A place for teachers and other providers of special education services to support each other, share information, and discuss topics, including assessment.

First time teaching in LifeSkills/Autism classroom....HELP!

SHARON CARROLL Elementary Special Ed teacher

Hi! I am coming from 10 years experience working with students with SLD. I have just been hired to start up a new K-3 lifeskills classroom, from ground zero. I'll have 11 students and 3 assistants. 4 kinders in the morning, 5 kinders in the afternoon and 2 1st graders all day. My classroom doesn't even have furniture in it yet, let alone materials. They are all on order. If you were me, what would be the FIRST things you would have up and ready to go by Sept 7th? I want to utilize what little time I have to get as much done as I can. I have access to their IEP's and have already looked over goals and objectives. I will have access to STAR, Edmark, Read Well K and Handwriting without Tears. THANKS!!

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Elementary Life Skills Teacher

Certainly be sensory

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Certainly be sensory sensitive when setting up your classroom and speak with your administrator about resources that may be available at other campuses or even the central office. Good Luck!

Special education teacher from Dublin, California

Firstly, kudos to you for

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Firstly, kudos to you for jumping into this. There are so many people who would not and there is such a big need out there. I've been teaching a moderate/severe class for the past nine years at Dublin High. Even though I'm at the other end of the age group for our kids I remember feeling as you did my first year.

I concur with the blog from Autsim.com above and most of what everyone else has to say here. The challenge for you is to simply accept that you will be in a dynamic situation that will change from day to day. Unlike a traditional classroom setting, you cannot expect the students to sit in their desks. At times it will be like surfing waves. Sometimes it will be calm and other days stormy with big waves crashing.

The main priority is to keep the kids safe. Complacency is your biggest enemy. Know your students. Create a system to track student behaviors, triggers, preferences, etc. Find opportunities for them to explore and do things, as well as to work on sitting, communicating, socializing, etc. Communicate with parents and help them to help you, to help the students at home. Have protocols in place for days or times when things don't work the way you planned.

You should also get a copy of the SEACO Binder that has a subset of California Standards and Best Practices in it to help you feel secure in what it is you are doing in the classroom and how you have it set up.

Exercise and opportunities to be outside- not isolated are really important. Find out what the students' preferences are and use those to negotiate new learning opportunities.

Get a Smart Board, an IPAD and check out: www.starfall.com, http://www.priorywoods.middlesbrough.sch.uk/page_viewer.asp?page=Home&pid=1.

I also have some other resources on my website if you need more.

Good luck and enjoy the ride!!!! You will learn so much about yourself and your students from this job. Also remember to take time for your self and breath....:)

special ed middle school mod to severe

I taught preschool for almost

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I taught preschool for almost 20 yrs until our district did away with preschool. I was then moved to transition. . Talk about a major change! i went fro 3-5 yr olds to huge 18-22 yr olds. Anyway to answer ur? Basics. Potty training. Huge help to parents of they are still in diapers. Feeding skills. Using utencils and a regular cup. Eating nee foods or at least trying new textures and foods. Brushing teeth and hair and learning to wash hands. Putting on and taking off their own coat not to mention eventually doing fasteners. Transitiioning between activities without melt downs. Use visual supports and social stories. Dressing skills. I offered all my kids a McDonalds happy meal if they could tie their own shoe. So many life skills in addition to coloratching and recognition. . Matching. . Numbers . . Lettets. . .Scissor skills . . Writing. . I had full day so I could fit it all in. I loved seeing the progress! Now I need help figuring out middle school. Any advice?

special ed middle school mod to severe

I guess my main point is

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I guess my main point is these are skills parents have difficulty with. Once you accomplish them. . They realize their child is capable and are willing to try. I have potty trained more then 50+ kids and once i proved they could do it at school the parents were more helpful at home. And they are life skills which are sooo important. Who cares if you can count or read if you cant use the toilet and are still in diapers. Just my opinion.

Since you are doing the

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Since you are doing the younger students i'll only touch on the programming side of things. Setting them up for success will help them have a larger opportunity for it when it presents itself as time goes on.

I had some success with software called Teachtown. I'd also recommend access to a good OT and lots of sensory items. Picture schedules are sooo very useful in setting up a routine. In fact, I used pictures for a lot of my teaching. Also, PECS, or ProLoquo to go is very useful for communication issues. If you can get the parents to work with you in setting up behavior rules that you both can keep to it'll set up consistency. Consistency and constancy are key to help establish social norms. Also, put something different on each wall so that it's easier to tell them apart. If this can be done in the school along common paths such as to the restroom and eating area, so much the better. Remember that people with autism have a hard time seeing the forest for the individual trees and that things that are quiet or dull in color may be sensory overload for them. There are some light covers that help especially the blue ones as blue is calming and the cover blocks out the flicker that they can often sense. Also, try backwards chaining as a teaching strategy.

I know that's a lot of stuff in a very short space, but hopefully it'll help. I would say the biggest things that will help is staying consistent and being constant. ...ohh, and pictures.

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