REMINDER, REMINDER...Our 9 Teacher Tested Strategies to Prepare Your Autism Classroom FREE guide is now available !!!

Ready to move from not knowing, feeling overwhelmed, and a in a state of stress not knowing what to do to get prepared for the school year for your students with autism?

The question for most teachers over the summer break is: What do I need to get my ready for my students?

Some teachers are new, some just need help thinking things through, some are looking to growth professionally and others are looking for design ideas for their autism classroom set up. No matter what you are looking for, may have a blog, webpage or digital resource to help. This blog post is to share with you all the information about the signature book for autism support educators.

So, while you are here, let’s take a look into the 3rd Edition of the How to Set Up a Classroom for Students with Autism Book.

how to set up a classroom for students with autism

This book might for you if any of the following ring true:

1. You are looking to find ways to prepare over the break.

2. You have started but need some direction.

3. You would like a guide you can reference from time to time.

There is no doubt that students with autism usually present unique sets of skills and challenges to schools, and teachers, administrators, paraprofessionals, and related service providers. Some really need to stretch to meet their unique needs effectively. The book considers that and tries to guide you step by step. If you are a college professor teaching student teachers, a teacher, an administrator, a paraprofessional, or a related service provider, this book may be exactly the help you have been looking for.

Here are the chapters:

First Things First
Strategy 1 Detailed Assessments
Strategy 2 Use a Variety of Schedules
Strategy 3 An Effective Classroom Environment That is Engineered for Students with Autism and Other Communication Needs
Strategy 4 A Data System for Tracking Learning Objectives
Strategy 5 A Plan for Collaborating with Others
Strategy 6 Staff Knowledge of ABA and Other Effective Teaching Methods
Strategy 7 Extensive Communication Supports, Language Based Lessons and Visual Supports for Language
Strategy 8 Behavior Support Plans (Classroom Support & Individual Support Plans)
Strategy 9 Address Ongoing Sensory Issues
Strategy 10 Activity-Based Instruction

Organized and succinct, How to Set Up a Classroom for Students with Autism- Third Edition is a comprehensive manual that provides you with immediate, practical assistance, classroom organization ideas and a guide about how you can plan, organize, coordinate, implement, and monitor an educational program to get the best results in your special education class. 

This comprehensive guide of 177 pages will tell you in detail most of what you need to know and understand about organizing a special education classroom. An idea…think about getting this manual now and using it over the break. This manual is so comprehensive and detailed that you will need time to take it all in. It can also be used for professional development, a book study, coaching/mentoring teachers and/or program quality effectiveness.

The idea is to walk any special education teacher or administrator through the process of effectively setting up a practical and effective classroom in this simple to use book.autism classroom ebook printed page

The manual is written for teachers, professors, administrators, and related service personnel who are responsible for teaching kids and youth with autism and other cognitive delays or professionals new to working with students in autism classrooms and self-contained special education classrooms. 

This guide is impressive as it brings in various evidence-based interventions to novice as well as experienced educators, teachers, and administrators who are looking for meaningful and practical strategies for teaching young students with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorders).

Autism Classroom ebook Pictures Chapter 2

One glance at the table of contents, which includes Behavior Support Plans and A Data System for Tracking Learning Objectives, and you will likely recognize there are topics that you know are need to be discussed, but may have not yet been discussed.

autism behavior support

The best thing about this manual is that the solutions it presents are positive and practical and explain the various reasons behind the methods and strategies you will use. There are step-by-step and field-tested guidelines and tips and there are ideas about how to write a basic behavior intervention plan. You can use this manual to learn the beginning basic information about functional behavior assessment, applied behavior analysis, and positive behavioral supports.

One of the best parts about the manual is that it features end of the chapter questions and a "game plan" for each chapter. There are also sidebars highlighting major points, checklists and printable pages (labels), vignettes, and summaries for use in organizing your classroom!

Autism Classroom ebook checklist picture

This is the one to order and know for a fact that you will be using it all year. The simple to use format allows teachers, educators, administrators to quickly and easily look up a quick solution and also plan ideas, procedures and lessons.

If you are looking for solutions, support and guidance within the classroom setting, who knew it may be in the form of a book? But this book is “meaty” and cannot and should not be consumed all at once.

