Welcome Back-to-School! No matter how many years I have been teaching, organizing my classroom for the school year is a new challenge. Whether it’s getting nine students who are brand-new to my classroom, or figuring out a better way to start the year with students I’ve had before, I have always tried to use The Autism Helper products in new and interesting ways or challenged myself to use products that I have not utilized before in my classroom. Here are five essential Autism Helper products from Teachers Pay Teachers that I am using at the beginning of the school year in my classroom…

1. Special Education Must-Have Forms and Templates

This is one of the most comprehensive products The Autism Helpers (TAH) has to offer! Special Education Must-Have Forms and Templates features a start of the year questionnaire for parents, life skills rating form, hygiene permission form, parent volunteer letter, sample supply list and sample welcome letter. Even if you have already started the school year, you can choose to send the parent questionnaire and the life skills rating home before a student’s IEP meeting.  This product also includes IEP forms including an IEP reminder note home template, form for parents to fill out outlining skills their child has and skills they want them to learn, lesson plan templates and more! You get 62 pages in PDF and an editable version in Microsoft Word. This is definitely a resource you want to have on hand as a cluster program teacher!

2. Seven Steps for Setting Up a Stellar Autism Room

This is a must-have for new and veteran teachers alike! Seven Steps for Setting Up a Stellar Autism Room includes seven detailed checklists outlining the most important to-dos for setting up an autism room. Even if your school year has already started, using these list can help get your room on track. This school year, I have nine students who are band-new to my classroom, so my classroom set-up time will be ongoing throughout the first quarter as I get to know my new students. This product features seven 1-2 page comprehensive checklists regarding schedules, behavior data, IEP goals and more! Check out the video tutorial on this product here.

3. 2018-2019 Visual Monthly Calendars 

All students benefit from what knowing what is going to happen next, but schedules and calendars are key for students with autism. The 2018-2019 Visual Monthly Calendars for Children with Autism have been something I have used each year in my classroom. I print off the whole school year of calendars for almost all of my students (with the exception of students who might need one month at a time or have a visual impairment).  They come in PowerPoint or in a PDF format so you can edit and add your own events as needed. Last school year, I had my students write in special events or no school days, like a functional calendar an adult would use. I have students cross out the days or ask them how many days until a special event. Using visual calendars in the classroom is a very functional way to teach calendar skills, planning in advance and keep track of important events!

4. Visuals for Common Classroom Routines 

The beginning of the school year is all about procedures! Going over procedures is essential at the beginning of the school year, so that students know what is expected of them. And ultimately, if you practice and maintain the procedures at the beginning of the year, they will become second nature to the students and you will spend little to no time on procedures in the middle of the year, so you are able to focus on instruction. The Visuals for Common Classroom Routines features 25, one-page, step-by-step instructions for common classroom routines including turning in homework, playing a game and lunchtime/recess procedures. You can post them in your classroom or around the school. Check out the video tutorial for this product here.

5. Classroom Jobs Visual Directions and Labels 

Classroom jobs are an important part of any classroom, especially in a cluster program. Classroom jobs teach functional life skills, give students ownership of their classroom and teach responsibility. Classroom Jobs Visual Directions and Labels has two sets for a total of 21 classroom jobs. Classroom Jobs Visual Directions and Labels Set 1 has ten different jobs including pushing in chairs, cleaning tables and sweeping. Click here for the video tutorial.  Classroom Jobs Visual Directions Set 2 contains eleven different jobs including line leader, folder helper and bathroom monitor.  Both of these products feature visual directions for common classroom jobs in order to make it easy to teach students how to complete each job.

I hope you find theses resources helpful in your classroom for the beginning of the school year and beyond! Check out The Autism Helper’s blogs for more tips, guides and advice. Also, check out The Autism Helper’s Teachers Pay Teachers Store for more easy-to-use and effective products and materials!

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