the autism spectrum will experience the world differently from a sensory point of view; therefore, the points below are very generic and, where possible, attention needs to be paid to each individuals preferences.

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Build A Visible Schedule

Autistic children feel calmer when they know what to expect. Teachers could consider posting a visible schedule of each days activities. In classes of older children, that might be a written list or agenda. Younger children might need photographs of the activities to remind them of what activity comes next. A monitor might even be appointed to set up the schedule each day.

Classrooms Friendly To All Kids

  • Age-Appropriate Classrooms
  • Build Quiet Spaces
  • Hands-On and Non-Competitive

Every child is different and those on the autism spectrum can be different-er, so how can teachers make their classrooms friendly to all kids? With new regulations concerning persons with disabilities and the opportunities afforded them, is it a matter of physical surroundings, of attitudes or both? One of the things that kids with autism cite as making them more comfortable is easy to provide. It is a smile. Making a classroom friendly for these kids requires more than creating a happy atmosphere, though. It requires understanding how autism interferes with a childs social and intellectual functioning. Here are five ways a classroom can be made friendlier for mainstream kids and for those with autism.

Related resource:;Top 25 Masters in Autism Spectrum Disorder Online

Read Also: What Is The Life Expectancy Of People With Autism

Be Aware That Your Classroom Decor May Be Overstimulating To A Child With Autism

Classrooms these days tend to be busy with colors and textures. While such decor may appear fun to you, lots of bright colors with no place for the eyes to rest could be hard on the sensory system of a student on the autism spectrum. Consider toning down the decor to include fewer decorations, less intense colors, and a place where a child can rest his or her eyes. In fact, youll likely find a less stimulating classroom to be beneficial for all your students.

Christopher Is Out Of Bounds

Face to Face Early Learning Classroom Set Up
  • Pupils with ASDs are visual learners so they respond better to visual stimuli when marking boundaries within the class or school environment.
  • Creating obvious visual boundaries for play activities is very important as pupils with ASDs find it hard to process two tasks at once for example, play the game and watch out for the boundary sign at the same time.

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How To Set Up A Classroom For Students With Autism

Category: Blog

Ready to move from not knowing, feeling overwhelmed, and a in a state of stress not knowing what to do to get prepared for the school year for your students with autism?

The question for most teachers over the summer break is: What do I need to get my ready for my students?

Some teachers are new, some just need help thinking things through, some are looking to growth professionally and others are looking for design ideas for their autism classroom set up. No matter what you are looking for, may have a blog, webpage or digital resource to help. This blog post is to share with you all the information about the signature book for autism support educators.

So, while you are here, lets take a look into the 3rd;Edition of the How to Set Up a Classroom for Students with Autism Book.

This book might for you if any of the following ring true:

1. You are looking to find ways to prepare over the break.

2. You have started but need some direction.

3. You would like a guide you can reference from time to time.

Organized and succinct, How to Set Up a Classroom for Students with Autism- Third Edition is a comprehensive manual that provides you with immediate, practical assistance, classroom organization ideas and a guide about how you can plan, organize, coordinate, implement, and monitor an educational program to get the best results in your special education class.;

How I Setup My Autism Classroom Schedule

Schedules are vital to running a lot of things in our lives so it is easy to say that we all become used to them. When you are working with students and furthermore, students with disabilities you will find that it is very true that they need structure, routine, and consistency. The best way to do this is to have a schedule for the students and staff at all times.

Whenever I tell anyone that schedules that go over what to do and when to do it each and every day is a must I get this look like how are we going to fill it and that is what I wanted to talk about today. I get questions about how about students that have very few skills or that can only work for a few minutes at a time?

I still say that those students, and sometimes especially those students need the schedule the most!

When it came to setting up my classroom schedule I opened an Office Excel sheet and filled in the time that the students get there in the morning and the time they leave and every 15 minute increment in between. Then I looked at what times of the days were non-negotiable. This means things like lunch, recess , special classes . Those things are always the same so I took an Office Excel sheet and filled those in.

Here is the list of stations that are teacher run today:-Academy- this is run by a paraprofessional.-Fluency-this is run by a paraprofessional.-Reading-this is run by the classroom teacher.-Math-this is run by the classroom teacher.

Recommended Reading: How To Make A Visual Schedule For Autism

Establish A Routine With Them

The world is often a confusing and anxiety-inducing place for autistic children. This is why they find great comfort in a predictable and stable routine. Fortunately, the structured nature of school is perfect for this, but you need to find a way to make their daily routine clear to them.

