Wednesday, June 7, 2017

FREE Online Autism Training from the OPI Montana Autism Education Project

The OPI Montana Autism Education Project is offering 35 hours of online training in Teaching Procedures (24 hours) and Behavior Interventions (11 hours) to public school staff in Montana who educate students with autism spectrum disorders. A listing and description of the training content is attached to this message. The training can be taken for OPI renewal units and ASHA CEUs.

You can find more information and register for the online training here

These are some of the results of our post-training survey:


Information for Speech-Language Providers

ASHA members and/or MT state licensed SLPs are qualified to earn ASHA CEUs for completing the online Relias Learning curriculum. In 2011, a MT licensed SLP completed the ATS training as an "Independent Study" course and earned ASHA CEUs.

ASHA requires that Independent Study activities are approved 30 days prior to the start of the learning activity.

Independent Study forms should be dated at least 30 days prior to the date of the first certificate for completing a module. Below is a link for the ASHA Independent-study form. Participants fill out the form and send it to Valeria Schmauch. Independent study plans are limited to 20 hours.

The link below will take you directly to the Independent Study form:

Valeria Schmauch, MSHA CEA


Saturday, August 20, 2016

11 People With Autism Explain What Stimming Feels Like

Stimming, or self-stimulatory behaviors, are behaviors people with autism may exhibit to counteract an overwhelming sensory environment or alleviate the high levels of internal anxiety, according to Temple Grandin’s post in Autism Digest. Some examples of stimming are rocking, spinning, pacing, repeating words or flapping of arms or hands.
Autistic people aren’t the only ones who stim, although occasionally people on the spectrum stim in more obvious ways and may attract attention. Many people have a hard time grasping why someone would stim.
We asked our readers with autism how they explain what stimming is like.
This is what they had to say: 
1. “It helps my body regulate the sensory information of the world.” — Laura Ivanova Smith

Why Teaching Please and Thank You Should Be Avoided Early On

We all want our kids to be polite, but in the case of a child with autism, we need to be mindful of not focusing on words like “please” and “thank you” before he or she can tell us what they want and need.
The problem with teaching manners too early to a child with autism is that instead of using the item name (cookie) and asking for “cookie,” the child might reach for cookie and say “please” instead. A parent or teacher might then give the child a cookie because he used nice manners but the child may not know the name of the item or be able to say it.
The other issue is that when the cookie is out of sight, the child might not have the ability to ask for it. A third issue is when adults try to have the child put “please” on the end of all requests by prompting “cookie please.” This can be a problem for a child who is just learning to speak and may make their language harder to understand.
Here’s what I recommend Instead: It’s much more meaningful and important for a child to be able to request an item, for example “cookie,” than for us to try to make them say “please,” which is really abstract and usually a meaningless word to young, early learners with autism.
Once your child can request items, in this case “cookie,” it would be more useful to work on them being specific with their request. For example, “chocolate chip cookie” or “sugar cookie” are more meaningful and specific than “cookie, please” where “please” isn’t actually adding more information.

North Dakota Autism Conference

You are invited to attend the 3rd Annual Autism Spectrum Disorders Conference scheduled for October 26-28, 2016 at the Grand Hotel in Minot, ND.  The Anne Carlsen Center will be hosting the conference, supported by the ND Department of Human Services. This is an event intended to educate parents, therapists, teachers, medical professionals, and first responders about autism.
Whether you are new to autism or steeped in its many complexities, this conference has something for everyone.

For children with autism, multiple languages may be a boon

Oscar, 6, sits at the family dinner table and endures the loneliest hour of his day. The room bustles with activity: Oscar’s sister passes plates and doles out broccoli florets. His father and uncle exchange playful banter. Oscar’s mother emerges from the kitchen carrying a platter of carved meat; a cousin pulls up an empty chair.
“Chi fan le!” shouts Oscar’s older sister, in Mandarin Chinese. Time for dinner!
“Hao,” her grandfather responds from the other room. Okay.
Family members tell stories and rehash the day, all in animated Chinese. But when they turn to Oscar, who has autism, they speak in English.
“Eat rice,” Oscar’s father says. “Sit nice.”
Except there is no rice on the table. In Chinese, ‘eat rice’ can refer to any meal, but its meaning is lost in translation.
Pediatricians, educators and speech therapists have long advised multilingual families to speak one language — the predominant one where they live — to children with autism or other developmental delays. The reasoning is simple: These children often struggle to learn language, so they’re better off focusing on a single one.
However, there are no data to support this notion. In fact, a handful of studies show that children with autism can learn two languages as well as they learn one, and might even thrive in multilingual environments.

Luke's Best Chance: One Man's Fight for His Autistic Son

More than a million children in America are the autism spectrum. What happens when they come of age?

Forty percent of autistic children never learn to speak. Roughly half engage in aggressive behaviors, either against their caregivers or themselves. These aren't likely to be among the 10 percent with so-called savant gifts who go on to do great things in arts, science and engineering. Nor are they the fraction, substantially larger though uncounted, whose high-end functioning allows them to work and find their own way in the world. These are the other kids, the sizable percentage who don't make sudden strides or outgrow symptoms. They are the boom generation of the cognitively disabled: kids like mine, who are taught, at great expense, to fold a towel and eventually tie their shoes.
And then they turn 21 and an odd thing happens: Collectively – poof – they disappear. "Kids have federal rights to 'a free and appropriate education,' but no mandate to anything after that," says Desiree Kameka, director of community engagement and housing network for Madison House Autism Foundation, a matrix of housing and service providers for people with intellectual and developmental disorders. "Fifty thousand autistic kids are aging out a year now, and the great majority go home and get no support: no job training, therapy or socialization."

Never mind statistics: Adults with autism may be happy

Men with autism who have above-average intelligence may not achieve typical personal or financial milestones — but many are content, according to a new study1.

After speaking with the men in the study, Helles found that many seem happy with their lives. “I think it is an important distinction that even though someone has severe difficulties with functioning in everyday life, they can still be happy,” he says. “Maybe we don’t think a person with Asperger’s is living up to his potential, but perhaps he feels that he is.”

Read more here.