I know a lot of teachers and schools are setting up ASD classes for the first time this September , and many are facing into an empty room with very little to go on. So this is just what I feel is necessary in a classroom, from my experience. If I have omitted anything let me know and I’ll add it!
So first of all the furniture, if you can get a horseshoe table. These are essential for coming together for circle/morning time. In an ideal world every ASD class would have the individual work stations with the nice drawers and shelves etc. Unfortunately a lot of classes just have your standard school desk due to budgetary reasons. Just work with what you have anyway, but every child needs their own desk and work station.
A set of comfortable chairs or cushions for your library or for Attention Autism time.
A well stocked library with a variety of books, depending on your age group. If a younger class , I’d recommend the Usborne ‘That’s Not My’ series, board books, musical books, nursery rhymes and high interest books which may be based on their interest, be it ‘Paw Patrol’ , ‘PJ Masks’ etc. These can be added throughout the year as you get to know the children.
Perhaps most important, is to have the visual timetable up and running and displayed on the wall for the first day for the children to arrive. If you use PECS have these cards ready to go-that can be time consuming so give yourself plenty of time. I would recommend having any resources you’ll be using ready to go, e.g choice boards, first and then charts etc.
Generally speaking you will need as many hands on resources as you can get. Children with autism are visual learners and so active and hands on resources will help a lot. Wooden toys, jigsaws, puzzles with numbers, games, etc. I’ll attach photos of some of mine.
The list of what you could potentially need is honestly endless so I’ll just make a list here of the essentials!
Lots of blue tack
Lots of velcro
magnetic letters and tins
Pom poms and tweezers or clothes pegs
Toys for water and sand play. ( Tesco is great for reducing these at this time of year)
Variety of jigsaws from two piece to more difficult.
Orchard Learning Games ( I always find these in charity shops in perfect condition!)
Mini whiteboards and markers
Variety of writing materials , bingo markers, stampers, markers, crayons, etc.
Make sure you have the proper pencils if you have younger children, the ones that are shaped to help them hold the pencil properly and to have the right grip.
Counters for maths, the little bears are great, but your school should have all of this maths equipment in place already, along with beads for threading exercises and so on. The Ready Set Go maths programme is amazing and great for the younger classes. Again, most schools will have a copy of the book.
As you can see there’s a wide variety here for all different abilities. The Orchard jigsaws I picked up range from two pieces to 24 pieces. I have a variety of jigsaws to work on number skills from 1-20. I also have a number of high interest books with figures which I picked up on Dunnes- PJ Masks and Paw Patrol are always popular and the figures are great because they help the children stay focused on the story.
The board games including Connect Four and Pop up Olaf are for working on social skills and turn taking.
There’s probably so much more , as I think of more I’ll edit the post and add to it. Most of all the children need a teacher who cares, and will do their best for the children in their care.