The first part of this blog post focused on the idea of what might make up a classroom program for students with autism. This post will examine what it could look like to put together the lesson management for something like this.

To organize the lessons, think about using a binder with tabs to divide the topics for students.

Consider making tabs and dividers for social skills, play skills, language skills, fine motor skills, phonics, behavior, individual IEP skills, or whatever centers you want to run. I would suggest starting with social skills, language skills and IEP goals. Here is a link to the free binder cover page shown in the this binder. 


Plan quick activities and lessons. You can take a look at these Social Skills activities for an example and the Social Skills Centers Targets for an example of activities that are planned for the year. Or, choose the deficit areas your students need to work on the most. 


These next images show the first week activity suggestions from the Social Skills Bundle. Students and teachers can dive into the classroom rules and expectations.



For teachers of older students, you might like to add executive functioning skills as a center.

Next, make data sheets or general tracking sheets to go with these tabs/dividers as well. IEP goals and objectives may need a more formal and detailed data sheet since you are tracking progress on specific goals. While the classroom program centers may need a more generalize type of checklist that can be used with all students in the centers.

If a binder is not feasible, use a folder for each student. Options for folders:

·        Color-code the folders by topic. For example, the purple folder is for social skills, the orange folder is for play skills, the yellow folder is for language skills.

·        Have a folder for each student with the assignments for the week.

·        Have the entire packet on the right of the folder (using a butterfly clip), and put the assignments for the week on the left.

·        Have assignments in a packet separated by a divider that says Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, etc. (Here is a free electronic download of dividers Week 1- Week 34.)


If using the folder route, it may help to use a 3-prong folder with pockets. Which would mean you will want to use paper that is already 3-hole punched or invest in a really good 3-hole punch device.

 For distance learning, an organized binder separated by each week (ex. week 1, week 2, week 3, etc.) or separated by each activity area (social skills, play skills, language skills, etc.) is probably going to work best for families.

Complete a similar set up for each of the following weeks.



Can most classrooms really say they have a program for their students with autism? We know they definitely have lessons and activities. But, to be implementing a program suggests that an organized set of plans, systems or activities specific to the deficits faced by individuals with autism have been purposeful chosen and implemented to help move students toward a particular long-term goal. And, someone else can follow and repeat the same formula to keep it running. How many can say that?

I certainly like to encourage the use of centers to help in creating a classroom program for students with autism and similar special needs. Centers and rotations (where students rotation from one center to the other in a systematic way) is key. Although for many, this year, it may be through breakout rooms during virtual learning.)

Why a program in a classroom for students with autism?  First of all, some schools there is no curriculum. AND…if there is a curriculum, it needs to be modified so much that it feels like there isn't one.

We know that students with autism have unique deficits in social skills, language and communication skills, and interpersonal behavior. Addressing these specific skills deliberately and daily will lead to improvement.

So what might that look like? Smaller time segments will work for most. Even at home or with distance learning this could work. The program can be run in 35-minute or 45-minute blocks (10 minutes-10 minutes-10 minutes or 15 minutes-15 minutes-15 minutes).  If needed, a two-minute or five-minute break can be given in between.

What centers would make up the program? Since we know that social skills, language skills and interpersonal behavior skills are the major areas most affected by autism, it may work well to start with those. Or, start with social skills, language skills, and individual objectives/goals from the student’s IEP program. Another suggestion would be to add a second set of 10-minute rotations to focus on structured play skills, fine motor skills, and phonics skills. The rest of the day, could be focused on content in subject areas.


Behavior Skills Packet!

Behavior Support is huge right now.  Some schools institute a school-wide intervention for encouraging positive behaviors.  All teachers organize a class wide behavior support system.  But even with that, some students still need more individualized approaches. Sometimes they need direct instruction related to behavior.  Autism Classroom has Behavior Skills Printables.  We also have I Need a Break Cards, Behavior Plan Packs and Transition supports.

The Behavior Skills Printables for Students with Autism & Similar Special Needs are available now. 

Behavior Skills Printables



They are also available in the Social Skills Bundle, with other resources here.



The Behavior Skills Printables offer easy, printable worksheets about for self-control, transitions, work behaviors in the classroom and guidance for being around others.




These behavior skills printables will work well for any students whose special needs include developmental delays or it may work for younger students in primary grades learning to be more aware of their behavior. Take a look below.







The printables can supplement any curriculum or they can be used daily as a discussion starter for developing appropriate behavior skills. This packet includes behavior skills related worksheets that require variations in response styles for many answers. (Ex. matching, cutting, circling, and pasting.)



Use in order or out of order to address any skill that is needed at the time.


The skills are broken up into 4 sections: Self-Monitoring, Transitions, Work Behaviors and Being Around Others. These pages are included:


Self Control

Self-Control Cards

In Control or Out of Control?

Self-Control 2

Self Monitoring

Self-Monitoring Checklist 1

Self-Monitoring Checklist 2

Emotional Control

Staying Seated in Class

Is This Good Behavior?

Behavior Choices (Field of 2)

Breathe In, Breathe Out

Count to Ten

These are Things That Help Me…

These are Things That Calm Me…

How I Feel

What Should She Do?

Classroom Rules

Organize This Desk


What Order is This?

