Friday, January 30, 2015

Webinar - The New Science of Learning: Effective Approaches for OlderStudents with Autism and Attention Disorders

Tuesday, April 21, 2015 – 10 AM Pacific/1 PM Eastern (90 mins) Register here. Change agents -- leaders in special education-- are transforming ways to help older students cope with ASD, attention deficits and related problem behavior that interferes with learning. What does the latest brain research suggest about how we can individualize services, help these students pay closer attention to oral instruction, develop self-regulation skills, complete assignments on time and meet their educational goals? Join us as a leading expert in brain science provides insight and practical advice about results-oriented practices for educating middle and high school students who have been diagnosed with these disorders. Presenter: Dr. Martha Burns Learning OutcomesAfter this webinar, participants will be able to: Know how to apply new research on the neuroscience of autism spectrum and attention disorders in older students Understand how instructional and technological interventions can maximize auditory attention in the classroom and drive better results. Be able to implement instructional tools and methods to enhance self-regulation skills and decrease behavioral management issues in the classroom

See webinar here:

31

Study: Some kids with autism show improvement by age 6

More than 10 percent of preschool-age children diagnosed with autism saw some improvement in their symptoms by age 6 and 20 percent of the children made some gains in everyday functioning, a new study found. Canadian researchers followed 421 children from diagnosis (between ages 2 and 4) until age 6, collecting information at four points in time to see how their symptoms and their ability to adapt to daily life fared. "Between 11 and 20 percent did remarkably well," said study leader Dr. Peter Szatmari, chief of the Child and Youth Mental Health Collaborative at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto. However, improvement in symptom severity wasn't necessarily tied to gains in everyday functioning, Szatmari said. Eleven percent of the children experienced some improvement in symptoms. About 20 percent improved in what experts call "adaptive functioning" -- meaning how they function in daily life. These weren't necessarily the same children, he said. "You can have a child over time who learns to talk, socialize and interact, but still has symptoms like flapping, rocking and repetitive speech," Szatmari said. "Or you can have kids who aren't able to talk and interact, but their symptoms like flapping reduce remarkably over time." The interplay between these two areas -- symptom severity and ability to function -- is a mystery, and should be the topic of more research, Szatmari said. One take-home point of the research, Szatmari said, is that there's a need to address both symptoms and everyday functioning in children with autism spectrum disorder. "If it were my kid, I would want adaptive functioning to improve and [feel] symptoms are less important," he said. "Adaptive functioning determines your place in the world."

 Read more here. 

31

Take It From Temple: 5 Tips for Working with Children with Autism

Our newest eBook summarizes Dr. Temple Grandin’s most practical advice for educators and parents. Based on “The Autistic Brain,” Dr. Grandin’s webinar with us earlier this year, this eBook provides: Realistic tips and specific tactics from an expert to help children with autism reach their potential An overview of the different types of thinkers and their affinities Additional videos and resources to help you learn more.

 Download the free ebook here. 

31

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Understanding Sarcasm - Social Skills Lesson Plans for Students inElementary School

Objective Students will understand and recognize the use of sarcasm and irony. Performance Criteria This skill will be performed adequately when the student: 1. Recognizes that a statement is sarcastic or ironic. 2. Is able to grasp the speaker’s intention. 3. Responds appropriately. 4. If unsure, asks for clarification.


Download file "P6047_Understanding_Sarcasm_and_Irony.docx"

31

UM researchers develop programs to help Montanans cope with disorder

Less than a decade ago, autism wasn’t on many people’s radar. The 1988 movie “Rainman” was popular culture’s primary reference for it, which isn’t a bad thing: Dustin Hoffman’s Ray put a sympathetic face on the disorder, but autism didn’t yet resonate with people on a daily basis. Back then it was diagnosed at about 1 in 10,000 children. Now it’s 1 in 68.With the growing need for services, three educators at the University of Montana have spearheaded and implemented programs and projects, including the Children’s Autism Waiver, that aim for autism intervention from infancy through adulthood. By applying cutting-edge research and interdisciplinary approaches, the educators hope to make real-world impacts on Montana communities, as well as provide practical experience for UM students in the field.And, already, they’re seeing promising results.