What we all know is that the classroom isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ environment! Teachers, professors, and administrators, it is now possible to accommodate various types of learning differences in your classroom and sustain a positive and healthy learning environment for all of your students. This manual is a must-have for all-inclusive classrooms too, as it can be a valuable addition to your resources and provides further starting points on how you can increase engagement for all students in your class.

This manual is carefully designed to be an at-your-fingertips resource. Do you have a kid who is chewing his clothing into little bits? If so, you can easily consult the table of contents in order to find the section on the specific issue and learn and understand what is potentially at the root of that behavior. The book is excellent as it will break down this behavior into possible sensory explanations. It also provides a few ways that you can address the difficulties.

Whether your students have autism, ADHD, or an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), How to Set Up a Classroom for Students with Autism-Third Edition is the authoritative reference manual with the tools and resources to help you get ready for students. Buy now and take control of your classroom planning.


Buy The Book Below:



 For the digtial course based on the book look here.autism classroom courses foundation to impact purple

Untitled design

Inside: Autism Classroom's guest blog series, showcasing with articles/blogs, supports and resources from various educators.

Interrupting others, or ‘blurting,’ is a challenge for many children with special needs. Yet, refraining from blurting is very important to maintain good conversations, collaborative work production, social interactions, and indeed, friendships.

Conversing, working or playing with someone who frequently blurts out, is usually very frustrating for others. Teaching and supporting students to decrease blurting, will help them maintain better all-around relationships with their peers.

When teaching students how to stop, or decrease blurting, I always start by teaching them why they should stop blurting.

Many students who blurt frequently, have challenges with perspective taking, and may not understand the way their blurting makes others feel. In order to ‘buy into’ decreasing blurting, these students will need to learn how their peers feel, when they do it. This can be achieved through a combination of explicit teaching experiences involving; instructional activities, role-playing, discussion, the use of specifically targeted videos and stories.

Three of my favorite stories to address interrupting/blurting are; Interrupting Chicken by David Ezra Stein, Lacy Walker, Non-Stop Talker by Christianne Jones and The Blurter by Katy Sojka. Reading a story can be a great way to start a discussion on how and why to stop blurting.

Need a social story to help one of your students decrease blurting? Click HERE for a story appropriate for Preschool-Kindergarten, HERE for a story appropriate for K-2nd grade and HERE for a story appropriate for 3rd-5th grade.

Interrupting and blurting may make others feel:

  • That you are more concerned with your opinion than theirs
  • That you feel what you have to say is more important than what they were saying
  • Disrespected and unimportant
  • Confused and or worried that they will not get to finish what they were trying to say

Our students may need help understanding that these are not good feelings and are not the messages we want to send to others.

I like to teach my students to consider how they would feel if someone did this to them. This can be a great time to teach a lesson on ‘The Golden Rule’ {treating others they way we want to be treated}.

Next, students may need to be supported to gain an awareness of why they blurt.

Behavior is a form of communication, and it is critical to understand what the behavior of blurting is communicating, to maximize success in decreasing it.

When seeking to decrease blurting behavior in a student, we should start by asking ourselves, “Why might this student be blurting? What is it that they are communicating?”

Some reasons children may blurt are:

  • They lack self awareness
  • They have poor self regulation
  • They have decreased perspective taking skills
  • They have a fear of forgetting what they want to say
  • They have poor active listening skills
  • They feel a need to be in control
  • They are really excited about a topic
  • They have challenges with conversational turn taking/timing

Teaching Students To Decrease Blurting

Modeling good conversational behaviors and skills and providing plenty of practice and support through short, scaffolded and facilitated chit-chat, is a great way to start.

First, remind students that they will need to take turns talking and discuss why.

Things to Try:

  • Decide on a signal {blurt alert sign, hand up, etc.}.
  • Teach students to ‘notice others’ and think about when it may be a good time to talk or listen
  • Teach students to wait for an ‘open space’ before talking
  • Teach students when to use an ‘acceptable interruption’ for example; in an emergency or to show excitement at the very end of the speaker’s statement

Teach ‘active listening’ {careful listening by noticing non-verbal cues and demonstrating to the other person that you are listening}

Some strategies that may help your students to use active listening may be; to look at the speaker, think about what they are saying, notice their body language and facial expressions, and to use facial expressions and body language to show you are listening.

Need some explicit teaching activities to help? Click HERE to see my Conversation Behaviors set.

