Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Gene Discovered in Girls with Severe Autism

Researchers have found a new genetic cause of autism that appears to cause a severe type seen in girls. The genetic cause appears to be a rare single gene mutation that hampers the normal development of the brain. The gene is called CTNND2 and it provides instructions in the cell for making a protein called delta-catenin, which plays several crucial roles in the nervous system. The multi-center research team studied a group of 13 girls with severe autism and found they carried mutations in the CTNND2 gene that reduced the effectiveness of delta-catenin. Because of delta-catenin's several roles, this single mutation may affect many areas of brain development. Delta-catenin is believed to help guide nerve cells to their proper place during their formation as the brain develops. CTNND2 has been linked to another serious developmental disorder called cri-du-chat syndrome, which causes profound developmental problems. People with cri-du-chat lack a CTNND2 gene in each cell. This finding is part of a strategy in autism research. Researchers are focusing on rare and severe types of autism. By looking for genes that have a more powerful effect on brain development, they hope to find an explanation for the root causes of autism. Girls are less likely to have autism than are boys. When girls do develop autism, it tends to be more severe than in boys. Because of this, any genetic cause for autism in girls is likely to be more important and may have an earlier and more significant impact for anyone with autism.

 Read more here. 


Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Helena Autism Parents Support Group

We are a group of parents who live in the Helena area and have children on the Autism spectrum. We meet socially once a month to share experiences, advice and to provide general support for one another in accessing the information and services we need. Please join us on the first Wednesday of every month at 6 pm. We meet at a different Helena restaurant each time. Contact Kathy Coleman to be added to our email list and to find out the location of our next meeting. Kathy Coleman: 406-461-8575 or


2015 Autism Conference: The Verbal Behavior Approach Billings June 2015

Billings, June 24 and 25. Day 1: Children with autism, regardless of age, ability level, or setting, need effective, individualized programming in order to reach their maximum potential. This 1-day workshop will utilize B.F. Skinner's Analysis of Verbal Behavior to provide a framework for assessing and programming for children with autism and related disorders. Two forms of Applied Behavior Analysis: traditional discrete trial teaching and the Verbal Behavior Approach, will be compared and contrasted.

Dr. Barbera will give an overview of her book: The Verbal Behavior Approach: How to Teach Children with Autism and Related Disorders and will highlight several strategies that can be used immediately to begin to assess and teach children with autism. Through lecture, video examples and group activities, the participants will leave with a better understanding of Applied Behavior Analysis utilizing Skinner's Analysis of Verbal Behavior as it relates to programming for children at various points on the autism spectrum.Day 2: The basic elements of the applied behavior analysis/ verbal behavior approach to language assessment and intervention for children with autism or other types of developmental disabilities will be covered. During the morning session the focus will be on how to use a behavioral analysis of language to assess a child's language and social skills, as well as his potential barriers to language acquisition, using the VB-MAPP assessment program. Participants will then learn how to use the results of the assessment to determine an individual child's immediate intervention priorities. During the afternoon session the focus will be developing an individualized intervention program. Several teaching procedures will be described. Additional topics discussed over the course of the workshop will include data collection, behavior problems, augmentative communication, inclusion, and peer interaction. For more information visit


Sunday, March 15, 2015

Michelle Garcia Winner shares Social Thinking for autism

As a speech and language pathologist, Michelle founded Social Thinking as a way to teach social skills to students with autism and other social learning challenges. Listen to her story on this episode of The Autism Show. 


Monday, March 9, 2015

Just Archiving Information - this workshop has already occurred.

Motivating Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders to Learn
March 9, 2015

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Early Childhood Behavior Management: Developing and Teaching Rules

This Module includes information on how to create developmentally appropriate behavior rules for early childhood classrooms so that they link to a given school's behavior expectations. The importance of communication with families about rules and expected behaviors is also stressed.
 Take the training here.