Creating a visual timetable is an effective and widely-used method for doing so. This involves placing images and simple words on a timetable, in chronological order, to describe the activities and transitions in the childs day. Having this visual aid gives the child a sense of security, while also acting as a reminder for those who support them.

Autism Classroom Set Up

Setting Up A Classroom for Students with Autism

For researchers, autism has been and still is one of the most fascinating developmental conditions. Even though its probably the most prolifically studied disorder, a big part of it remains a mystery that contemplates in scientists minds. And, while we may not know what causes autism and how to prevent it, some studies give us insight into how to adapt our environment to fit the educational needs of ASD students. Autism classroom set up is a good example of such a technique that were going to discuss today.;

Theres a growing consensus among experts that educating students with autism in specially designed classrooms improve their academic performance and social skills. But, how can teachers and homeschooling parents create a classroom suitable for students on the autism spectrum?;

There are many things to be considered, which is why we decided to write a short guide with plenty of resources on how everyone can make the classroom or the educational corner of the house more autism-friendly. We understand that you might not be able to implement all the aspects of an autism-supportive classroom, but we encourage you to keep reading because even little changes can have a great effect!

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Factoring In Autism Severity Level

Since autism exists on a spectrum, some people are more severely impacted by the disorder than others. In a learning environment, the severity level of autism greatly affects the approach to education and appropriate accommodations that should be made.

When the newest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders was published in 2013, autistic disorder, Asperger syndrome , pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified , and childhood disintegrative disorder were combined into one diagnosis: autism spectrum disorder.

The four previously separate diagnoses each contained similar symptoms, just with varying levels of severity. ASD recognizes these shared symptoms as being characterized by a persons challenges in the areas of social communication, social skills, and restricted or repetitive behaviors.

The challenges associated with ASD are then classified by level. The levels of ASD are used to describe the severity of the individuals social skills and problematic behaviors. They are:

Remain Calm During Even The Worst Behavior

It is important to remember that children on the autism spectrum do not melt down to cause a disturbance. Rather, they melt down because all of their senses are in turmoil and its the only thing to do. As a teacher, the best thing for you to do is to remain a calming and supportive presence. The world during a meltdown is already terrifying; the child doesnt need a panicking or angry teacher to add to it.

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Provide Opportunities For Meaningful Contact With Peers Who Have Appropriate Social Behaviour

Students with ASD must be taught appropriate social behaviour and provided with situation-specific expectations for behaviour.Opportunities for contact with peers may include:

  • involving the student in shared learning arrangements
  • pairing the student with buddies for walking down the hall, on the playground playing games, and during other unstructured time
  • varying peer buddies across time and activities, to prevent dependence on one student
  • involving peers in providing individualized instruction
  • arranging cross-age peer supports/buddies by assigning an older student to assist the student with ASD
  • pairing students while attending special school events such as assemblies and clubs
  • facilitating involvement in after-school or extracurricular activities

If your school has an arrangement in which a class of older students is paired with a younger class, ensure that the older student with ASD is also paired, and provide the necessary supports for success.

Why Physical Space Matters To Children With Autism

5 Autism Classroom Layouts & Tips to Create Your Own ...

Students with autism often can be distracted by overwhelming sensory input such as sights, smells, and sounds that can detract focus from teachers and learning . It can also be difficult for a student with autism to differentiate between those environmental stimuli that are relevant to learning and those that are not .

Physical Boundaries and Visual Cues

First, consider what day-to-day activities will take place in your classroom. For most classrooms, there are designated spaces that often need to be maintained including:

  • A technology area
  • Room for both one-to- one instruction along with small-group work
  • A whole class area
  • And a transition space that may serve as a place where students report to after an activity to view the schedule and move on to the next task .;;;;;;

Reduce Auditory and Visual Distractions

Because students with autism, on average, have better developed visual skills than auditory skills, once the floor plan has been considered, establish visual cues in these areas that signal to students where they should sit, where to line up, where to put things, and where to go next . In addition, colored masking tape can be used to section off parts of a classroom to show students that the transition from one space to the next comes with a change in behaviors and expectations. A carpet square or specific spot on the rug helps to provide a visual cue as to where a student should sit and the space he or she has to move.


