I have been a speech and language pathologist, for now, forty-one years and over that time I have experienced changes in how we conduct therapy as research further defines best practices. One area that has been rapidly changing is in our work with students with significant disabilities. As speech and language pathologists it is crucial that we support our teachers and support staff in gaining practical knowledge and tools to assist them in supporting our students throughout their day. I am always looking for systems and structures that I can provide to further educate my team as well as to be able to model and coach communication partners. To me, it is imparting this knowledge that will have the greatest impact on the communication of my students. One of the tools I found was Project Core http://www.project-core.com/ a program developed at the University of North Carolina.
Project Core is an implementation program for teachers that offers free training, tools, and resources to instruct and support students with significant disabilities. It utilizes a Core Vocabulary approach to help students with significant disabilities acquire communication skills.
Project Core was developed over multiple years out of the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill Center for Literacy and Disability Studies a unit in the Allied Health Department.
The program targets teachers and others that are working with students with significant disabilities and uses evidence-based practices to target communication, a basic human right of all people regardless of the severity of their disability.
No prerequisites are required on the part of the student,
The program emphasizes what good communication partners do:
- Attribute meaning to student’s behavior
- Assure that the Augmentative Communication system is ALWAYS available
- Encourage communication WITHOUT requiring it
- Provide time to initiate and respond
- Makes sure there is something to talk about
Core Vocabulary are words that are conceptual rather than concrete so that they can be combined and used in many different ways. The first words that are recommended are go, like, and not. These words can be used in many different ways and reinforced throughout the child’s day.
I will be exploring this program and writing about it as I facilitate it in my school.