Timetables can be confusing and in an ASD class, they can change a lot. This is the process I find works best when creating or changing a timetable. Hopefully you will get some useful tips or tricked from reading this.
Begin by dividing your day into appropriate time slots to suit the children. E.g. I divide mine into 20 minute slots, some children can attend for the full 20 minutes and some attend for 10 minutes with 10 minutes of down time after. Depending on the children, you may have 5 or 10 minute slots. Block off times that the children will be on yard and the staff will be on breaks so it is clear to see when you will have less staff in the room etc. As shown in the example below.
Write down each child’s name and under it write what you would like each child to achieve each day. (Or weekly). I prefer to have a similar timetable each day for ease of transitions etc. Example of what this document might look like below.
Things you may need to consider for each child before making a list:
What are their IEP targets?
What are the most important things they need to work on?
Include these first
Can any children be grouped together for tasks?
Do any children have similar targets that you could pair or group them for? E.g. social skills, maths, fine motor activities
Do any children need 1:1 teacher time to concentrate?
Can children engage in activities at a group table or will they become distracted?
What time of the day will you do a whole class activity or circle time etc?
What time would work best for the children?
Do they all arrive at the same time in the morning or are their arrival times usually staggered?
Would it be better to have a group time mid-morning?
Read the children’s reports to see what is recommended. Which children need OT or movement breaks throughout their day?
Do they need it before or after table top work?
Could they be paired with someone or do they need 1:1 for this?
After a few weeks you will get to know what each child needs and will have an idea of what time of the day they may need it. There will of course, be times of the day where children need OT that you haven’t planned for. For example: a child may need OT before they engage in 1:1 teacher work or group work.
What activities do you need SNA Support for? Make sure you add them in first, at times when the staff are not on their breaks etc. When the timetable is being created, make sure to ask for the input of all staff in the class, this can be so invaluable. When the timetable is finished, to sit down and go through it together so everyone is on the same page. Something so simple will make sure the class runs a lot smoother.
If there is a group activity, what is the role of each staff member? Make sure that is clearly set out and everyone knows so the children can get the most benefit from it. E.g. is it to support certain children? Is it to model the new learning? Is it to do hand over hand with a child? Is it to take a step back and wait for the children to ask for help? etc.
Changing children’s schedules
Setting up work for children’s independent stations or group work etc.
Tidying up after an activitySetting a child’s timer for a choice activity etc.
When will this be done? Who will be responsible for this? Considering these practicalities will help to make sure the day runs smoother and avoids the confusion of who did it or if it was done or prepared etc.
Which children need support from an adult in the toilet? How often does each child need to use the toilet?
Can the child decide when they need to go themselves or do you need to put it on their schedule for them?
If children need minimal support, could you timetable a few children to go to the toilet around the same time so the adult(s) will already be at the bathroom and you will be best utilising their time. For example: when the children come in from yard or before they eat their lunch, before home time etc.
Filling in Timetable
After you have made the list, start to fill the blank timetable. Use a pencil and a rubber, be prepared to use the rubber. Start by filling in the items that the children need to have at particular times of the day first. For example, some children may need their most taxing work in the morning time or some may work best after yard time or lunch. Fill in the times of the day that the children will need SNA support. Once you have added something to the timetable, tick it off on the list to keep track of what is left to add.
Once you have this finished, I always make separate timetables for the teacher and SNAs in the room (sample shown below). This way, we all know exactly what we need to be doing and what we’re responsible for at each point of the day. It is also very handy to have if there is a sub in. They can pick up the relevant timetable and follow it.
Then, I write up the order of each child’s individual schedules. We have our schedules divided into 3 sections for the day. So I type up 3 lists for each child to stick at the back of their schedules. As shown in the photo below. This way, everyone can easily pick up the child’s schedule and set it up for them.
I don’t do this until the end of September usually or how ever long it takes to find what works best for the children and staff in the class. Depending on the needs in the class, it might make sense to go through this process each term. It also means the staff can rotate to different children and get a chance to work in different roles throughout the year.
If you would like a copy of these sample timetables and editable versions, have a look at the resource here:
I hope this post has been helpful, if you have any questions after reading it, please send me a message any time.