An Effective Classroom Set Up Which is Engineered for Students with Autism
An engineered environment in which the teacher and classroom team specifically create will benefit your students. To start with, think about the physical space you have available in your classroom. How can you use the space most effectively? Will having a teacher desk, or two or three, take up much needed space for the student work areas? Or can they be placed in some non-conspicuous manner? For example, in a way that will allow them to be used as a support for a partition or divider. So that a work-station can be placed in front of or to the side of the desk. Also, think about the physical boundaries that are not there but can be manufactured using furniture, carpets, tables, tape lines etc.
When setting up, it is equally important to give thought to the visual supports that will be available throughout the classroom. Schedules, of course are most useful for students who may have a difficult time remembering information or who may need visual supports to understand information. Posters with the picture and name of the area are useful for students who are not yet reading. It helps them to see where to go, even if they cannot read it.
Landing pages are helpful because students can take their schedules cards and match them up to the pictures on the landing pages to know where to go to next.
Also, the landing pages give them a place to put the schedule card when it is not being used.
Visual supports, in general, cannot be over emphasized. From morning routines, to hand-washing, to countdown boards for helping students give up a turn, engineering the environment is a much needed skill in an autism or special education classroom.