Southwest Cook County Cooperative
 Association for Special Education

Opening the World Through Education
to Children and Young Adults with Diverse Abilities for over 50 years




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Welcome to the Communication Development Program

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Program Philosophy

The philosophy of the Communication Development Program is for learners with significant speech-language, social-communication, or autism spectrum disorders to recognize and achieve their full potential.  Students are provided with opportunities to apply strategies that capitalize on strengths and accommodate learning styles in an environment that integrates academics, communication and socialization.  Emphasis is placed on the development of self advocacy skills to maximize independence in school and the community. Our highly qualified, trans-disciplinary teams utilize technology, research-driven techniques, and best practice methodologies to motivate and challenge students to progress on academic, communication, social, and transition goals

Program Design

The cornerstone of the Communication Development Program is co-taught, language-based classroom instruction, with frequent communication opportunities, and integrated Speech Language services.

Students receive a combination of small group classroom instruction, high-intensity individualized instruction (Applied Behavior Analysis, Discrete Trial), structured visual instruction (TEACCH), and relationship based instruction to address their IEP objectives. Academic and social curricula are aligned with Illinois State Learning Standards and presented in theme-based units.  All instruction is individualized and differentiated based on student IEPs with an emphasis on development of strategies to maximize success.  Behavioral instruction and support is provided based on individual student needs.

Communication Development program classrooms are housed in public school buildings to maximize opportunities for learning and interaction with non-disabled peers. Classrooms are arranged to provide students with a highly structured environment, extensive visual cues, and minimal sensory distraction.

The CD program utilizes a trans-disciplinary approach to curriculum delivery that begins with the co-teaching relationship between the Special Educator, Speech Language Pathologist, and includes the support of the Social Worker, Art Therapist, Occupational and Physical Therapist, Behavior Specialist, Nurse, Paraeducator, General Educator, Program Supervisor and additional consultants as needed.  All team members participate in continuing education activities to support their professional development.


Program Supervisor:

Elizabeth Mitchell
(708) 342-5329

Program Secretary:

Debbie Scharnhorst
(708) 342-5378

Program Locations and Calendars:

1130 Kim Place
Lemont, IL 60439
Oakwood Calendar

Kerkstra School
14950 S. Laramie
Oak Forest, Illinois 60452
Kerkstra Calendar

Arbor Park School
17303 Central Avenue
Oak Forest, Illinois 60452
Arbor Park Calendar

Victor J. Andrew High School
9001 W. 171st Street
Tinley Park, Illinois  60477
Victor J. Andrew High Calendar

Program Website

Click the links below to visit a program web page:

Braun Educational Center
Communication Development
Deaf and Hard of Hearing
Division of Rehabilitation Services (DRS)
Project Challenge
Transitional Employment Program
Vision and O&M Services


Southwest Cook County Cooperative Association for Special Education
6020 W. 151st Street  | Oak Forest, IL 60452
(Telephone) 708-687-0900 | (TTY) 708-687-2151
(Fax) 708-687-5695

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