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Start Off the New Year Organized


The One Binder System

Several schools we work with have instituted “one binder systems” for all their students at the middle school or high school level. We frequently recommend organizational systems like this for students with ASD as poor organization is commonplace in this population. If your school does not have a common organizational system for everyone, you can customize one for your child or student. Common guidelines for developing and using an organizational system include the following:

First and foremost:

Engage the student in the process of developing the system! Get his input and allow him some choice in the types of materials and strategies you use to support him.

Identify needed materials (check with teachers):

For example:

  • a 2 ½ inch to 3 inch binder (preferably one that zips closed)
  • a portable 3 hole punch that can be stored in the binder
  • a pencil case that can click into the rings of the binder
  • materials for the pencil case that are needed for individual subjects (pens, pencils, erasers, pencil crayons, ruler, compass, protractor, calculator, highlighter, pencil sharpener)
  • colored dividers to separate subject areas
  • loose leaf lined paper

Identify and create visual supports:

These visual supports will be included in the binder to support compliance and independence.
For example:

  • An agenda or table to document assignments (see attached assignment log sample)
  • Check lists that identify steps (see attached process checklist sample)
  • Self- monitoring systems (see attached self –monitoring supports sample)
  • Incentives (see attached self monitoring supports sample)

Include the objective of using the organizational system into the student’s IEP:


  • Who will help the student use the system at school and at home?
  • What strategies (other than visuals) will be used to develop student’s independent use?
  • How will we evaluate progress? Consider developing a rubric to evaluate the progress.


For more information on teaching organization to students with ASD, check out the following resources:

Inclusive Programming for Middle School Students with Autism/Asperger’s Syndrome

Inclusive Programming for High School Students with Autism or Asperger’s Syndrome: Making Inclusion Work for Everyone!

Developing College Skills in Students With Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome