CentralReach is proud to hand over the blog today to SLP specialist, Rosemarie Griffin, who is sharing her take on how child care teams can work together to help our students lead successful, beautiful lives! Take it away, Rosemarie…

When working with students who have autism or other complex communication disorders, we know that a team approach is best. But sometimes putting this into practice can be easier in theory. It can be overwhelming at times to implement collaborative and systematic instruction, especially if you are working with professionals who may use a different approach.  When we all work together towards the common goal of helping our students gain functional skills and become more independent in all areas, it’s a win-win for all!

Being both a speech language pathologist and a board certified analyst, I have developed some strategies to use when working among a team of professionals. Below are some tips to follow to help make a collaborative approach easier to initiate and maintain:

  1. Take time to introduce yourself to members of the team. If you are a contracted individual, you may be new to everyone. Taking time to introduce yourself to the teacher, parent, principal, paraprofessional, etc.… is vital to setting the tone that collaboration is an important part of the therapeutic process.
  2. After introductions have taken place, set up a time to meet with team members to discuss current progress. You may be coming in at a time of crisis or during a time where things are not going so well. It is important to ask the team members to highlight things that are going well with programming and areas that need to be addressed. Being a good listener is an important piece to the collaborative process.
  3. If a plan is set in motion to help decrease problem behavior, make sure that you have read over the plan and provided training for the entire educational team. If the team is new to the field of applied behavior analysis, they may need time to process the information, to practice the plan and get feedback on how they are doing with implementation. Carrying out the plan as recommended based on your assessment and clinical judgment is vital for student success.
  4. Work collaboratively and develop shared goals when it is appropriate. Speech Language Pathologists have a wealth of knowledge regarding speech and language. Teachers have great experience with current curricular expectations. Paraprofessionals can give amazing insight on how the student responds to different teaching strategies. Use the teams experience with the student to help guide goal and objective formation.
  5. As mentioned above, shared goals are so very important for students with autism and other more complex disorders. Working with the team to create a daily data sheet that can be used over the course of the school day and by other members of the student’s educational team is vital to the student’s success. For example, if you have a student who is answering the personal information question when is your birthday, a shared data sheet would allow this skill to be addressed across the learners day. This would allow for multiple opportunities for practice and would help us plan for the generalization of this important skill.


Name: _____________ Date: ___________________


Student will answer, “when is your birthday? + –

+ –

+ –

+ –

+ –


  1. Share professional research from the field of applied behavior analysis with members of the team. Ask the team members for research information or resources from their fields. This shared learning can increase the competency of all professionals and help their shared clients make more functional gains. Knowledge is power!

I hope that you can use these guidelines to help your work with students with autism become more systematic and collaborative. Together we can make a difference!


Rosemarie Griffin CCC/SLP BCBA
Speech Language Pathologist
Board Certified Behavior Analyst

Rosemarie Griffin is a speech language pathologist, board certified behavior analyst and creator of the action builder cards.
She serves students in a public school setting and a private school setting. Rosemarie uses the science of applied behavior analysis to help her students improve their
overall communication skills. Her goal is to help all students become more effective communicators and to help all professionals feel more comfortable with providing effective instruction for students with autism and other developmental disabilities. If you have questions about the content of this article, please feel free to contact her at abaspeech@yahoo.com. Find Rose on her website
www.abaspeech.org or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/abaspeech/.

If you’re looking for a collaborative and easy-to-use platform to help your Speech practice, visit us here for more on how our current SLPs use CentralReach.

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