"Special Education Program Starter Series"- How to Set Up an Autism/Special Education Classroom

I am so excited to announce my six week summer blog series!! I have spent countless hours creating a 200 page manual to help teachers, administrators and professionals to set up special education programs on their own.  If you are a first year special education teacher, using this guide will help you to set up a seamless special education program.  This guide is also great for teaches looking to re-vamp their current program!  Over the next few weeks I will be going into detail about the following topics:


My name is Melissa and I currently teach in Southern California.  I teach students with severe disabilities in a special day class setting.  This is my fifth year teaching special needs.  I currently publish daily blog posts on this blog.   I do this to provide support for other special education teachers.  I have my multiple subject (K-6) teaching credential as well as a special education teaching credential authorizing teaching in the moderate/severe setting with an added Autism authorization.

My passion is in the area of behavior and communication.  I believe that all behaviors are related to communication or lack thereof.  I have added certificates in the area of Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) and Assistive Technology (AT).  I have also been trained in picture exchange communication systems (PECS).  I am currently taking post graduate courses to further my education in the area of special education.  I recently married and am residing in Southern California


From my short experience working in the field of special education I quickly realized that all professionals must network and work together to provide the much needed support for these children.  And with this sole belief, I decided to create this blog series to inspire, empower and  motivate special education professionals around the world.

I have spent years editing my classroom routine to get it just right for my population of students.  It has taken many errors and wrong doing’s to get it to where it is now.  I am confident in saying that I will continue to edit and re-do my room as the needs of my students will continue to change.  However- my core of my program has been established and with that I am ready for any student, behavior or challenge. 

I compare setting up a special education program to a game of chess, because you have to think so many moves ahead.  It’s a domino affect- one change can disrupt everything.  When thinking about setting up your room- you must seriously take into account EVERY aspect of your day so that you can design an extremely cohesive routine that flows through easy transitions.  If you are able to do this, you will have a successful classroom.


It’s important to note that this manual and blog series was created to go into detail about every aspect of my classroom setup and routine.  I did this because I get questions from followers all the time about my routine, how I handle behaviors, how I set up my schedule etc.  It’s not expected that you design your classroom to mirror mine.  Take into account your students and their abilities first and foremost.  This book/blog series is to be used as a guide for you to pick and choose what can work for your students.  For some of you, you may be able to replicate my classroom exactly- for others you may be able to rearrange and edit to meet you needs.

Ultimately, this blog series is designed to help you build a successful program to meet your class’ needs!  

Check back tomorrow to learn about Chapter 2: Floor plans!  
I have lots of pictures to share J


  1. I'm looking forward to following your series about setting up a classroom. I have been teaching students with emotional and severe behavior disorders for over 15 years and still love learning how others set up their classrooms. I believe that we all can gain valuable insights by sharing with each other. Thank you for taking the time and energy to detail your strategies and how you set up your classroom.

    Teaching Special Kids

  2. I am so excited for this series! Thanks for taking the time to do this!

  3. Ohhh my goodness!! I'll be doing my first semester of student teaching in the spring. This will be so helpful.

  4. I am so excited for this! I believe that in seeing how you set up your program, I'll be encouraged to take a hard look at how/why I set mine up in the way that I do and make adjustments where they are needed. I know that this has taken some serious planning on your part, and it is appreciated!!


  5. I am looking forward to following this blog series. It seems like you will be covering quite a bit! I'm excited to revamp my program.
    Thank you for sharing!!!!!