Wednesday, September 30, 2020

COVID-19 Resources

Getting Tested for COVID-19: Social Story

MT Remote Learning Sharing Sessions

How To Talk About COVID-19 With People Who Have Autism

Archived Webinar - Coronavirus Impact – Home All Day – Basic Supports and Strategies to Get us Through and Keep us Sane

Anxiety, Autism: Five Prime Suspects – with tips for coping at home during the Coronavirus oubreak

Virginia Commonwealth University - Resources for individuals with ASD and their Family Members during the COVID-19 Closure. These resources include Information PacketsVideos, and Visual Tools.

Serving Students with Disabilities and COVID-19 (March 24 OPI update)

Autism Society Coronavirus Tool Kit

Archived Webinar - Teaching Special Education Online during COVID-19

Webinar - Corvid-19 Ideas and Q & A from Leah Kuypers (Zones of Regulation) 

Autism Speaks (many resources)

Coronavirus Social Story    (source)

Coronavirus Social Story from Carol Gray

Covid 19 Resources for Families from the National Autism Association

Supporting Your Child During This Public Health Crisis - Montana authors.

Archived Webinar - Home All Day - Basic Supports and Strategies To Get Through.

Archived Webinar - NCSA Coronavirus Share & Care - registration required.

How to handle school closures and services for your child with autism - additional resources at the bottom of the page.

Talking to your child about tragedy: Six tips for the autism community.

Additional Guidance on providing services to Children with Disabilities during the Coronavirus Outbreak

Special Education Update for Monday, March 16, 2020  (OPI + OSEP)

Sunday, July 12, 2020

The OPI has a New Criteria for Autism

You can see the new criteria here, along with some Frequently Asked Questions. The new criteria checklist is now in the AIM system and on the OPI web page.

If you have questions, please send them to Doug Doty at We will update the FAQ questions periodically.

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

FREE Online Autism Training from the OPI Montana Autism Education Project

The OPI Montana Autism Education Project is offering 80+ 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 every Monday through May 4, 2020 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.


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 for information on whom to send it to. You can find the Independent Study form here.  

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Owen’s odyssey: The difficult path to an autism diagnosis

This is part 1 of the story of one boy’s long journey to an autism diagnosis and therapy.

Read more here at Spectrum. 

Autism Navigator® ASD Video Glossary

The ASD Video Glossary is a web-based tool built to help families and professionals learn more about the early signs of autism. This tool was developed by the Florida State University Autism Institute in collaboration with First Signs and Autism Speaks and has been available to the public free of charge since 2007. The Glossary contains more than 100 video clips illustrating the diagnostic features of ASD. Side-by-side video clips show behaviors that are typical in contrast with those that are red flags for autism. The Glossary also contains over 100 video clips to illustrate common treatments available for children with autism. The ASD Video Glossary has been brought into the Autism Navigator collection and updated to be in line with the new DSM-5 diagnostic framework.

Read more here. 

Archived Webinar - Psychiatric Issues and Autism Spectrum Disorder

This activity provides expert insight about common psychiatric comorbidities seen in ASD, their management, and how they affect quality of life. Increased understanding of the children and adults with autism should be improved by virtue of educating about emerging genetic findings associated with this complex disorder.

Watch the webinar here. 

New Autism Study: Gluten-free Diet Does Not Help Autistic Children

The new study, just published in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, is the first randomized, well-controlled study of gluten-free diets in children with autism. The scientists, all from the University of Warsaw, Poland, recruited 66 children, and assigned half of them at random to a gluten-free diet. The other half were given a normal diet, with at least one meal a day containing gluten, for 6 months. The children ranged from 3 to 5 years old. After 6 months, the scientists evaluated all children using multiple standardized measurements of autistic behavior.
The results were very clear: the study found no difference between the diets. None of the core symptoms of ASD were different between children in the two groups, and there were no differences in gastrointestinal symptoms either. 

