It could be a scene from any special needs classroom. The teacher sits with a student and asks a number of questions. The student grunts in response, arms flailing, not appearing to understand at all. Repeated questions. Same response, or apparent lack of it.
Now bring in a core board with pictures on it. The teacher points to the symbols on the board as she speaks, and the student is visibly more attentive. He points to the core board in response. It is obvious that the student does indeed comprehend what is being said.
This actual interaction between teacher and student was shown at the MCEC (Michigan Council of Exceptional Children) conference in March 2020 by Alt+Shift. AltShift.education, a Michigan organization that promotes the use of assistive technology, distributed core boards from Project-Core.com which are also downloadable for free from the website.
The core boards have 36 core vocabulary words which make up 85 percent of the vocabulary used in everyday language. Combined with specific symbols, the system empowers students to communicate their needs, increases engagement, and decreases negative behaviors.
The core boards come in a variety of formats, including eye-gaze versions, and Project-Core.com offers a Universal Core Selection Tool which helps you determine which of the formats is a good fit for the student(s) you support.