Wednesday, June 7, 2017

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.

You can find more information and register for the online training here. New groups start the middle of each month and you will be sent information then. 

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


Friday, February 17, 2017

Autism Starts Months before Symptoms Appear

Parents often notice the first signs of autism in their children at around 12 to 18 months. Maybe a child isn’t making eye contact, or won’t smile when mom or dad walks in the door.

But a new study suggests there is evidence of autism in the brain even earlier—well before a child’s first birthday—and that the signs can be seen on a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan. “We’re learning that there are biological changes that occur at [the time] or before the symptoms start to emerge,” says Geraldine Dawson, a clinical psychologist and autism researcher at Duke University who was not involved in the new work. “It’s the ability to detect autism at its very earliest stages that’s going to allow us to intervene before the full syndrome is manifest.”

Read more here in Scientific American.

There is a deeper exploration of the study here in Forbes magazine. 

The Flawed Designs of Drug Trials for Autism

Problems with study design and improper measures have continued to plague autism clinical trials, leading to the deaths of once-promising drugs. Many of these studies also continue to test drugs in broad groups of participants, a practice that is inappropriate for conditions as heterogeneous as autism and fragile X, says Eric London, director of the Autism Treatment Research Laboratory at the New York State Institute for Basic Research in Developmental Disabilities. “That’s the number one reason drug trials fail,” he says.

Read more here in The Atlantic.

Why do children with autism make less eye contact?

Children watched a series of carefully made videos. Before each video, we flashed a small picture to draw the child’s attention. When they looked to where the picture had been, they found that they were either looking right at another person’s eyes or looking away from the eyes.

It was when we presented varying levels of socially meaningful eye contact that children with autism looked less at other people’s eyes.

Together, these findings went against the idea that these young children with autism were avoiding eye contact on purpose or had an aversion to eye contact. Instead, they seemed to not understand or pick up on the underlying social cues and social significance of eye contact.

Read more here

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Understanding Life Skills, Intense Interests and Meltdowns

Great Falls   March 25, 2017

Jennifer McIlwee Myers, author of How to Teach Life Skills to Kids with Autism or Aspergers and Growing Up with Sensory Issues, will give an enlightening understanding of how to teach life skills, how to harness the power of intense interests (i.e. obsessions) and how to comprehend meltdowns from the inside out.

Jennifer was diagnosed with Asperger's at the age of 36 and has since devoted her time to learning and teaching about autism. It is her life goal is to promote understanding between those who have autism spectrum disorders and everybody else. She comes highly recommended by Temple Grandin and Ellen Notbohm (Ten Things Every Child with Autism Wishes You Knew). 

Do not miss this event! She will give her unique perspective to help everyone in attendance understand the autism mind and equip each one with creative, practical solutions for better day-to-day functioning.

Find more information and register here.

Temper tantrums up odds of autism diagnosis in girls

Girls who show severe emotional or behavioral problems are more likely to be diagnosed with autism than those who do not, suggests a new study1.
The findings may help to explain why some girls with autism go undiagnosed or are diagnosed later than boys.

Girls in the study were just as likely as boys to show certain autism features, such as poor awareness of social cues. But “having these traits is not necessarily enough for a diagnosis,” says senior investigator Kirstin Greaves-Lord, head of the Autism Research Collaboration at Erasmus MC-Sophia Children’s Hospital and Yulius Mental Health in the Netherlands.

Girls may also need to show emotional or behavioral problems as a prerequisite for diagnosis, Greaves-Lord says. The work was published 9 December in Autism.
“It suggests that if you’re a girl and you want to get a diagnosis, you’d better be disruptive,”

Read more here at Spectrum.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Study shows birth complications may increase risk of autism

Researchers found that children exposed to birth complications were 10 percent more likely to develop ASD than children who were not exposed to birth complications. Children exposed to complications before labor began were 22 percent more likely to develop ASD and children exposed to complications before and during birth were at a 44 percent higher risk of developing ASD.

Read more here.