Also Check: Life Expectancy Of Autism Spectrum Disorder

Be Aware Of Sensory Issues What They Are And Why They Can Be A Problem

You probably dont realize your own sensory issues when you have them. If the music is too loud, you turn it down; if youre too warm, you remove your sweater. But children on the autism spectrum cannot deal with sensory issues like neurotypical people because their senses tend to provide them with unreliable information. Before welcoming an autistic child into the classroom, teachers should become aware of exactly what sensory issues are, and what kinds of sensory issues they are likely to encounter in the classroom.

Provide A Structured Predictable Classroom Environment

A structured, predictable environment is not to be confused with an authoritarian approach. The environment should be structured in order to provide consistency and clarity, so that students know where things belong, what is expected of the min a specific situation, and can anticipate what comes next.

Also Check: Autism In Hindi

Seven Steps For Setting Up A Stellar Autism Classroom: Visuals

Seven Steps for Setting up a Stellar Autism Room

or how to incorporate these steps into your general ed room


Children with autism struggle with expressive and receptive language abilities. Visuals are an essential tool to help students with autism understand their environment and express their wants and needs. Visuals could be used in a special education classroom or in a general education classroom where students are included. This is a simple and great way to incorporate the needs of your students with autism into your general education classroom! It may benefit some of your other students as well!

    • Visual Necklace: I wear these visuals around my neck so I have easy access to them at all times! This is great for students with low receptive language who may not understand my verbal requests!

Visual shopping alerts!

Present Your Autistic Students With Clear Choices

Tips for Teachers to Set Up the Classroom for Students with Autism and ADHD

All children, including those on the autism spectrum, benefit from clear choices. Try not to ask an open-ended question such as: What activity would you like to play at recess today? Instead, ask: Would you rather play Sharks and Minnows or Capture the Flag? Such clear choices allow for less processing time, fewer arguments, and a greater sense of the classroom as community.

Recommended Reading: Life Expectancy Of Autism

Preschool Autism Classroom Layout

Looking for a preschool classroom?;This one was pretty classic. The post;takes you through the different elements of the floor plan !

Looking for an elementary classroom?;Heres a before and after floorpan that shows you how we made changes to it and why. ;Designing Physical Space Part 2-Before & After Floorplan

Autism In The Classroom: Tips From A Parent

Atlanta resident Leslie Wolfe and her husband, Alan, struggle with whether to tell people their son Joshua has autism. The bright 7-year-old did so well in his public school’s first-grade class that many of his classmatesâ parents didnât know Joshua needed extra help.

Wolfe says one reason Joshua is thriving in public school is that the family got started early to help him get ready.

Joshua attended Emory Universityâs Walden School. Walden School is a preschool for children with autism. Each classroom has up to 18 children. There are two âtypicalâ children in the classroom for every one child with autism. The idea is to help the children with autism learn from the behavior of their classmates. Another aim of the Walden School is to help families learn how to deal with autism spectrum disorders.

Wolfe offers these other tips for helping your child with an ASD do well at school.

She suggests showing up a week before school starts. Practice walking to school. Once there, show your child their new classroom. Also show your child with autism how to get to the water fountains and the bathrooms.

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Have A Calm Down Area

Misunderstandings, over-stimulation, or communication breakdowns can lead to frustration or meltdowns. Creating a calming area can help to prevent this from happening. This can be as simple as a desk with dividers by it or a small area in the corner of the classroom with a bean bag chair and some headphones.

Remember: The Calm Down Area should never be used as a form of punishment.

Questions Dealing With The Sense Of Smell

How to Set up the Classroom for Students with Autism and ADHD
  • Are there any smells outside of the room or building that permeate through the walls, windows or doors?
  • Are there any smells from indoors that can cause distress, such as cleaning products, perfumed products or foods?

Some people with autism find smells so overwhelming that they cause extreme nausea. Some will even smell the product long after it has been removed from the room or cupboard.

Recommended Reading: Life Expectancy For Autism

Creating Spaces That Work For Children With Autism

If youre like me, theres nothing more appealing than a home renovation show where a grand reveal shows furniture that is perfectly staged and pristine. As a teacher, this enthusiasm for design and decoration carried over to my classroom even though I was often tasked with making the best out of discarded furniture, fixed bookshelves, and dollar-store items rather than a design team and unlimited budget. Over the years, I learned what design concerns and investments in furniture and materials were worth my time, resources, and energy and what was not.; Ultimately, classrooms are just as, if not more important, than any grand home makeover as it is within those spaces that we, as educators, provide the learning opportunities and experiences of our students.

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