Autism Classroom Setup: 10 Things Every Autism Classroom Teacher Needs from Amazon
The other day I was walking in Wal-Mart and I was so sad to see back to school stuff! Fourth of July picnic and party supplies are not even on final clearance yet… why are they reminding me that school will be back in session before I can even toast my buns on the grill and down my summer adult beverage.
The one thing that does satisfy my summer relaxation and obsession with school perfection is shopping for school supplies. I have even taken to letting my kids order their school stuff on Amazon as opposed to schlep the whole crew to the store and fight the impulse buys and the marker boxes that are not exactly what was on the back to school list. They like it and with my Amazon Prime subscription, it comes to my house shipping-free and hassle-free.
This year is the first time I will order my back to school essentials from Amazon as well. With all the browsing and price comparison, I thought I’d share my order top 10 so you can see what I think are essentials for every teacher in Autism Units or Self-Contained settings.
Autism Classroom Setup Need #1:
In self-contained classrooms, we end up working on one activity over and over. In Autism classrooms, we work with predictable templates so students can be successful. No matter which one is more like your classroom, these plastic sleeves lessen the number of copies and are a total life saver. I LOVE mine! They are the best investment I ever made and I use them ALL the time!
Autism Classroom Setup Need #2:
Clear Plastic Containers for Vocational Tasks
I have a lot of independent work stations and vocational tasks in my classroom and they are absolutely a necessary part of teaching self-contained and Autism classrooms. Just managing all the pieces included in adapted activities can be a lot. And when you sprinkle on a little bit of OCD, plastic containers are a must to keep it all organized.
Autism Classroom Setup Need #3:
3-Drawer Unit for Work Systems
I hear from teachers all the time about that feeling of being pulled in several different directions all year long. It feels like students and staff all need you and need you all the time. If you set up independent work systems in your classroom in the fall, it will repay you in spades by freeing up your TIME! That is a game changer, which makes these drawers money well spent!
Autism Classroom Setup Need #4:
I try not to tell people, but I love the smell of lamination going through the machine. And I love making things I know I can use over and over, so investing in my own laminator was a no brainer. I use it all the time and it has paid for itself in spades by saving me time and effort. I have even incorporated the lamination process into my vocational classes so students laminate the work for me!
Autism Classroom Setup Need #5:
Well, you will need the sheets to go with the laminator, so be sure to get an order placed when you get low… so you never run out.
Autism Classroom Setup Need #6:
Like peanut butter and jelly, lamination and velcro are the Autism Classroom match made in heaven. You must have both if you’re going to have either! I had to get some clarification from my SLP on the use of Velcro and she told me the grippy side goes on the piece you put on and take off. The fuzzy side goes on the place where you want it to go. The reason for this is to be compatible with the velcro stands available commercially (and I own 2 and love them), but also to let the grippy pieces stick to the carpet and be universal between your activities.
With that in mind, I tend to order extra grippy pieces because I run out of those first. Just an FYI.
Autism Classroom Setup Need #7:
Binders for Data and Activities
I decided on a color scheme the last few years and like to use a consistent color with my binders that I use, and then another color for the student work activities. Makes it easier for me visually to keep track. Then my data is in a third color so it sticks out. With all that happening, I like to order them in bulk so I have enough and don’t have to be standing in Walgreens with 3 of the same color binders trying to figure out where to find the other ten. This just saves you hassle and having to settle on a color scheme you don’t like.
Autism Classroom Setup Need #8:
Oh my… my manipulatives bucket at the end of the year looks like it’s been through something. I know the ecologically sound thing to do is to wash and save everything. But when you have a kid who’s nickname is “Juicy”, some things just can’t be saved. Every year or two, I just start fresh… and it is nice to start the year with new juicy-free materials.
Autism Classroom Setup Need #9:
I used to just pick up some cheapo timers from the dollar store, but then I started using timers where I could input the numbers without having to hit the minute or second buttons a million times. Wow- I think I save myself a couple hours a semester hitting the beeping buttons! I also like the magnet back and clip. I buy a couple every year and then replace any that get damaged (hurled across the room at my head).
Autism Classroom Setup Need #10:
Sensory & Switch Items
Learning cause and effect as well as using assistive technology has to be fun to be learned. I love all the new items that come out every year, like Frozen, Trolls and Minions, so each year I add an item of high interest to the students and on trend with the kiddos. Can’t keep ice-cold-re-rolling Barney from the ‘90s, right?
Autism Classroom Setup Bonus:
This Speaker (I love it)!
I’m gonna pretend this is for the students so they can visually listen to music and activate all their senses when they have leisure time or arts classes… but this is totally going to sit on my desk and be my Zen! I was in another teacher’s classroom and saw this on their desk. I was mesmerized. And calmed. And happy.
So I must have one, and you should too!
Amazon Ships Free!
I know that there are those of you lucky enough to sneak away from the house and leave the kids behind to spend time in the Dollar Spot at Target or the Clearance aisle at Wal-Mart… I envy you. As for the rest of us, the Prime thing is a life saver. You can try it for 30 days FREE and may want to sign up and place all your back to school orders to get the free shipping, and cancel. Hey… free is free.
Now pour yourself an adult beverage, kick up your feet, and shop away!