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Wednesday, June 30, 2021

FREE Online Autism Training from the OPI Montana Autism Education Project

The OPI Montana Autism Education Project is offering 40+ hours of online training in Teaching Procedures for students with autism/cognitive delay, Applied Behavior Analysis and a variety of Focused Topics. These online trainings are available to public school staff in Montana. A listing and description of the training content can be found here.

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


OPI renewal units are not available* for this training. The training can be taken for ASHA CEUs. 



* The training content provider now allows learners to fast-forward through videos to reach quizzes. Because there is no longer a specific amount of time that must be spent in each course, we can no longer offer OPI renewal units for this training.


IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT TAKING THE TRAINING FOR ASHA CEUs

ASHA members and/or MT state licensed SLPs are qualified to earn ASHA CEUs. 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. It works best to get the ASHA approval BEFORE registering for the courses.  


Participants fill out the form and send it to the Montana MSHA rep. Contact Doug Doty at ddoty@mt.gov for information on whom to send it to. You can find the Independent Study form here.  


Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Resources for Helping Students Wear Face Masks/Coverings and Other Information



Learning to Wear A Mask

I Can Wear A Mask - A Social Story

Wearing A Mask - A Social Story + Video Story

How to Wear My Mask - A Social Story

How Can I Teach My Son to Cooperate with Wearing a Face Mask? - includes sample teaching steps

How To Get More Comfortable Wearing A Mask - Video

Tips for Caregivers: How to Make Mask-wearing Easier - Video

Wearing A Mask and Communication - Tips for Desensitization, Tolerating a Mask, Tips for Communication and How to Make a Mask with Clear Panels

Teaching Your Child to Wear a Mask - -Tips and Guidelines

Wearing A Mask Toolkit - Tips


Being in Public Places

Seeing People Wearing Masks - A Social Story

Social Distancing - A Social Story

We Wear Masks - A Social Story explaining why people are wearing masks

Tips for Supplementing Communication When Wearing A Face Mask

We Wear Masks - A Social Story

Wearing a Mask to School - A Social Story


Other Information

A Parents Perspective: Navigating Face Coverings - Article with good tips.

Getting Tested for COVID-19 - A Social Story

Getting an Oral Test for COVID-19 - Two Social Stories

Getting a Saliva Test for COVID-19 - Two Social Stories: clinic and drive-through

Getting a Nasal Test for COVID-19 - Two Social Stories: clinic and drive-through

Handwashing - Visual Steps Poster

Wash Your Hands - Visual Steps Poster

Teaching Handwashing - Video

Keeping Friends Safe - A Social Story

10 Face Masks People with Chronic Illness Recommend - Article

Riding the Bus Will be Different - Social Story

Navigating a Socially Distanced Classroom for Students with Autism - archived webinar


When a special education student wears a face mask or face shield solely to prevent the spread of COVID-19, that is not considered an aversive treatment procedure (ARM 10.16.3346(4)(e) Aversive Treatment Procedures.​) 

The determination of medical necessity as included on page 118, question 18, of the Montana Special Education Guidance document is not necessary when state or local governments require individuals to wear face masks or coverings to prevent the spread of COVID-19.




Monday, September 14, 2020

Cannabis and autism, explained

Over the past decade, autistic people and their families have increasingly experimented with medical marijuana and products derived from it. Many hope these compounds will alleviate a range of autism-related traits and problems. But scientists are still in the early stages of rigorous research into marijuana’s safety and effectiveness, which means that people who pursue it as treatment must rely mostly on anecdotal information from friends and message boards for guidance.
Here we explain what researchers know about the safety and effectiveness of cannabis for autism and related conditions

Archived Webinar - Repetitive Behaviors and Autism

Repetitive behaviors are one of autism’s core features and can be sensory or motor based, such as hand-flapping, or more cognitive in nature, such as intensely focused interests. Autistic people may engage in repetitive behaviors as a way to relieve anxiety or for fun — and for this reason, such behaviors deserve careful management.

View the webinar here at Spectrum. 

OCALICONLINE - Virtual Conference Session Finder

November 11-13, 2020

Conference rates can be found here

You can search the sessions here

A Guide to Identifying and Understanding Scientific Research About Autism

This article is a tool to help you assess information about autism based on scientific principles. As you put these recommendations into practice, remember to use critical thinking and common sense when assessing any claim about autism. Combining an understanding of scientific research studies with your own powers of reasoning can help you: 
  • Make evidence-based decisions
  • Understand recommendations from your care team and discuss them knowledgeably
  • Minimize overwhelm
  • Advocate for yourself or your family member with autism. 

Archived Webinar - Family-Centered Planning and ASD


Research demonstrates the effectiveness of Family-Centered Transition Planning in increasing student and parent expectations for adult life, student career decision-making, and student participation in employment and post-secondary education. Learn the latest sustainable processes for implementing a Family-Centered Transition Planning model for youth and young adults with autism spectrum disorders.

View the webinar here at the Autism Research Institute.

Social Capital and Autism in Young Adulthood: Applying Social Network Methods to Measure the Social Capital of Autistic Young Adults

What was the purpose of this study?

Many autistic young adults are disconnected from people, communities, and organizations that could provide them with valuable social resources to support their transition to adulthood. This study tests the feasibility of using social network methods to measure the resources that autistic young adults gain from their social connections. Future studies using our social network measure might provide valuable information about possible interventions that could help autistic youth acquire the social resources needed for successful adult outcomes.


I Have Tourette's and He's on the Autism Spectrum. Here's How We Have Sex

When people with neurodevelopmental disorders that affect their social communication capabilities—like Paul and Grace, an older couple who, respectively, have Asperger’s syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder, and Tourette’s syndrome and some related problems with focus and impulse control—talk about their their sex lives, it can make outsiders (even doctors and family membersfeel uncomfortable. Many such people assume that the communication issues conditions like these pose should desexualize those with them—that they simply wouldn’t or shouldn’t pursue physical intimacy.

But this is not necessarily a reflection of people with these or similar conditions’ sexualities. Most have the same sexual needs and relationship capabilities as neurotypical individuals. People with autism and similar disorders may just struggle with forming and maintaining relationships without early, ongoing, and tailed education on, and support in exploring these topics.

Read more here at Vice. 

Archived Webinar: Michelle Failla and David Moore on pain in autism

On 29 July, 2020, Michelle Failla and David Moore gave a webinar on pain in autism, which focused on sensations, emotions and behaviors.

View the webinar here at Spectrum.