Spring 2019


Capstone Project

Degree Name



Patty Born and Vivian P. Johnson

Content Expert

Maggie Anderson


The world of special education has progressed through leaps and bounds over the past 25 or more years. Students who were previously underserved or not served at all are being fully included within the educational environment. Through teaching students with moderate to severe disabilities, the author determined that an area of special education that was lacking adequate supports was communication, specifically supports that included the use of alternative and augmentative communication. The area of core vocabulary is part of the best practice systems when supporting students who are non-verbal or are early communicators. Though this strategy was considered by many to be the best practice (Cannon and Edmond, 2009), there was a clear need for resources to better instruct students on how to use these words. Because of this, the purpose of the capstone project is to answer the question what are the attributes of personalized books that could help students in a special education setting acquire core vocabulary? To develop the capstone project, current best practice strategies for teaching students with autism and communication needs were reviewed in addition to reflecting on personal teaching experiences in a federal four setting special education school. The capstone project discovered that core vocabulary should be presented in a clear manner and personalized core vocabulary books could be an effective strategy for teaching students to functionally use core vocabulary words. Additional elements of personalization can be included like student names and pictures, a students likes and dislikes, and personalized situations. After the completion of the capstone project, it was determined that for the ease of the creation of the books, a software program or template should be developed so that additional books with differing core vocabulary words can be created.

Project Type



Literacy, Reading, Special Education, Alternative and Augmentative Communication








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