DARKE COUNTY – Two Darke County educators, Heather Costa and Karyn Smith, were recently nominated to the Miami Valley Autism Coaching Team’s A-LIST.
The Autism Coaching Team honors a select group of educators every year for their exemplary work with students with complex disabilities.
Smith is a high school special education teacher at Tri-Village High School. Costa is a speech language therapist that works with students at both Bradford Exempted Village and Tri-Village Local.
Both educators work with students in Darke County’s shared multiple disabilities units. During the 2017-18 school year Costa and Smith worked with the autism coaching team to implement teaching strategies to better educate their students.
Costa and Smith, as well as, district administrators, were invited to a reception at the Miami Valley Regional Center in Dayton where they received certificates.
The A-LIST stands for Autism-Low Incidence Support Team and is comprised of a regional network of select professionals who exhibit “best practices” in serving the needs of students who have autism or other complex, low incidence disabilities.
The A-LIST began in 2012 in an effort to recognize outstanding individuals who had exceeded the high expectations of the coaching team by effectively implementing strategies to best educate children with complex disabilities. The nominees represent the best that the region has to offer to students with disabilities. Only a fraction of the educators coached each year are nominated. The teachers nominated to the A-LIST represent the best special education professionals in the region.
The goal of the Miami Valley Autism Coaching Team is to build the capacity of the region’s administrators, teachers, intervention specialists, related service providers and paraprofessionals to serve children with autism and other complex disabilities. The Autism Coaching Team provides on-site coaching of school personnel in all of schools in Darke County. The team steps into the classroom to observe and then make recommendations for individualized sensory, communication, instructional and behavioral support strategies. The A-LIST serves a critical role in that mission by maintaining a network of outstanding practitioners across the six counties (Clark, Darke, Greene, Miami, Montgomery and Preble counties) served by the Autism Coaching Team. The Autism Coaching Team often refers other educators to their A-LIST members for practical, “in the trenches” perspectives, advice and modeling of best practices. Costa and Smith will work with other educators to help them to better serve students with disabilities.