 Read more here. 

31

Identification Cards

For students who are non-verbal or have limited communication, carrying or wearing identification can be quite useful if they wander or become lost. Below are some identification resources. A suggested measurable annual goal for this might be: CONDITION: When asked, ("Are you lost? Do you have any identification?") by a stranger* BEHAVIOR: the student will show her identification to the stranger* CRITERION: without prompting CONSISTENCY: nine of ten times." * It can be easy for the student to learn this with familiar staff but the true test is to do it with someone unknown. Set up a situation where the student is "lost" in the school setting with no familiar staff visible to her then use your SRO or ask a staff person whom the student is not familiar to ask the questions in the goal and see if the student meets the goal. Resources:

 Medical ID Bracelets that don't look so medical.


 Wrist bands and Safety Alert cards

 Examples of identification cards you can create + another one. 

31

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Webinar - Sexual Boundary Violations by Individuals with IntellectualDisability: A Statewide Screening Program

New Mexico has established a one of a kind, Medicaid funded, statewide system for screening and providing interdisciplinary teams with technical assistance regarding matters of sexual boundary violations in persons with intellectual disability. This process – known as Preliminary Risk Screening (PRS) combines actuarial and dynamic data to help explore concerns about individual safety in the community and at their residences.
 Register here. 

31

More Differences Than Similarities Are Found in Autistic Siblings

Most siblings with a diagnosis of autism do not share the same genetic risk factors for the disorder and are as distinct in their behaviors as any brothers and sisters, scientists reported on Monday in a study that came as a surprise to many doctors, if not to parents. The researchers focused their analysis on about 100 genetic glitches linked to the development of autism. They found that about 30 percent of the 85 sibling pairs in the study shared the same mutation, and about 70 percent did not. The sibling pairs who shared a genetic glitch were more similar to each other, in their habits and social skills, than those pairs whose genetic risks were different, the study found. The report is the latest twist in a genetic plot that seems only to thicken. In recent years, scientists have isolated gene mutations that steeply raise the risk of autism. But those glitches account for only a tiny fraction of cases, and the number of them continues to increase — to about 100 now, and counting. Scientists have not been able to tell a coherent story about causation. It could be that common variants — that is, gene variations that many people carry, which cause no apparent problems — increase the dormant possibility for the disorder, in some combinations. The finding drives home the exasperating diversity of autism, even in the most closely related individuals. And it suggests that scientists will need to analyze tens of thousands of people, perhaps more, to tell any meaningful story about its biological basis.

 Read more here. 

31

Sunday, January 25, 2015

There's An App For That!

For more verbal kids, I'm loving "Chatterkid" and "Sock Puppets". The students love recording their words or sentences and listening back regarding speech and language targets. There's an element of fun to these apps, as they can make puppets or inanimate objects talk, and they can customize the playback to be a silly voice. For the early preschooler, an all-time favorite of mine is "Peekaboo HD". Farm animals hide behind a stack of hay and you can hear their sounds. Child can predict what the animal is, and older kids can practice sentences like "I hear a __" or "A __ says__". When the haystack is touched, the animal appears. It's great for basic cause-effect, too.



31

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Visual Supports Ease Medical Visits for Kids with Autism

What are you going to do to me?” “When can I go home?” When a child with autism arrives for an appointment at our clinic, these are some of the important questions we try to answer visually.

 Read more here. 

31

Maternal thyroid autoantibody and elevated risk of offspring autism

Based on data collected from the Finnish Prenatal Study of Autism (FiPS-A), looking at possible pregnancy and birth factors associated with an offspring diagnosis of autism, researchers set about analysing archived serum samples from mums-to-be for positivity to thyroid peroxidase antibody (TPO-Ab), an immune reaction to an important enzyme involved in the production of thyroid hormones. The presence of TPO antibody is more usually associated with a diagnosis of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, an autoimmune condition. Researchers found that in pregnancies that eventually gave rise to a child with autism, a positive result for TPO antibody was more likely to be present compared with controls with offspring who were not subsequently diagnosed with autism. Although not universally linked, the authors concluded that a positive TPO antibody result in maternal serum elevated the odds of offspring autism by approximately 80% compared to those negative for the antibody.

