Seven Steps for Setting up a Stellar Autism Room
… or how to incorporate these steps into your general ed room
Work Tasks, Academic Work, and IEP Goals
Here is the big kahuna – you’ve gotten organized, your classroom is set up, you have schedules, and you have a data system – so now, what work are your kids going to do? Since some kids with autism are not on grade level – we usually cannot use the typical set of textbooks without accommodation. All of the work my students do is completely individualized. I make most of the materials my students use. Don’t get overwhelmed – it’s taken me years to build up my collection of resources. I try to use my school’s curriculum approaches whenever possible.
IEP Goals: So this is where it all starts – IEP goals are all based on state standards or common core. So they are a differentiated version of the general education curriculum.
Academic Work: So again I try to use the same curriculum as the rest of the school whenever possible. That way I have something to talk about in grade level meetings, with other teachers, and the is some basis for comparison. It also makes inclusion opportunities much easier! So for my students who are working on more academic goals –
- For reading I used Guided Reading. In addition, my kids work on sight word fluency with Dolch sets and functional vocabulary words with daily timings. We also use the Words Their Way series for spelling (it’s GREAT for children with autism – very visual and lots of repetition if done correctly). We also do read alouds, extensive activities on answering wh- questions, and individualized lessons on comprehension (these are areas my kids really struggle). For writing, I used an adapted version of Writer’s Workshop. I supplement this with my own writing lessons and activities as well. We also do weekly vocabulary words.
- I kind of do my own thing for math because my school uses Everyday Math and I don’t think it’s a great fit for my kids. I used to use Touch Math but honestly it’s too hard to fade out those dang touch points! My students also work on fluency with math facts (addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division and/or a combination), time (to the hour, half hour, quarter hour, minute and/or a combination), and money (coin identification or coin combinations).
- For science and social studies, my coworker and I make all of our own materials. She makes science units and I make social studies units and our kids switch classes for these work tasks. This works out amazingly. If you can figure something like this out – do it! This is the social studies unit we are doing in September!
You don’t need everything done before the first day of school – this is something you will develop and grow!