With thoughtful, consistent and compassionate practice and instruction, students who blurt can learn to become more aware of themselves and others, improve self-regulation and increase perspective taking to limit the occurrence of this behavior.

Would you like a fun activity to help your students learn the difference between blurting out {Rude Interruptions} and Acceptable Interruptions? Click HERE for a free behavior sort activity.

Rude vs. Acceptable Interruption Freebie pic


You can read more about conversational skills in my blog post HERE.

Thanks So Much and Happy Teaching!

Cindy ~Socially Skilled Kids

Inside: Autism and reading supports. Tips on teaching a child with autism to read, trying visual strategies and reinforcement.

asd reading


Students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) usually have more difficulty learning the traditional way because they may be wired to process information differently. That’s why teaching an autistic child to read can be a more challenging experience to guide them through. On one hand, you may have a child who teaches themselves to read, on the other hand you may have a student who needs extra guidance in this area. However, no matter where your child is located on the spectrum, there are plenty of strategies out there to help customize a perfect learning plan. Let’s explore some strategies to teach a child with autism to read and shape them into the best learners they can be.


Directly Teach the Skills You Want the Student to Learn

Many students with autism benefit from direct, systematic instruction to learn new skills. Reading is no different. It might be overwhelming at first to jump right away into reading comprehension. That’s why you may want to start by directly teaching the consonant and vowel sounds to build up important alphabet knowledge and letter recognition. These may need to be focused on one at a time or a few at a time until each is mastered. Try breaking up your learning sessions into short and effective chunks, so your student can get the information without being overwhelmed by too many letters. Some people choose to start with the letters in the student’s name as the first letters to target.


Don’t Be Afraid to Teach Phonics

Especially when it comes to autism and reading, it’s key to incorporate learning phonics as part of the instructional process. Sometimes people may be tempted to skip this part when teaching a child with autism to read and go directly to teaching sight words. However, if students are younger and have limited verbal skills, you really don’t know what they are picking up. They could be talking in all of the information that you have, but just not showing you that they know it. It is important to provide the opportunity for them to learn the letter sounds and phonetic spelling of words. When you teach this, give instructions with as much clarity as you can. Autism Classroom has set of phonics worksheets to support instruction in that area.

Phonics for Students with autism Picture


Make it Visual

Reading itself, is a visual strategy, of course. But for student with autism, we need to up the visual ante. We can do this by using drawings, pictures, and photos to accompany the reading. Having flashcards with word and picture can help some students to understand the association. Just be sure to use various photos to represent a topic or word so that the student understands that this word has several ways it can be represented. For example, if teaching the word pen, be sure to have pictures of several different pens so that the student does not think that only a blue ink writing utensil is a pen. Another option if your student is a visual learner, try to get creative and use objects like rice, little candies, or chips to shape out some letters. If your student loves to use their hands the most, be sure to take advantage of magnetic whiteboards that have moveable letters or stick labels onto their favorite toys and gadgets. No matter what technique you use, it’s important that you help your child discover the method they learn the best with.


Use Reinforcement

While kids with autism are fantastic at interpreting everything quite literally, reading comprehension involves a little more work. During your learning sessions, make sure you help your student stay motivated by providing some type of reinforcement during or after the lesson. To provide motivation during the learning session, use characters and topics they enjoy hearing about and seeing to help teach them to read. Incorporate their favorite character to give them the directions for the lesson by having the picture or sticker of the character on the page. Or, show them an image or reminder of what they will be working towards or what they will get, once the activity is complete. An example of this would be our reinforcement pages worksheets where you can put a small picture reminder right on the worksheet. 

autism and reading

As with many lessons for students with autism, try to break up a learning sessions into specific steps or into smaller work sessions as you teach. By making it more manageable by using short work sessions, they may be able to focus more of their energy on skill-building and word retention.


Be Concrete with Examples

Your student with autism may have a tough time trying to understand abstract or verbal examples. They’ll get so much more out of their lessons if you provide concrete examples when teaching spelling and reading concepts. A great way to be more hands-on and concrete is if you take advantage of letter tiles and flashcards. By guiding your student with direct instruction, they’ll be able to experience the titles and cards in a more bite-sized and retainable manner. To get a jump start on this, check out our free Emotions Flash Cards. Another way is to bring in real objects to highlight the words you are trying to focus on. For example, it will be easier for a student to understand what a mitten is if they see the word and see and touch the real object.


