Thursday, July 4, 2019

FREE Online Autism Training from the OPI Montana Autism Education Project

The OPI Montana Autism Education Project is offering 55+ hours of online training in Teaching Procedures, Behavior Interventions and Focused Topics to public school staff in Montana who educate students with autism spectrum disorders.

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

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

You can find more information and 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. 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. Independent study plans are limited to 20 hours. 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:

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

STAR Autism Training - Anaconda

Dates:  August 20th and 21st - 8:30am - 3:30pm
Location:  Lincoln Primary School - 506 Chestnut, Anaconda, MT 59711

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 (Arick, Loos, Falco and Krug, 2004), a research-based curriculum 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 shared.

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. Workshop topics will include the use of a power point lecture, video examples, presenter demonstration and participant "hands-on" practice.

Register here.

Shawna Heiser-Data Keeping, ABC sheet and PBS plans

August 13th, 2018


Shawna will be discussing the importance of data in the classroom as well as other relevant information for all attendees. This session will be applicable to Para Educators as well as Spe and Regular Education teachers.

Register here.

Disparities in Familiarity with Developmental Disabilities among Low-Income Parents



Parent knowledge about developmental disabilities (DDs) may facilitate access to DD care; however, parents may vary in their knowledge and familiarity with common DDs. This study aimed to assess racial/ethnic and language differences in low-income families’ familiarity, knowledge, and personal experience with DDs.


We conducted a child development survey among 539 low-income parents of young children attending visits at the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), in six Oregon counties in 2015. Survey items assessed parent familiarity with early signs of DDs, self-reported knowledge about DDs, and personal experience with a friend or family member with a DD. Bivariable and multivariable analyses assessed differences in outcomes among non-Latino white [white], Latino-English proficient [Latino-EP], Latino-limited English proficient [Latino-LEP], and non-Latino other race English proficient [other race] parents.


Overall, parent participants correctly identified 64.7% of early signs of DDs. White parents correctly identified the earliest signs, even after adjustment for socio-demographic factors. Latino-LEP, Latino-EP and other race parents were less likely to have heard of prevalent DDs such as ADHD and autism, and were less likely to have a friend or family member with a DD compared to white parents.

Read more here at Science Direct.

Prevalence and Variation of Developmental Screening and Surveillance in Early Childhood

Question  What are the latest national estimates of standardized developmental screening and surveillance, as well as individual and state variation, that may identify opportunities for improvement?
Findings  In this cross-sectional analysis of the 2016 National Survey of Children’s Health, an estimated 30.4% of children 9 through 35 months of age received a parent-completed developmental screening and 37.1% received developmental surveillance from a health care professional in the past year. State-level differences far exceeded those by child and family characteristics, spanning 40 percentage points for screening (17.2% in Mississippi and 58.8% in Oregon) and surveillance (19.1% in Mississippi and 60.8% in Oregon).

Both screening and surveillance varied substantially across states by more than 40 percentage points (Figure 1 and Figure 2). The prevalence of screening ranged from 17.2% in Mississippi to 58.8% in Oregon, corresponding to a rate ratio of 3.4. Similarly, developmental surveillance ranged from 19.1% in Mississippi to 60.8% in Oregon, corresponding to a rate ratio of 3.2. States with significantly lower rates of developmental screening than the nation overall included Kentucky (17.5%), New York (17.5%), and Florida (20.4%), while states with rates significantly exceeding the national rate included Oregon (58.8%), Colorado (50.2%), Minnesota (50.1%), North Carolina (47.6%), Alaska (46.8%), Montana (46.3%), Massachusetts (46.3%), and Maryland (43.0%).

Read more here.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Podcast - Aftermath

In summer 2016, a police shooting upended the life of Arnaldo Rios Soto, a 26-year old, non-speaking, autistic man. Aftermath tells Arnaldo's story — a hidden world of psych wards, physical abuse and chemical restraints — and asks the question: How did Arnaldo's life go so wrong? 

Listen here. 

Webinar - Apps to Teach Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Wednesday, August 1, 2018 @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm EDT

The goal of this edWebinar is to share apps to support learning and engagement of students with autism spectrum disorder. Students with autism spectrum disorder learn best through visuals and with differentiated academic support to meet their individual needs.

In this edWebinar, Frances Amato, STEM Educator and Technology Liaison, reviews her favorite apps for ELA, math, behavior needs and schedules — all educational in nature. They can be utilized throughout the school day to support students’ handwriting, reading, spelling and more. The presentation goes through apps such as ClassDojo, School Schedule, Spellyfish, Simplex Spelling and others.

Archived Webinars from the Autism Research Institute

Upcoming Webinars from the Autism Research Institute

18 is Coming: Considerations for Parents and Caregivers as Your Child Approaches Adulthood

Q & A: Ask the Nutritionist

Thu, Sep 13, 2018 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM MDT

Self-Injury and ASD - Updates

Study offers clues about eye avoidance in ASD

This artilce also appeared in the 2017, volume 3 issue of ARI's Autism Research Review International newsletter.

New research indicates that individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) avoid eye contact not because they lack interest in interacting socially, but because making eye contact causes them to experience unpleasant arousal in the brain’s subcortical system.
Hadjikhani says, “The findings demonstrate that, contrary to what has been thought, the apparent lack of interpersonal interest among people with autism is not due to a lack of concern. Rather, our results show that this behavior is a way to decrease an unpleasant excessive arousal stemming from overactivation in a particular part of the brain.”
Based on the study’s findings, Hadjikhani says that forcing individuals with autism to focus on other people’s eyes may be misguided. Instead, she says, “An approach involving slow habituation to eye contact may help them overcome this overreaction and be able to handle eye contact in the long run, thereby avoiding the cascading effects that this eye-avoidance has on the development of the social brain.”