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If you’re a first-year Special Ed teacher, you might be sitting there wondering what supplies you need. What are the basics for your classroom for learning? For sensory needs? All normal questions and I’m here to provide you with a list of basic special education teacher supplies.
Now, this, as all things do in special ed, comes with a caveat. What works for my kids and me might not work for you, so use this list as a guide, not as an end-all-be-all of anything.
Also, some of these links will be affiliate links. You pay the same, but I make a little bit of money if you purchase. It helps support content creators like me.
Special Education Teacher Supplies
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A must-have for your special education teacher supplies.
Let’s put the most important part at the top because if you’re not taking care of yourself, then you won’t be a good teacher. Period end of the story.
So make you’re staying healthy and keeping hydrated.
Some of my favorites for this include:
This handy dandy water bottle with times on it helps me remember to drink. Click here to purchase
And some electrolytes or Liquid IV to ensure I’m absorbing that water. Because a dehydrated Sarah is a cranky Sarah.
Some people might be chill, but I’m just not one of them. That is why I’m the girl with two planners!
The first I use for work, side hustles, and personal life is called Passion Planner.
Note I also used it by itself when I was a SEIT and not running my own room.
To learn more about what a SEIT is, click here.
However, I still love my passion planner even if I have to have two planners now with my new job.
Click here to learn more about how it can help you achieve your goals.
I’m also fortunate enough to get a free Happy Teacher Planner from my school, which I also use to keep my to-do lists and plan for my hourly class schedule.
I love pens. Most teachers I know do. We like to say once something has been flair penned, it’s written in stone, and there’s no going back now.
However, I get really freaky when my flair pens go missing. I’m very possessive of my pens due to my deep love for them.
So my personal hack has been to buy off-brand, artsy-looking flair pens. That way, everyone knows they’re mine.
Click here to see my preferred brand.
If I’m not grading but putting things in one of my two planners, my go-to is my Strauidler pens. I just love that they’re triangles. My hands rarely cramp with these bad boys!
Click here for more info.
Timers are a must for special education teachers. Whether you’ve set one to help a kiddo count down to a break or give them a limit to how long they’re allowed to take to go to the bathroom, no teacher can survive without one.
Here’s a pretty basic magnetic model I keep attached to my whiteboard.
There’s also a technique I use for kiddos with ADHD or who are highly distractable to keep them motivated to stay on task and not let them run the clock out till they get their break.
It’s a plausible timer!
To learn more about this technique, check out my blog post on working with ADHD!
Last but maybe most importantly are visual timers. In special education, there are many different ways people’s brains work.
Some of our students won’t get what they need from seeing numbers go down on a timer but instead need a visual element of counting down.
Click here for a classic visual timer.
Now, of course, we can’t be working all the time. Often our kiddos need breaks, be they sensory or for play, so here are some great games I like to keep handy that still work on certain skills or fulfill sensory needs.
My first go-to is always Simon. It’s a circular game with four colored lights that make a musical note. The game gives them the sequence, and they have to remember it.
Wonderful at improving working memory. Click here to purchase!
If you need more ways to work on working memory, I also recommend matching games! They can be hard to set up but are so good for your brain.
Offering sensory play is also important. I know some special education teachers include sand in their supply lists, but that stuff freaks me out.
I normally just go with play dough, which is tried and true and works great!
For when you are learning, there are things you can keep handy that will make learning more fun and interactive.
When we’re working on phonics or spelling, I like to have all my kiddos use whiteboards with erasers, and because I teach special ed, I don’t need one of the full classroom set.
Keep it simple and just get a few.
I also make sure each of my students has access to base ten blocks that they can use whenever they think it will help them in math.
It’s a basic math manipulative that should be on any special education supply list.
Now I love to teach with interactive slide shows. They have clickable buttons and drag-and-drop features, and you can include notes on what everyone said.
Assign them on google classroom or do them together as a class. Either way, they’re great. Some of my kids call them games, not realizing they’re lessons.
You could make your own, but if that sounds like too much work, I highly recommend purchasing one of my premade lessons to get you started and save time!
My Main Idea Presentation is a great play to start!
The fact is that our kiddos in special education do better when they have their sensory needs met. So there are certain things we need to let them have because fidgeting does not mean we are not learning.
One that I love is having kick bands on all my desks or chairs. It can make desks an easy place for us to kick and fidget or bounce our knees constantly, which I always do.
I’ve also worked with some kiddos who need noise-canceling headphones when they’re working. The headphones aren’t hooked up to anything, and they can still hear.
It just deadens the sound a little and makes things more tolerable for our auditorily sensitive friends.
These ones are very similar to the ones my kids use.
Our kids are also going to need adaptive seating or different options for how to sit at their desks.
My kids like to have wobble stools or exercise balls to sit on. I prefer exercise balls because the wobble stools tend to fall down and make me nervous.
Also, it’s not uncommon for children with OT services to have weaker cores, which can be a great way to get extra exercise.
I like these because the feet help keep things more stable.
It’s also important that our kids know how to use their computers, as every job available today will involve some kind of technology.
Plus, the internet being available has made it much easier to keep kids engaged and working independently during small groups.
See the list below for links to some of the websites we use a lot in my classroom!
If you’re a special education teacher just starting out and trying to build your classroom, this is my basic list of specialized supplies that always like to have wherever I go, regardless of what environment I’m in.
It’s not the end all be all, but it’s a good place to start.
And make sure to visit and bookmark my blog post on Special Education Quotes for all Occasions, so you can make sure to have inspiration at your fingertips as you go on your teaching journey.