How We Do It: A Collaborative Approach to Implementing Core Language within a School-Based Setting, Part 2
We’re excited to welcome back SLPs Lori Sanzeri and Chelsea Collins, creators of Core City, to tell us more about implementing this approach. They both work for the NYC Department of Education and created Core City to promote classroom-wide support of AAC. Last month, they introduced us to Core City. In this post, they share some of the ways that they get everyone involved in using and teaching AAC.
The most difficult part of training all staff is finding the time. We are fortunate to have a supportive administration that understands the importance of communication and works to find time to allow us to meet for professional development. If you are not afforded this time, our experience has shown us that the most successful staff training occurs by us modeling our strategies while we are working with the children in the classroom. We encourage the following strategies to get your team on board with a functional language program:
- Start small and don’t be hard on yourself. If you can begin to implement just a few new strategies and activities this year, then that is better than none! In just a few years it will all come together! Core language is NOT going away.
- Pick one teacher who is receptive to your ideas to collaborate with. Focus on training the teacher and his/her classroom staff right now. Rome wasn’t built in a day.
- Don’t take on too much responsibility alone! Use terms such as WE can do this together!
- If you sit by yourself for hours every week while printing, laminating, attaching Velcro etc., this may lead to burn out and resentment. You might even want to say, “Forget it, I’ll just take them to my room individually. It’s easier that way”. And you know what, sometimes it is. But when you start to see children initiating comments, responding to greetings and demonstrating less frustration behaviors within their natural environments, it will become clear that it is ALL worth it.
- Teach the importance of communication every chance that you get.
Last, but certainly not least, always celebrate your hard work! Bring together the entire year by having a fun “End of the Year Core Language Party”. The students are so excited to get an invitation to the party and receive a personalized certificate for participating in a “Year of Core”. Play games and bring treats that encouraged the use of several core words. HAVE FUN!
- Ask factual “yes/no” questions that require students to listen to the question and then run to a cone with a symbol of the correct response.
- Place hula hoops on the floor with “good” and “bad” picture symbols. For early learners, give them the directions to roll a ball through the correct hoop. For more advanced communicators, give clues such as “I feel this way when I eat something yummy”!
- Bake cupcakes, laminate and cut up a core 30 board. Place one word on each cupcake! Have students use core language to make a request and comment while eating!
This year, we will be presenting our program within a 2-hour oral session at the ASHA Convention in Philadelphia, “Let’s Talk Autism: Learning Core Language Through Literacy”. We are so excited to share what we have developed and our enthusiasm for teaching core language. Come check us out and make sure to say hello!
You can find Chelsea and Lori on Instagram as @thelanguageladies and on their Facebook page as well. And, if you are headed to the ASHA Convention in Philadelphia, you can see them in person on Friday, November 18th from 8:00-10:00am in Ballroom B.
This post was written by Carole Zangari