You know what drives me crazy? Those spare five minutes with nothing planned that seem to pop up like chickenpox throughout your school day. A fast working student finishes their work early. A para is out and you have nobody to run a station. Some students are working longer on an activity and the other few students have nothing to do. My go-to for my higher functioning students for those pesky few minutes had been quiet reading. But quiet reading is a nicer way to say my kids stare blankly at pictures in a book. They pretend to quiet read when I glare at them. Can I blame them? Quiet reading is boring and unstructured.

I created a new independent work center that seems to be the perfect combination of structured & unstructured. I made it a little unstructured on purpose. I want to push and challenge my kiddos. Sometimes they need to learn to problem solve on their own. This station is not in their schedule. I know. The horror. They need to figure out when to this station. When they have down time – they need to check into this independent work station. Of course, I gave a bit of a prompt.

The Autism Helper - Independent Work Center

Yes I know independent is spelled wrong in that picture! I fixed it. Of course, my OCD self wouldn’t allow that. The beauty of this station is that it limits how often a student can do each activity. We use one checklist a week and once the item has been completed the specified amount of times – that activity is done for the week.

The Autism Helper - Independent Work Center

No more quiet reading on repeat! This pushes my kids to do activities that they might not prefer.

The Autism Helper - Independent Work Center

 

Here are their choices of activities:

The Autism Helper - Independent Work Center
The Autism Helper - Independent Work Center

The Autism Helper - Independent Work Center

The Autism Helper - Independent Work Center

The Autism Helper - Independent Work Center

We have a few internet programs included on the checklist I have QR codes displayed so kids can easily get to the website.

The Autism Helper - Independent Work Center

We store all paperwork and a finished bin nearby:

The Autism Helper - Independent Work Center

Of course – right by that checklist is a velcro-ed pencil. How would they complete it without a pencil?

The Autism Helper - Independent Work Center

This has gone AMAZING. All caps was necessary. My kids regularly check and select different activities. On Friday I go through their finished work and they get points for work that is well done. It’s great to teach kids to respond to delayed consequences! A video tutorial for this is in the works as well 🙂