Classroom Structure {Why is it Important?}

Categories: Resources

Summer of the Seven Steps is well under way! On to Step 2 – Classroom Structure. I have been LOVING all of your super sweet comments and feedback. Keep it coming – it makes my day! Seems like we are all in the same boat on needing to focus on classroom setup. Love it 🙂 Step 1 focused on the behind the scenes work – the prepping and planning. Getting everything in gear. Getting your thoughts together. Figuring out what to do next. So now – it’s time for the next.

You made your list of centers now you need to figure out where to put these centers. This is a PROCESS for me. I need classroom feng shui. I need it to flow. I need it to make sense. Jeez – I soon totally loony. I swear I’m somewhat normal.

Seven Steps for Setting Up a Stellar Autism Room

Agenda for Step 2: Classroom Structure – 

  1. Why is structure important?
  2. Considerations for Structure.
  3. Visually Divided and Defined.
  4. Applications to the General Education Room.
  5. Making the Structure Work.

The Autism Helper - Structure

So what is the big deal with classroom structure? Why is there so much importance placed on this?

The structure of your classroom is critically important for children with autism.

  • environment needs to be predictable {same tables are used for the same type of work each day}
  • you should have separate areas for the different centers and areas of work (independent work, group work, break time, etc.)

The rationale behind using one area or table for only activity is to provide additional cues and prompts for what the student will be doing.  Many people with autism often do not pick up on social cues and/or expressive language. When they arrive at a new location, they often do not understand what is expected of them since they cannot comprehend cues and language. Using additional prompts such as visuals, routine, physical boundaries, and specific tables will help them understand what happens at each center.

 Extreme example (this helped when explaining this to my paraprofessionals!)

Let’s say you got abducted by aliens. You’re probably freaked out, right. They kept talking to you but you don’t speak alienese. But every time they take you to the blue room they give you cookies, every time they take you to the green room you play checkers. Even though you don’t know what they are saying after a few days of this routine, you know what will happen when you walk into the blue room. Okay, fine stupid example but you get my point.

The Autism Helper - Structure


I’ve sold you on the importance and need for a physically structured classroom. The rest of this week will elaborate on how to set up you classroom in a way that maximizes space and stays organized.



Summer of Seven Steps – Seven Steps for Setting Up a Stellar Autism Room

Seven Steps for Setting Up a Stellar Autism Room

Seven Steps for Setting Up a Stellar Autism Room

Seven Steps for Setting Up a Stellar Autism Room


  1. Your alien explanation was totally silly, but so right on cue! 🙂 I may have to use that!

  2. I bet for some of our kids, we may as well be speaking alienese!

  3. Haha – right! Helps it make sense!

  4. True!

  5. Thanks for the information. Your attention to detail is amazing.


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