Deafness and autism

Figures suggest that around 2-4% of deaf children are also autistic.
Both deafness and autism can have a significant impact on communication and language development.
On this webpage, we focus on some of the additional challenges that families may face if their child is both deaf and autistic.

What it’s like to be autistic at an autism research conference

The International Society for Autism Research conference, or INSAR, is the largest autism research conference in the world. Each year, it attracts thousands of researchers from dozens of different disciplines — neuroscience, genetics, immunology, pediatrics — to share their work with one another. It regularly draws some of the biggest names in the field.
But historically, the INSAR conference hasn’t exactly rolled out the red carpet for the people its research is intended to benefit. I’ve attended multiple INSAR meetings, both because I’m a journalist interested in reporting on the latest research and because I’m an autistic person interested in learning ways to improve my daily life. The experience of being surrounded by thousands of researchers — many of whom had never met anyone like me except as a study participant, and some of whom had never met anyone like me at all — was at times surreal. Being autistic at INSAR is like attending an exquisite, days-long feast in which you are the main course.

Upcoming COVID-19 Webinars

coronavirus, autism, self-isolation, lockdown

Emotional Support for Families during COVID-19

The uncertainty and sudden changes caused by COVID-19 are difficult for all families, but particularly so for some families and individuals experiencing anxiety and autism. Tune in for supportive tips, mindfulness techniques, and positive ideas for managing the stress. Our speakers are:
Lisa Latten, MsED, a family navigator at The UMRC supporting families.
Caitlin LeGros, MSN, a Certified Nurse Midwife with the URMC Midwifery group, are both active in the special needs parenting community.
Suzannah Joy Iadarola, Ph.D. a pediatric psychologist at The University of Rochester Medical Center (UMRC), specializing in diagnostic evaluations for children for whom there is a suspected autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Dr. Iadarola is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and has experience providing and coordinating behavioral treatment for individuals with ASD. As part of this treatment, Dr. Iadarola incorporates a focus on working with families (e.g., parent training and education, sibling support).
Lisa Luxemberg, MSW, who is part of the interdisciplinary team working with providers in the physical and developmental pediatric clinic, the feeding team, and Quality Improvement projects within the division at UMRC. She has a lot of experience working with families in various aspects of Medical Social Work.

04/9/2020, 11 AM Eastern Time (U.S.)

Support for Individuals with ASD: Coping with Family and Virtual Interactions During COVID-19

Tune in to this talk to learn skills for handling disagreements with family members, resources for virtual social interactions, and general guidelines about coping with the lockdown for individuals with ASD and their families. Our speaker, Aarti Nair, Ph.D., is a postdoctoral scholar in the Dapretto Lab at the Ahmanson-Lovelace Brain Mapping Center. Dr. Nair received her bachelor’s degree in psychology and anthropology from the University of Mumbai, and her master’s degree in clinical psychology from UNC Charlotte. In 2015, Dr. Nair received her Ph.D. in neuropsychology from the SDSU/UCSD Joint Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology in San Diego, CA. Her primary research interests lie in multimodal imaging studies of social cognition in ASD, specifically using fcMRI and DTI techniques to quantify connectivity differences within this population. Currently, she is working on studies involving maturational trajectories of subcortical networks in ASD, as well as network clustering analysis to identify subgroups within the broader ASD endophenotype.

04/9/2020, 11 AM Eastern Time (U.S.)

Talking to kids about changing schedules, altered plans, and disruption during COVID-19

Amanda Tami, LPC, BCBA, holds a master’s degree in counseling psychology and has completed a recertification program in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). In addition to being a Board Certified Behavior Analyst, Amanda is a Licensed Professional Counselor. She has experience working with both children and adults, including those who have autism spectrum and other pervasive developmental disorders, ADD/ADHD, anxiety issues, and trauma, both as a BCBA and as a counselor. On April 30th, she will join us to discuss ideas for providing compassionate support to individuals on the autism spectrum who are experiencing disruptions and anxiety related to the virus and its impact.
04/30/2020, 1 PM Eastern Time (U.S.)