Thursday, July 4, 2019

FREE Online Autism Training from the OPI Montana Autism Education Project

The OPI Montana Autism Education Project is offering online training in Teaching Procedures, Behavior Interventions and Focused Topics to public school staff in Montana who educate students with autism spectrum disorders. The training provides 77 courses and up to 110 OPI renewal units.

A listing and description of the training content can be found here. The training can be taken for OPI renewal units, ASHA CEUs and SWP/MFT CEUs. 

New groups start the beginning and middle of each month and you will be sent information then to begin your training. You will have 90 days to complete the training.

You can register for the online training here.


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. Independent study plans are limited to 20 hours. ASHA requires that Independent Study activities are approved 30 days prior to the start of the learning activity. If you are planning to take the training for ASHA CEUs it is best to get ASHA approval before registering for the training.

Participants fill out the form and send it to the Montana MSHA rep. Contact Doug Doty at for information on whom to send it to. The link below will take you directly to the Independent Study form:

Friday, January 18, 2019

Webinar - Using Video Modeling To Teach Social Skills

Jan 28, 2019 4:00 PM Eastern

Video modeling—using a video to teach and learn new skills—is an evidence-based practice for students with unique learning needs. Easy to implement with readily available technology, video modeling as a classroom strategy can be beneficial for multiple learning styles, ages and ability levels. Who among us hasn’t turned to YouTube tutorials to learn everything from fixing a small appliance to operating our new phone? When teachers use videos in their classrooms, students’ interest levels are automatically piqued. 

In this webinar you’ll learn:

• Why intentionally teaching social skills to all students is important

• How to incorporate video modeling into your teaching repertoire

• Practical strategies and technology tools to help make video modeling easy

Actual video clips and sample video models used for student intervention will be showcased, demonstrating just how effective—and fun—video modeling can be.

Register here. 

Thursday, January 17, 2019

STAR Autism Training

STAR Autism Training
STAR Autism Trainings

Kalispell: March 4-5

Missoula: March 6-7

Sidney: March 26-27

Billings: April 8-9

Great Falls: April 10-11

This comprehensive two-day workshop provides participants with detailed examples 
and practice activities on how to implement the evidence-based practices identified in 
the National Standards Report (2009). The STAR Program is used to provide examples
Appropriate content connected to the common core curriculum is presented and 
detailed information on the three evidenced-based instructional methods of discrete 
trial training, pivotal response training and teaching through functional routines are 

Participants will learn how to implement these strategies through structured lesson plans 
and a curriculum scope and sequence. The workshop will include extensive data collection 
systems and participants will learn to collect and use data for instructional decision making. 

Twelve OPI renewal units will be available for this training. 
This training is FREE from the OPI Montana Autism Education Project.


Each training is limited to 30 people. 
Register here. 

Movin'On in Montana

Transition seminar for high school students with disabilities

The 2019 Program on July 9-12, 2019 at the University of Montana in Missoula. 
What is Movin' On in Montana?  
  • It's a free summer program! 
  • Stay on campus for 3 nights in a residence hall and eat in a dining hall. 
  • Take campus tours. 
  • Attend a college lecture and class. 
  • Learn about resources for students. 
  • Practice self-advocacy and communication skills. 
  • Learn about your rights and responsibilities as a college student with disability. 
  • Participate in fun recreation and community actives. 
  • Career exploration. 
  • Learn about 2-year and 4-year college options in Montana. 
  • Talk to current college students. 

Movin’ on in Montana Club

Movin’ On in Montana Club is a new project working in collaboration with the summer program to create more opportunities for students with disabilities to explore post-secondary education. The club will run from January, 2019 to August, 2019. Eligible students may participate in both the club and the summer program.

What will students do in the Movin’ On in Montana Club?
  • Get to know current University of Montana student mentors
  • Monthly club meetings/activities through face-to-face seminars, video conferencing and a closed social media account
  • Help plan club and summer program activities
  • Develop leadership and advocacy skills
  • Connect with students across Montana

Use Music to Reduce Vocal Stereotypy in Individuals with Autism

Vocal stereotypy is often maintained by automatic reinforcement (although professionals should assess the individual to be sure of the function of the behavior rather than assuming that all vocal stereotypy is maintained by automatic reinforcement).
Behaviors that are maintained by automatic reinforcement can be challenging to address in a natural setting as well as in a clinical setting.
Two common intervention strategies for behaviors maintained by automatic reinforcement include:
  1. Matched stimulation (MS)
  2. Response interruption and redirection (RIRD)
MS is an antecedent intervention that provides noncontingent access to a stimulus that is presumed to be similar to the one the individual obtains from the displayed behavior.
RIRD is a consequence strategy that may be considered a punishment procedure in which the individual’s vocal stereotypy is interrupted and then the individual is required to display a number of vocal responses absent of the vocal stereotypic behavior.

You Can’t “Culturally Appropriate” a Weighted Blanket

Ashley Fetters’ recent Atlantic essay about the “problem” with weighted blankets as last year’s hot holiday trend felt like a reminder. A reminder that I’ll never be part of the “meditation-app-using, Instagram-shopping masses” Fetters’ piece bemoans, regardless of whether I actually use Instagram or meditation apps. Why? Because to Fetters, I’m “special.” Actually, I’m not just “special.” I have “special needs.” And I am, by her essay’s reckoning, under attack. Because nondisabled people are buying weighted blankets, I am having my “special needs” culturally appropriated.
As an autistic person, did I ask for this defense? No. But I sure got it. Fetters’ piece traces how weighted blankets went from a product primarily crafted for and used by autistic people to their new mass-market life as “blankets that ease anxiety.” She points to the Gravity Blanket brand and its almost–$5 million Kickstarter haul in 2017 as a turning point. To some longtime blanket producers, Fetters contends, “the Gravity Blanket and many of its new contemporaries sounds more like a story of appropriation—a story about the sale of the special-needs community’s promise of life-changing comfort to the”—wait for it!—“Instagram-shopping masses.”

Circle Activity - Let's Go Shopping

Webinar - Adolescents, Internet Safety & Autism

New Learning Hub Course

Learn more here.