Monday, September 29, 2014

Visual Schedules in the ASD Classroom

"Evidence suggests that students with ASD struggle with unstructured time and benefit from the increased structure of a visual schedule."
Why implement a visual schedule in your classroom?

  • Improves receptive language
  • Expands child's interests
  • Increases flexibility
  • Reduces inappropriate behaviours caused by anxiety 
  • Transition tool 
  • Develops independence, organization - put it in the IEP! 

One schedule does not fit all, and just like any other teaching tool schedules need to be differentiated to fit the individual needs of each of your students. Don't make all your schedules look the same! Making a variety of different schedules (i.e. reading up/down, left/right) to help your students generalize this skill. Below are some examples of visual schedules I use in my ASD class:

A Master Schedule offers a quick glance for those students who can read from the board. It also helps staff stay organized and will let anyone know who walks into the room exactly what you are doing that day.

Individual Student Schedules

Schedule Wall

The Schedule Wall holds every student's individual visual schedule. I use the wall above to store PCS that are not being used. If you have some capable students who can help you set these up at the end of the day - it may be a good time to teach about "tomorrow" and prepare for the coming day. A shoutout to @andreahaefele for helping me make permanent/reusable schedule boards out of hardwood!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Welcome to the Primary ASD Community Class!

I began the third year of my Special Education career opening a brand new, freshly built Primary Community Classroom in an existing school. What an amazing opportunity to completely design my very own classroom space and start from scratch with my own program. With some help from S.B. Linton, I set up my classroom in a way that would best serve my students.
September 2014
"Every space in the ASD classroom has a meaning, purpose and function to the students who use it. It must reflect the strengths and personalities of its students and accommodate their needs."

Kitchen & Life Skills Area
The Kitchen is used for snack and mealtimes, cooking, group
sensory activities and our new Life Skills centre. 

Desk Work Area

Individualized work stations allow students to complete Desk Work with limited distractions in an environment that fosters independence. The environment allows for 1:1 support for students who need it, and also for staff to float between more independent students while they work.

Schedule Wall
The Schedule Wall is the hub of the classroom. Students with Autism rely on schedules to organize, self-regulate and maintain consistency in what can be an overwhelming school day.

Play Area
My students are Grades K-2 aged, so I sectioned off a corner in my classroom as a Play Area to store toys and games, as well as a board to show off their work.

Meeting Area
The Meeting Area is where we hold Morning Meeting and Circle Time activities daily. Here, we have access to the Smartboard and also our IAS bins.

Staff Area
The Staff Area was a last minute addition to my class. I was once told that the best classrooms don't have a teacher's desk. I found this particularly tricky when deciding where to leave day plans and supply plans. I don't use my desk, so I shoved it in a corner simply to hold these administrative items.

Break Room
The Break Room is place where students can choose to take a break,
calm down and relax. Here is where we conduct self-regulation programs for
students dealing with anxiety and behaviours. 
*Sensory post coming soon!*