Organization & Planning {Why Is It SO Tricky?}

Drumroll please – the Summer of the Seven Steps has officially begun! This summer will be dedicated to an over indulgent explanation and elaboration of my Seven Steps for Setting Up a Stellar Autism Room (check out the summer calendar). This week we will be talking about Organization and Planning. This is where it all begins. I like to think of this as the behind the scenes work. This step might not be visible in your finished product picture perfect classroom but believe me if you miss this step the rest of your classroom set up will not line up the way you thought. So save yourself the headache and take some time to plan out your classroom setup attack. Before you do any physical setup or even being to think of schedules – you need to plan out what your students will be working on, how they will be working on these tasks, and what types of centers your classroom needs. Like any good house you need a good foundation – this step enables your classroom to have a strong foundation – ready to stand up to the rear and tear of the intensity of our students.

This week we will be talking about:

1. Why is it so tricky?

2. Big questions & considerations

3. Centers

4. Keeping track of all that paperwork

5. What you can do now.

I have people outside of the special education field ask me – What makes your classroom so different? Why if your setup and organization so tricky? Well – DUH. While this question might seem ridiculously obvious to most of you – I really do get asked this. My response: try figuring out how to teach pronouns and potty training simultaneously. Try writing a lesson plan for both fine motor skills and fractions. Try planning a read aloud comprehension activity while someone is having an aggressive meltdown across the room. Try including students who can’t talk and students who can’t shutup into one room. Yea. Booyah. Our job is so different because our students are SO different. We aren’t talking apples and oranges – we are talking apples and shoe strings. Our students can be as different as you can get. But they are all part of one classroom dynamic. One group. So figuring out how to not only accommodate but TEACH that vast range of minds is flat out tough.

Classroom setup is a daunting task no matter how long you have been teaching. I am switching classrooms next year (to a bigger room – YES!) and I am already feeling overwhelmed. Although I must admit. I am kind of a nerd. I love classroom setup. I love the anticipation. The sudoku puzzle like arranging and rearranging. I love figuring out data systems, schedules, and arranging the physical structure. I told you. I am a nerd. If you aren’t crazy like me and the thought of walking into that stuffy, dusty room in August gives you panic attacks. Hang in there. Read along this summer and you will be set up for a much easier and less stressful back to school season.

The Autism Helper - Planning Your Classroom Setup

Why is classroom setup so important? If your classroom is set up in a way that is purposeful, organized, and efficient, you will be able all of your thousands of job responsibilities easier and better.

If you are brand new to the autism world and have no clue where to start, take a deep breath and relax. This setup guide will get you ready to go. Check out this post on Where to Start:

The Autism Helper - Where to Start

If you are an old pro and have been doing this a while – this setup guide will also get your wheels turning. One of the beauties (or curses…) of our job is that no year is like the one before. No group of students is the same. So each year your classroom structure, dynamic, organization, and setup will change. At least we will never be bored!



  1. Hi Sasha! I’m also moving to a bigger room next year and takin the younger group! Super excited! Thanks for the reminders on set up!!

  2. I too teach an Asd class, and seem like it is never the same… No matter how hard you try! We never stop working even when we should be in summer vacations… School ends and it is our prep time for the following year.

  3. Help ! My room is being moved to a new building .
    I need to start planning and making my independent tasks . Etc .
    Where do I start !?!
    I want to do the 7 weeks.
    I have a ASD 3,4,5 yr old
    Low low spectrum nonverbal .
    I don’t even have IEPS ;(

  4. I am so glad you are doing this! I have been teaching in an autism classroom for 4 years but this fall I am being moved to a new school with all new students! I feel like I’m starting all over. So thank you. Perfect timing!

  5. Sounds like lots of us are moving and Sasha is going to guide the way. Love this blog. I am moving and trying to start my second year in this setting after 15 years of teaching. Need all the guidance I can get.
    Thank you Sasha.

  6. Moving down to the babies! Good luck 🙂 Thanks for reading!

  7. I know! We should be paid double, right? Haha! Hope you find a little summer relaxation in there 🙂

  8. Start easy, easy, easy! You can always make it harder! Basic fine motor and sorting tasks. Make a bunch of PECS pictures, visuals, and schedule cards too!

  9. Aww thanks Patty! Happy summer!

  10. I am so excited that you are doing this! i need hlep as i feel like I never really settled into my classroom last year.


  11. Awesome! Enjoy!

  12. I am so glad I found you!!! I am moving from cross-categorical to MH and you have been so helpful. I am excited to start the new year, in a new building, with a new set of faces. Thank you…thank you… thank you!!!


  13. Thank you for reading, Lillian! I am so happy you have found my site helpful! Good luck with your new job!


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