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St. Charles School District 303 Uses CVES™

This month, Erica Gutesha from Community Unit School District 303 shares how she is using CVES™ as a intervention in her classroom.  Erica is the Primary RISE (Reaching Independence through Support and Education) Teacher at Norton Creek Elementary School for CUSD303.  Students in her classroom have a wealth of abilities.  She has found that once we begin to recognize and celebrate each student for the person they are and recognize all that they can do, it is then that we can begin to plan our instruction to best meet their needs.  Erica is currently working on obtaining my Masters through UIC.   In May 2018, she will obtain my LBS2 with endorsements in Assistive Technology and Multiple Disabilities as an ATLiS (Assistive Technology Leaders in Special Education) Scholar.  Supporting students independence, self-advocacy, communication needs as well as literacy skills continues to be a passion of hers.  Although she works with students in grades K-2, the thought of post-transition is never far from her mind.  Getting students access to language and building on their communication skills is of utmost importance.

Erica Gutesha, Community Unit School District 303

My name is Erica Gutesha.  I have been a Special Education Teacher for 14 years.   I am currently a self-contained special education teacher in St. Charles, IL.  Empowering students to communicate, self-advocate and build independence is embedded within the instruction of my classroom.  I have the opportunity to work with elementary students diagnosed with complex communication, language and cognitive impairments.  Students have had access to the CVES Gatefold 119 since February 2017.  Through this tool, students have access to a wealth of vocabulary in combination with an exchange system that allows for students to build novel utterances, protest, request, or expand on their knowledge (through core vocabulary, fringe vocabulary, schedule pictures as well as student specific vocabulary).  


Since the implementation of core vocabulary within our school district, our team has noted consistent growth in students language development, self-determination, self-advocacy and much more.  For many students, as they learn the power behind communication they also become protective over their communication systems.  With the CVES Gatefold 119, students are able to manage their communication system; taking it with them wherever they go.   

Student formulates 3 word combination “I want turn”

The communication exchange component has helped students begin to participate in and initiate in reciprocal communication exchanges.  This includes peer to peer communication, as well as student to teacher communication.  The CVES Gatefold 119 has become a universally understood system within our classrooms and school building.  The exchange system allows students to be very direct in who they are communicating with as well as clearly communicate needs, wants, feelings or protest.   Even for students who are verbal communicators, this system has acted as a support on those days when students have difficulty retrieving and expressing thoughts, protests, wants, and needs.   Through the continued supports of aided language stimulation, students continue to make connections, increase independence and participation across the school day.   


Student gives core communication card to communication partner


CVES Advanced Gatefold 119: Foldout Contains 119 Core Vocabulary Icons That Remove and Return to the Same Location
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