How to Have Organization in School for Kids with Autism
This article is meant for teachers but if parents and caregivers can benefit from it, than all the better. When you have a classroom full of kids, organization is key. When you have that special child, organization becomes even more important.
#1) Teach Students to Properly Care for Papers and Homework
– Begin by having a special folder in their backpack that is for notices that need to go from home to the teacher and from the teacher to the parent. The idea of the folder is to help teach the child that there are rules to follow for how papers should be kept. They should not be crumpled up but kept straight.
#2) Routine is Key for Handling Homework
-Teach an autistic child a routine when it comes to getting the folder out of the backpack, looking for any papers that need to be delivered, and giving them to the parent or teacher. Include in this routine, a visual prompt (such as a pictograph or photograph of the folder) so that you don’t have to provide a daily verbal reminder to get out the backpack. You will also need to teach the child to follow the visual prompt.
The purpose for establishing visual prompts is this; we need to have a system to assist the child by establishing a routine with the child completing the task by themselves. The goal is that the visual prompt will be enough in the end for him/her to remember to complete the routine. It is important for both parents and teachers to develop a routine in order to teach this skill.
#3) Teach How to Expand Organizational Skills to Include Homework
This might include aiding the student in identifying what is needed to finish each of the assignment, making a list of the needed materials and having the student place these items in their backpack. Once the student understands how to keep track of his or her homework, organizing skills to complete homework will be next. Such skills and suggestions include the following: choosing an environment to work in that is free of distractions, plan the order of homework (e.g., hardest assignments first) and breaking down homework into smaller assignments.
#4) Practice the Skill in the Environment in Which it Needs to Take Place
Often, parents and teachers try to help the student set up an organizational system for different classes. For example, they might make folders for each subject area. Sometimes, a specific period of the day is set aside to help the student go through the various papers in his/her backpack and put them into the appropriate folder.
– Organizational tasks can be overwhelming for many students with HFA/AS. These skills need to be taught in small lessons. We, as caregivers/teachers/parents, need to give strong support and reinforcement for mastery of small steps towards independence.