A Change in the Schedule

Making A Schedule

Cards to Help with Change

Making a Reading Schedule

Make Your Own Reading Schedule

Ways to Ask for the Bathroom

Bathroom Routine


What’s the Deal with Transition?

During Math Tina Does This

Mini Schedule Template

Transition Phrases

Group Directions

Group Directions vs. Individual Directions

Waiting Area

Standing in Line

Who is Lining Up Correctly?

Hallway Behaviors

Transition Objects

Can you Carry That?


Finish the Pattern (Work First, Then Play)

I am Working For It !

Make Your Own Incentive Chart

Expected Behaviors for Work Time

Alternatives to Hitting

Behaviors for Work Time

Interfering Behaviors

Using Headphones to Cancel Noise

Request a Break

Off Task (Visual Cue)

Activity Schedule

First, Next Schedule

3 Steps to Following Directions

These are Things That I Would Work For…

Task Analysis

Avoid Task Avoidance


Stamp Out Un-Expected Behaviors (Bring in Expected Behaviors)

Non-Edible Objects

Good Behavior

I Don’t Want to Do This

Hands Off

Aggressive Behaviors

You Want to get an Item: What Can you Do?

Nodding Yes or No

What is a Tantrum?

Why is He Doing This?

Giving Up a Turn on Technology

Drinking Your Own Drink

What Can I do With My Hands?

It’s Too Loud in Here

Not all of the Time


What Helps Me Calm Down?

Behavior Words

Keeping Property Safe

Keeping Property Safe 2


Students can practice ways to answer yes and no appropriately. 


Or, think about why someone may engage in a behavior, offering a glimpse into why they might possibly engage in a behavior. There is also a chance for students to think about and express some positive ways they can try to calm themselves. 



  A full page look at the page related to ways to calm. 










 Hi there. Here is a list of most of the free items from’s TpT Store that can be used the 
first week of school to create meaningful activities.
Use them as they are or use them as a jumping off point
and add your creativity and
style to make them fantastic!



Click here to see the chart of freebies for the first week.




With the recent events occurring in the world, more and more parents have taken on the role of teacher.  For parents of students with special needs, that role has always been there, but has increased.  Parents of children with special needs are used to teaching new skills, encouraging communication and building independence in their children.  However, the added job of teaching "full-time" can cause a bit of concern.  Additionally, there are some parents who have decided to home-school altogether. Although many of you have a copy and are familiar with the guide for setting up a work area at home, this blog post is designed to give the book a closer, more detailed look.
The book, How to Set Up a Work Area at Home for a Child with Autism (2nd Edition) was created to support families and in-home support providers with tools for creating a work space in a home environment for doing homework.  It has now been used by many families to bring the classroom into the home as well. 

The introduction helps to identify items to have on hand when you are first getting started or planning for the beginning of your teaching.

The next chapter briefly reviews different types of schedules. Also, it provides full color schedules that can be cut out of the book, laminated and used.

Data collection is always important.  It helps to let you know if what you are teaching is working. There is a chapter dedicated to that topic.

There are various types of data sheets included in the book in case you want to use them.
It’s always important to locate the type of data sheet that tracks the skill you are working on.  Although, if you want, a quick internet search can give ideas and templates for data collection and progress monitoring.

After the data discussion, this next chapter is on making work systems that children can monitor themselves…eventually.  Of course, they will need much guidance from you at first. In reality, teachers use some of these strategies to build independence even if the progress is gradual.

Some things to remember, these tasks have to goal of teaching children to follow through on a task. So, make the task very easy so that they will not have to ask for help. 
Also, add a visual work system schedule (included in the book) so that they will know what work to do and in what order.
Adult Directed Skills are those tasks that require us to set up, prepare and teach directly. Usually, this is a new skill or an emerging skill.
The book guides you to think about the skills you want to teach and develop your own teaching plan.   

For example, the teaching plan should include the following elements:
·         The Skill to be Learned
·         Materials Needed
·         Plan to Make the Materials
·         Ideas for Data Collection
·         Teaching Technique to be Used
·         Motivator/Preferred Item/Reinforcer
The next chapter focuses on strategies for teaching play skills. And, gives ideas about using visual supports during play time. A copy of two of the Autism Classroom Structured Play Communication Boards are included.

The area on Self-Help Skills helps parents and in-home care providers think about introducing these skills to children in a routine and methodical way.
Transitions are hard for a number of students. Having something your child really likes at the place where they have to transition might help them get motivated to go there. Carrying items to the place can help too.  Visual cues can help some children...and this book has some visual cues that can be cut out and used.

 The hope is that this can be a useful tool to families that are now teaching from home and for teachers who need to provide guidance to families who are teaching from home.

Links to the 2nd edition...only the 2nd edition has the full-color page layout.
(Source: How to Set Up a Work Area at Home for a Child with Autism 2nd Edition: A Manual for Parents, Family Members and In-Home Support Providers from – on Amazon here.

(Source: How to Set Up a Work Area at Home for a Child with Autism 2nd Edition: A Manual for Parents, Family Members and In-Home Support Providers from – on Barnes and Noble here.

Ebook- An electronic download of the book can be purchased at Autism Classroom's Teachers Pay Teachers Store here.