Reward the Growth

There’s no doubt about it that learning to read is a big challenge for kids. That’s why you should highlight your student and yourself for the progress that is made. Positive support plays a big role in reading development. Reward effort, keep motivating with favorite items or characters, use visual supports and build your student’s reading confidence.

teaching autistic child to read

how to teach a autistic child to read



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(5 Quick Wins for Preparing Your Autism Classroom For Next Year)


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Join Autism Classroom Courses for this free MasterClass Webinar for educators teaching students with autism.

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5 Quick Wins for Preparing Your Autism Classroom For Next Year


200 behavior questions 


Take a Look: 

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teacher style

Inside: Casual teacher outfits, ideas for clothing, hair, footwear and accessories.

Teaching children with autism and supporting students with special needs brings its own unique set of rewards and challenges. Of the many things that we need to do a little differently, finding our teacher style means striking the right balance of fashion and functionality. That’s because each day is unpredictable and dynamic. Comfort is really the key while still looking put-together and professional and adding our own touch to our everyday look.

Layering & Extra Clothing

Wearing layers is a great way to stay both comfortable and clean. So many outfits can be changed up with something as simple as a cardigan. With a cardigan sweater, you can layer it over short or long sleeved tops, stay warm if it gets chilly, and take it off if it warms up. It’s one of the most versatile pieces to have in your wardrobe. You can find lightweight cardigans for the warmer months and thicker options for colder temperatures. Solid, neutral colors balance out brighter tops, while colorful cardigans can give your outfit a little extra pop. Extra pop is something that Elease from knows a lot about. “I birthed my business with the concept of offering affordable clothes at a fraction of the cost. I decided to open an online business that enables my clients to build on their wardrobe without spending a lot of money,” says Elease. “I opened my unique online business and named it after my mother Sylvia. She always inspired me to be the best version of myself. Had she been alive today, she would be proud of way my dreams have come to fruition.” Elease says that having an extra set of clothing is a pro tip.

With that in mind, it’s a good idea to always have an extra cardigan with you in the classroom in case of spills or accidents, too. Keeping an extra pair of pants or even shoes with you can come in really handy on those challenging days. It might seem silly to pop an extra top into your tote, but you’ll be glad you did if you end up getting spilled on. Think ahead when planning your outfit and packing your bag for the classroom so that you’re prepared for whatever the day may bring.


Many special needs teachers like to keep their hair tied up so that it’s out of the way, and with less chance of being tugged or tangled. However, if you like wearing your hair down, you don’t have to sacrifice your style. Ponytails stand a decent chance of being yanghjkl;'wertyuiked on, too. Keep a few hair ties with you just in case. A clip or barrette can also be a good way to get your hair out of your face in a hurry. Bottom line; don’t spend too much time worrying about your hairstyle each morning. Keep your hair simple, neat, and tidy.


As special needs teachers, we spend much of our day on our feet, moving around the classroom. That makes comfortable footwear essential, but we still need to look professional, rather than casual. The key is finding footwear to go with our teacher outfit that is both versatile and provides support. Many shoe brands today are aiming to strike that perfect balance of comfort and functionality without looking frumpy, so you have more options than ever. Stick to flats instead of heels or pumps, or your feet will surely pay the price after a long day. Once you find a pair of shoes that you like, pick up a few other pairs in different colors, if possible.


Accessories, especially jewelry, can be a great way to dress up any outfit. However, jewelry can quickly become an issue in the special needs classroom. That’s because necklaces, bracelets, and dangly or large earrings can be tugged, pulled on, or catch on something and break. Consider how dynamic your day is in the classroom and keep your costume and sentimental jewelry pieces at home. Stick to studs for earrings and simple necklaces that let you add that little touch of style without becoming a hazard or running the risk of being lost or broken during a hectic moment.

Dressing for the classroom doesn’t have to mean being only practical all of the time. Remember, there are meeting days and professional development days!!! Have fun with your personal style, whether it is plus size teacher outfits, petite outfits, art teacher clothes, student teacher outfits and anything in between, by choosing comfortable pieces in a variety of colors and patterns. Opt for comfort and consider how much of your day you’ll be moving around and working hands-on with your students. By focusing on functionality over fashion, you’ll find what works best for you.


teacher style autism