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Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Why autism therapies have an evidence problem

 Less than a third of the studies that test ABA-related interventions are randomized controlled trials, according to Project AIM. And single-case designs make up the bulk of studies included in national reports issued to U.S. clinicians. For example, the 2021 National Clearinghouse on Autism Evidence and Practice (NCAEP) report deemed 28 practices evidence-based, including many behavioral interventions, yet 85 percent of the studies reviewed are a single-case design. So too, the 2015 National Standards Report (NSP) identified 14 effective interventions for autistic children, adolescents and young adults but draws on a set of studies of which 73 percent are single-case.

Read/listen to more at Spectrum.

How "unmasking" leads to freedom for autistic and other neurodivergent people

 Masking manifests itself in two ways: camouflage and compensation. 

Camouflage includes behaviors like, "faking a smile, faking eye contact by looking in the middle of someone's forehead," Price says.

This is where compensation comes in. Price does this, for example, through scheduling ghost meetings on his calendar to give himself time to recharge. 

"And that's really what most masked autistics end up having to do, because a lot of us receive social input, our whole lives, that there's something off about us," he says.

Read/listen to more at NPR. 

Monday, May 16, 2022

 Once registration opens, we hope to offer registration scholarships. 



Monday, April 25, 2022

Autism 101

How is autism diagnosed? What explains the rise in autism’s prevalence? How much do genes contribute to the condition? What about the environment?
In this section of Spectrum, dubbed Autism 101, we answer these and other questions about autism. Each article pulls together the latest science to reflect what we know.
Autism 101 is designed to both provide information and highlight knowledge gaps, indicating where data on a subject are absent or contradictory. Like our understanding of autism, this section is evolving, so please check back often.








Friday, April 8, 2022

5 Critical Life Skills for Tweens, Teens and Young Adults That Often Remain Untaught (Virtual/Recorded Training*)

REGISTRATION FOR THIS TRAINING HAS CLOSED.

Tuesday, May 3, 2022 | 10:00 AM (replay access* available through September 30th)

Instructor: Michelle Garcia Winner 

90 minutes of instruction followed by Q&A

Tweens, teens, and young adults are expected to naturally develop social and organizational competencies needed in school and across their lives. However, students with social learning and organized thinking differences (e.g., autism spectrum levels 1 and 2, ADHD, twice exceptional, expressive receptive language, sensory processing, etc.) may not intuitively learn these concepts and skills. This course will explore 5 critical life skills related to social emotional learning and organized thinking that can and should be directly addressed and taught to students & clients ages 12-24 in our homes, schools, and clinics. We’ll also review a variety of explicit metacognitive frameworks and practical strategies for teaching and learning these critical social competencies.

You will learn:

5 critical life skills tied to social emotional learning and organized thinking;

Explicit metacognitive tools and practical strategies;

Tips on specific executive functions to foster development of social learners’ competencies toward achieving their personal and social goals;

Why learning to be comfortable with discomfort is an important anxiety management strategy.

*We cannot offer OPI renewal units for this recorded training. 


Friday, March 18, 2022

Number of Students with Autism by County 2011 - 2020




You can play the video here. to see changes over time.

In 2017, 74% of Montana public school students with autism lived in nine counties. This percentage has stayed around the same in subsequent Child Count years. The OPI Montana Autism Education Project provides consultations and trainings for 100% of Montana counties










Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Brain Differences in Autism Spectrum Disorder (virtual training)

In this 90 minute virtual training, learn about the brain structure, the difference in autism, and how this portrays itself.  Understanding brains with autism creates better interventions. 

This will be the same training repeated three times. Attendees will receive 2 OPI renewal units. 

Thursday May 26th 1:00 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.

Tuesday June 7 9:00 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.

Wednesday June 15th 1:00 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.

Register here. 


Jennifer Schoffer Closson CCC-SLP is an Assistant Clinical Professor in the Speech, Language, Hearing, and Occupational Sciences Department at the University of Montana.  Jennifer has presented locally and nationally about autism, clinical SLP education, and secondary transition.  Having spent 15 years in public schools and private practice, she is passionate about education. 

Breaking Down Executive Functioning Skills (virtual training)

Learn how to assess EF, identify needs, and teach in a way that supports your students.  These trainings will cover goal writing and how to work within the learner’s current demands. 

This is the same training presented on three different days. Attendees will receive 4 OPI renewal units. 

Wednesday May 25th 1:00 p.m. - 4:15 p.m.

Monday June 6 9:00 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.

Wednesday June 15th 9:00 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.

Register here. 


Jennifer Schoffer Closson CCC-SLP is an Assistant Clinical Professor in the Speech, Language, Hearing, and Occupational Sciences Department at the University of Montana.  Jennifer has presented locally and nationally about autism, clinical SLP education, and secondary transition.  Having spent 15 years in public schools and private practice, she is passionate about education. 

Monday, March 14, 2022

Stop Behavior Before It Starts! (virtual training)

Antecedent Intervention is one of the most effective ways to manage challenging behavior.  Learn how to identify the function of the behavior, make changes to avoid maladaptive behavior, and implement replacement behavior.

This is the same training, presented on three different dates. Attendees will receive 4 OPI renewal units. 

Tuesday May 24th  1:00 p.m. - 4:15 p.m.

Thursday June 2   9:00 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.

Monday June 13th   1:00 p.m. - 4:15 p.m.

Register here. 


Jennifer Schoffer Closson CCC-SLP is an Assistant Clinical Professor in the Speech, Language, Hearing, and Occupational Sciences Department at the University of Montana.  Jennifer has presented locally and nationally about autism, clinical SLP education, and secondary transition.  Having spent 15 years in public schools and private practice, she is passionate about education. 

Evidence-Based Practices for Autism Spectrum Disorder (virtual training)

This virtual training will cover some of the most common used Evidence-Based Practices (EBPs) and how to implement them with students.

This is the same training, presented on three different dates. Attendees will receive 4 OPI renewal units. 

Monday May 23rd  – 1:00 p.m. - 4:15 p.m. 

Wednesday June 1 - 9:00 a.m.- 12:15 p.m. 

Monday June 13th - 9:00 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.  

Register here. 


Jennifer Schoffer Closson CCC-SLP is an Assistant Clinical Professor in the Speech, Language, Hearing, and Occupational Sciences Department at the University of Montana.  Jennifer has presented locally and nationally about autism, clinical SLP education, and secondary transition.  Having spent 15 years in public schools and private practice, she is passionate about education.