Seven Steps for Setting up a Stellar Autism Room

… or how to incorporate these steps into your general ed room

1. Organization and Planning

2. Classroom Structure

3. Schedules

4. Visuals

5. Data

6. Work Tasks, Academic Work, and IEP Goals

7. Communication



Ooooohhh data – my one true love. I’m not even being sarcastic. I love data like sorority girls love polka dots. As a future behavior analyst, I live and breath data. Applied Behavior Analysis is all about making data based decisions, taking data that is reliable and accurate, and using scientific based processes to analyze the relationship between behaviors and the environment. So yea I’m a self admitted data nerd. I’ve turned my two aides into little data taking machines and I just love it!

How I chart my data: I chart all of my students’ data on Numbers on the iPad (here is a tutorial!). It’s an awesome app that keeps everything super organized and in one place. I love that it’s on the iPad and I can bring it all around the room to where all my data sheets are when I’m updating my charts. I usually update my charts once a week. I wish I did it more often but I honestly just don’t have the time. Weekly isn’t ideal but it’s not the worst either so I’m okay with 🙂 Look at some of my beautiful data:

How I organize my data: I have gone through maaaaaaaany phases with my data organization. I have done a binder per student system, a binder per stations system, a big binder with everyone, a post it system – you name it, I’ve probably tried. My best piece of advice is: find a system that works for you! You can have the best data taking system but it will be worthless if you don’t actually use it! Figure out a way that will be easy enough for you to use on a daily basis. There is so much going on in our classrooms that we need a data system that is easy!

  • In my direct instruction station, I have a cardboard folder for each student where I put all the relevant papers we are working and their data clipboard. On this data sheet goes all goals I work on at the “teacher time” station and all other miscellaneous goals (community goals etc.). On this data sheet I also keep track of where I am taking data on the other goals so I know where all the data is for each student. 


  • For the stations my aides run, they have data sheets for each student for the goals they run. I chart the data they take weekly and the we discuss how they are going and if we need to make changes. This system works really well for me. I think my aides feel like they have some ownership since I involve them in the decision making. I show them the charts as they are updated which I think is motivating as well.
  • For data that is taken in other locations, the data is at the stations where the data is taken! So simple yet so brilliant. I even go so far as to velcro a pencil next to the data sheet. My aides made fun of me at first but you better believe you won’t be taken data if you don’t have a pencil… Other places we take data are at the work station center, table time, on visual schedule completion, hygiene – and all of those data sheets are in that center.


  • For data on behavior, I keep a set of data clip boards in the middle of the room on a board. I keep all relevant behavior information on this board actually. These change out throughout the year as other behaviors become more prevalent you and you may want to be taking more frequent data.
How I make my data sheets: I am very particular about my data sheets (shocking – I know). I spend a long time making the data sheets I use so they are easy to fill out. Again the easier they are to fill out – the more likely you will use them!
  • fill in the names of the students if you are using the same sheet for multiple student fill in the names of the sets you are working on (multiplication, kitchen words, numbers, etc.)
  • for discrete trial – fill in the names of items ahead of time (ie: if you working on letter identification – fill in the letters in the data sheet)
  • make codes for prompts (pp= partial physical, v=verbal, g= gestural etc.)
  • create sheets so you are circling when possible – ie: circle what prompt you used instead of writing it in

Here is my set of 20 data sheets on TpT! It’s one my best sellers!

Sasha Long
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