Creating an Effective Daily Schedule

The first step in providing proper programming is creating an effective daily schedule.

Teaching students with autism requires teachers to become knowledgeable in procedures and techniques that they may not have had experience with thus far. These procedures and techniques may include prompting, fading, errorless teaching, discrete trial, natural environment teaching, structured social skills instruction, etc. While this can be very overwhelming, creating a daily classroom schedule that will eventually allow for these procedures and techniques is a must! DON’T WAIT! Get students used to transitioning from activity to activity, individual/small group activities, large group activities, working with different staff members, etc. right from the beginning!

Take a look at our sample schedule!


Here are some suggestions:

Considerations for Creating a Daily Schedule:

1. Common reinforcers among students
2. Staff/student ratio
3. Level of staff training
4. Therapies, specials, lunch, etc.
5. Students’ levels/profiles
6. Age-appropriate activities
7. IEPs/program priorities
8. Length of school day
9. Physical environment (ex. available space, room size, furniture, etc.)
10. Staff rotation
11. Staff breaks (lunch, planning time, etc.)

Tips for Creating a Daily Schedule:

1. Alternate between preferred and less preferred activities.
2. Alternate between large group and small group and/or individual instruction time.
3. Intersperse activities that require assistance/supervision with those that may be done independently.
4. Stagger activities that require the student to be seated vs. those that allow for movement.
5. Consider the student’s age and developmental levels (ex. cognitive and motor).