Physical Structure
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  • Sketch your classroom
  • Introduce HO Individual Student Matrix of Need and Support
  • Remember: the amount of physical structure needed is dependent on the level of self-control demonstrated by the child, not his cognitive functioning level. As students learn to function more independently, the physical structure can be gradually lessened.Teaches boundariesWhere an area begins and endsThis is done through the arrangement of furniture and boundary markers such as carpets, tape, etc…Children with ASD do not automatically segment their environments like typically developing peers. Large, wide-open areas can be extremely difficult for children with AS to understand.Boundaries will decrease a child’s tendency to roam/wander from area to areaMinimizes distractionsLimit amount of “visual clutter” (wall decorations, things hanging from ceiling that blow when the air is on, etc…)Using curtains or sheets to cover shelves or highly distracting/high-interest items (books/toys on shelf, computers, TV, etc…)Study carrels for independent workWhere to sit a child with AS (near the door to see everyone entering/exiting?, near the bathroom or other high traffic areas?, near the air conditioner?, near window for natural light?, near the window to see the playground outside?, near the class “clown”?. Etc….)PA/Auditory microphone systems in your classrooms – consider turning them off (feedback through frequency)Using headphones for computer or stories on tape (not to disturb others or have others disturb him if it is not his turn)Conveys expectationsIf the curtain is up, do not touchClear isles means walk there instead of in between student desksTable/seat slightly away from others or study carrel means work quietly and alone at that timeSeat facing the teacher means I am to focus on my teacher now (small group or whole group situations)Tape on the table means stay on my part of the table/ do not cross overIncreases independenceReduces interruptions from the student asking you where he is supposed to be or what he is supposed to doReduces amount of redirection you need to give the student


  • 1. Structured Classroom Series:Physical Structure
    Sponsored by FDLRS Action Resource Center
  • 2. Sketch Your Classroom
  • 3. Physical Structure
    What is it?
    Physical Structure refers to the organization of the physical learning environment.
    It takes into consideration the amount/type and use of furniture within the physical space.
    Why is it important?
    The physical environment presents many barriers for students experiencing sensory,
    Behavioral and communication difficulties.
    Effective Physical Structure ensures staff & student safety & security.
  • 4. Physical Structure
    What do I need to know about it?
    • Physical structure provides clear ________ __________ & academic/behavioral expectations.
    • Physical Structure provides ______________for
    students to promote optimal _______________ in the learning process.
    • Boundaries should be_________ to provide
    flexibility for change.
  • 5. Physical Structure
    What do I need to know about it?
    • Physical Structure should be re-examined and __________ as students require ________
    • Do not _________________by providing
    unnecessary supports. Data can be collected to
    assist in making decisions for _________
  • 6. Characteristics of effective physical structure in the classroom
    What do teachers think about the importance of physical structure?
    Structuring the
    classroom for
    diverse learners
    Structuring the
    play center
  • 7. How does physical structure support student needs?
    • Sensory Needs
    • 8. Behavioral Support
    • 9. Communication
    • 10. Intellectual Capability
    • 11. Physical Ability
    • 12. Health Considerations
    More intensive need
    Increase Physical Structure scaffolding
    Less intensive need
    Fade Physical Structure scaffolding
  • 13. Physical Structure: Classroom Configuration
  • 14. Physical Structure outside the classroom
    What is the GOAL?
    • Provide physical structure that is matched to student need.
    • 15. Always seek opportunities for student engagement across all campus settings.
    • 16. Fade physical supports when student demonstrates readiness.
  • Individual think/write
    Think of a student whom you are supporting
    outside of your structured classroom.
    What elements of physical structure must you consider
    in order for this student to be successful in
    general education/campus settings?
  • 21. Video Review
    How do these teachers use physical structure and organization to support individual learner profile?
    Look for evidence of…
    • Visual support
    • 22. Enhanced opportunities for
    • Behavioral support
    • 23. Data collection opportunities
    PS Video
  • 24. Physical Structuresummary
    Refers to the way in which we set-up and organize the physical environment
    Teaches boundaries (where an area begins and ends)
    Minimizes distractions (visual and auditory)
    Increases student independence
    Conveys expectations