 Read more here. 

31

Friday, January 16, 2015

Archived Webinar - Setting Up For Success: Best Practices for theInstructional Environment

he places in which we live, eat, work, and especially in which we learn matter--they shape us, and we shape them. With limited resources in schools and spaces we don't always get to choose, creating a classroom environment that is conducive to learning can be a challenge for any teacher. In this FREE webinar Rethink's Jennifer Wilkens, MA, BCBA, offers best practices for setting up an instructional environment that is safe, fun, and optimal for student success.

 Watch the video here.

31

There's An App For That!

A couple of my favorite apps are: Between the Lines - it has videos of social situations, figurative language, facial expressions, etc. Sentence Builder  - differing levels of sentence construction


31

New Resources from the PLUK Library

See the new resources here. The PLUK Library is located in the primary PLUK office at 516 N 32nd St in Billings, Montana and serves patrons across the state. Items are checked out for 4 weeks. The PLUK Library will send materials anywhere in Montana, patrons are responsible for return postage.To register for a PLUK Library Card please complete the form at this link: PLUK Library Card Registration To search for other items in the PLUK Library please visit our online catalog.To checkout materials from the PLUK Library, you may call us at 888-773-2189, complete this Check Out Form, or e-mail library@pluk.org with your request.


31

Friday, January 9, 2015

There's An App For That!

(We recently queried people about their favorite apps. If you have an app you would like to suggest, send it to ddoty@mt.gov) I have been using a lot of visual schedules on my iPad and the two I like best are Choiceworks (for younger kids) and 30/30 (for older kids with Autism and poor organizational skills.) Choice works allows you to create a visual schedule with icons and move the icons when the task is completed. It's fully customizable, so you can actually take pictures of students completing tasks and add it to your visual schedule. You can add a time to each task as well. There is also an option to put a reward at the end- and the child can even choose between 2 rewards. For 30/30, it's very similar, but just targeted to an older audience. I could see a middle school or high school general education student using it to organize a large project or see a student with Autism following a schedule his para made. It's a great app!I'm an SLP and My Play Home (they have a lite, free version) is always a hit with my kids pre-K through HS and I use it to target language skills like concepts, describing/defining, following directions, etc. It's so versatile! For rewards, the big one my students are LOVING right now is LEGO City My City.


31

Office Hours with GI Specialist Tim Buie: Acid Reflux and Autism

Autism Speaks is pleased to launch a new expert-advice video series – “Office Hours” with acclaimed pediatric gastroenterologist Timothy Buie, of MassGeneral Hospital’s Lurie Center for Autism. The Lurie Center is one of 14 specialty-care centers in the Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network. This week, Dr. Buie tackles the challenges of recognizing the signs of painful acid reflux in nonverbal patients with autism. We invite you to use the comment section below to post your questions after viewing the segment. Or send your questions toGotQuestions@autismspeaks.org. We’ll post Dr. Buie’s answers next week, and a new video will follow every other Wednesday.

 Watch the video here. 

31

There's An App For That!

(We recently queried people about their favorite apps. If you have an app you would like to suggest, send it to ddoty@mt.gov) Autismate - it is an augmentative communication system that allows you to take pictures of actual environments then create hotspots for the student to activate. At the hotspots you can have videos, visual schedules or just pictures of choices. It seems to mean more than proloqou to some of my students with ASD. It is not cheap but is worth the money. My Playhome
- cheap or sometimes free-it has different rooms in a house and you drag family members into the space and then they do whatever one does in that room. Kids with ASD tend to be labelers but not use verbs so it is a good motivating way to practice (ex: Mom is brushing her teeth! Dad is showering!" There are also lots of vocabulary opportunities.

31

Newly identified molecular network in brain implicated in autism

Autism may be caused by a dysfunctional corpus callosum, resulting in poor communication between brain hemispheres, a new study suggests. A defect in communication between the two halves of the brain may be responsible for some cases of autism, according to a study by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine
. They came to their conclusions by analyzing what's called the human interactome — a vast network of interacting proteins - and by sequencing genomes and analyzing gene expression patterns in individuals with autism. The study offers a possible explanation as to why the communication center of the brain, called the corpus callosum, is often abnormally small in people with the condition.

 Read more here. 

31

CDC Stepping Up Autism Monitoring Efforts

As federal officials launch a new round of autism surveillance, they’re looking at more than prevalence alone, with plans to track diagnostic changes, younger kids and other disabilities. Researchers at 10 sites across the country will comb data from 2014 to determine up-to-date autism rates in their communities, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced this month. As in the past, the 10 sites selected for the 2014 data collection will scrutinize medical and educational records for 8-year-old children in their area to determine how many fall on the autism spectrum. Meanwhile, six of the sites will also assess records for 4-year-old children. But the records review will use two lenses — examining each case to determine if a child would qualify for an autism diagnosis under the current criteria in the DSM-5 and under the somewhat different definition in the manual’s previous edition. What’s more, the CDC is asking research sites to collect information about how communities are using prevalence data. “We’re really interested in what does this mean for communities? How are they using these numbers in terms of services and in terms of who’s getting the services?” Yeargin-Allsopp said.

 Read more here.

31

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Parent Interviews To Help In The Post-School Transition Process



Parent Transition Interview


Employability/Life Skills Assessment - Parent Form


Transition Assessment - Student (and Parent) Interview Form


Parents of Teenagers Survival Checklist


Quickbook of Transition Assessments - multiple forms


On this page,  search for the word, "Parent."

Parent transition survey

31




















Facial measurements resurface in search for autism clues

Genetic disorders are often written in the face. People with Down syndrome, caused by an extra copy of chromosome 21, tend to have flattened noses, eyes that slant upward and small ears. People with the rare Marfan syndrome often have long, thin faces with deep-set eyes and small lower jaws. Even some children with autism — a heterogeneous disorder with myriad susceptibility genes — have unusual facial features, or dysmorphology. In fact, in his original description of autism in 1943, Leo Kanner noted that some boys with the disorder have distinctive, “beautiful” faces. These subtle features may hold clues about the origins of autism. But quantifying them using traditional tools, such as tape measures and calipers, is both labor-intensive and error-prone — particularly when studying children. Many scientists are uncomfortable with or downright skeptical of the practice, given its similarity to the notorious pseudoscience of phrenology, which attempts to predict a person’s character from the shape of his or her skull. Now a group of dysmorphologists, armed with faster, more accurate and less invasive measurement systems, is reviving this once-tedious trade. In a study published 29 October in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, they identified three distinct patterns of facial structures among 62 boys with autism1. One of these patterns tracks with low intelligence and language impairment.

 Read more here. 


31

Monday, January 5, 2015

Half of All Children Will Be Autistic by 2025.

The current article spreading fears about glyphosate cites the work of Stephanie Seneff, making a clear argument from authority: For over three decades, Stephanie Seneff, PhD, has researched biology and technology, over the years publishing over 170 scholarly peer-reviewed articles. In recent years she has concentrated on the relationship between nutrition and health, tackling such topics as Alzheimer’s, autism, and cardiovascular diseases, as well as the impact of nutritional deficiencies and environmental toxins on human health. Seneff, however, has not actually performed any research into glyphosate. She is “a Senior Research Scientist at the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory.” She is also an anti-GMO activist. That does not mean she is wrong – it just means it is misleading to cite her as a researcher and authority. She has published only speculations and gives many presentations, but has not created any new data. The dramatic claim she is currently making, the one prompting many scary headlines, is that “Half of All Children Will Be Autistic by 2025.” This is not based on any new research. It is simply a na├»ve extrapolation of current trends indefinitely into the future – which is always dubious. Seneff is also naively equating correlation with causation. Here is her big evidence:

 Read more here. 


31

Webinar - What's Next? After Assistive Technology Consideration

Thu, Jan 15, 2015 This webinar will provide school teams with information focused on Assistive Technology Implementation Plan and collecting the data necessary to determine effectiveness of the AT. Consideration of assistive technology is the first step in supporting students who struggle. Once tools and strategies are determined for students, the follow up actions of the team, implementation and effectiveness, provide the structure for continued student success.

 Read more here. 

31