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Saturday, October 31, 2015

OPI Now Has Behavioral Consultants


The Office of Public Instruction (OPI) wishes to announce the availability of Behavioral Consultants for districts needing help in developing functional behavioral assessments (FBA) and behavioral intervention plans (BIP) for individual special education students. If you are in need of a consultant, please contact Dale Kimmet via e-mail (dkimmet2@mt.gov). The e-mail must contain the following:






A short description of the student and the problem behaviors.



Student demographic information (initials, gender, school building) so that the OPI can find student information in the AIM system to provide to the consultant. If the district cannot provide AIM access to the OPI, it will be the districtӳ responsibility to provide the consultant with the student s information.



The district will be required to provide the consultant with data on the problem behavior(s) prior to the first visit. The consultant will assist the district in developing the FBA and BIP, but will not write the FBA/BIP for the district. The consultant is approved for one on-site visit after implementation of the interventions only if, prior to the visit, the consultant has been provided with a minimum of two weeks documentation of the data collected as stipulated in the BIP.




Dale Kimmet
Compliance Monitoring Unit Manager
Office of Public Instruction
Division of Special Education
dkimmet2@mt.gov
406-444-0742

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Sex/Gender n Autism - A Special Report

Read the special reports here. 

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Asperger's syndrome explained for children - by Arthur

Full episode (12 minutes) Carl has Asperger syndrom and George is very worried. He found a puzzle piece that belongs to Carl.


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Increasing the Mand Repertoire of Children With Autism

You can read the journal article here. 


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Holding an event for people with autism? Here's what you need to know

Here are a few tips on how you can get better results if you host a similar event. Don’t worry about introductions Going around a room asking everyone to say their name and a little bit about themselves can be hard for anyone, but for someone with autism it can put them on the spot right away. Even if they indicate they don’t want to join in they still have to speak up, and they might not be ready to do so at that point. It also builds anxiety, as they are waiting for it to be their turn. It’s OK to just get on with the event and let people say who they are if and when they speak up.

 Read more here. 

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Visual task uncovers weak brakes in autism brain

Many individuals with autism are highly sensitive to sights, sounds and other sensory stimulation. One theory posits that this sensitivity may arise from a lack of inhibitory brain activity. To test this idea, researchers gave people with autism a binocular rivalry task, in which the researchers present different images — say, a piece of broccoli and a globe — separately to the right and the left eye of the individual. Although the two images appear simultaneously, people see them one at a time, alternating between the eyes. People who have autism switch between the right- and left-eye images more slowly than other people do, and they are more likely to report seeing a merged version of the two pictures1. Reduced inhibitory function in the brain could even explain some cognitive problems in autism, Robertson says. In particular, it could underlie deficits among people with autism in theory of mind, in which individuals have to suppress their own thoughts to understand what someone else may be thinking.

 Read more here. 

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Genetic variation explains why potential autism treatment doesn'talways work

A newly identified genetic variation may explain why a promising autism treatment therapy — oxytocin nasal spray — doesn’t work for everyone. In research published today in Translational Psychiatry, scientists from the University of British Columbia and the University of Freiburg pinpointed a genetic variant that is associated with sensitivity to oxytocin. Often dubbed the "love hormone," oxytocin has been shown in previous studies to boost people’s social abilities when administered in a nasal spray, but the results have been inconsistent. To find out why, the scientists tested 203 college-aged men on an emotion-recognition task, giving each of them a placebo and oxytocin nasal spray in separate testing sessions. "We found a genetic marker that predicted how much people responded to the spray," said lead author Frances Chen, assistant professor of psychology at UBC. "Some people responded by becoming significantly faster at detecting emotions. Other people didn’t really react, and some people actually responded by getting a little bit slower."

Read more here. 

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Sunday, October 25, 2015

App - Autism and Beyond

A team of researchers and software developers from Duke University and the Duke Medical Center has introduced a free iOS app to learn more about autism in young children living around the world. Beginning Thursday, a ResearchKit app called "Autism & Beyond" is being offered from the Apple App Store for use on iOS devices. ResearchKit is a new open-source framework developed by Apple that allows researchers to create app-based studies with a global reach. The free program from Duke is not a diagnostic tool. It is intended to test the reliability of smart phone questionnaires and video analysis of facial expressions as a possible screening tool for autism and other developmental disorders of children.

 Read more here. 

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Probing the mysterious perceptual world of autism

The perceptual world of a person with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is unique. Beginning in infancy, people who have ASD observe and interpret images and social cues differently than others. Caltech researchers now have new insight into just how this occurs, research that eventually may help doctors diagnose, and more effectively treat, the various forms of the disorder. The work is detailed in a study published in the October 22 issue of the journal Neuron. The new study investigated how visual input is interpreted in the brain of someone with ASD. In particular, it examined the validity of long-standing assumptions about the condition, including the belief that those with ASD often miss facial cues, contributing to their inability to respond appropriately in social situations. "Among other findings, our work shows that the story is not as simple as saying 'people with ASD don't look normally at faces.' They don't look at most things in a typical way," says Ralph Adolphs, the Bren Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience and professor of biology, in whose lab the study was done. Indeed, the researchers found that people with ASD attend more to nonsocial images, to simple edges and patterns in those images, than to the faces of people.

 Read more here. 

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App - Video Scheduler

Welcome to Video Scheduler! "Scheduler" is optimized for all Apple iOS devices and allows for the easy construction of picture and video schedules. Users can also organize video modeling content (and turn off schedule functions such as "done" by turning this mode "on"). After creating, share your schedules/modeling for FREE with other users. Scheduler offers a variety of features in an easy to use interface allowing maximum customization. These features include various orientation locks, which prevent students from engaging in stimulatory behaviors with the video. Users can also select from three video and picture sizes. There’s also a pass code function, which can be applied to prevent users from skipping around to preferred aspects of their schedule.

 See more here. 

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This for That: Visual Schedules

Description Help your child perform daily routines independently with This for That: Visual Schedules, developed by PixelAtion Labs! Visual schedules are great assistive tools for children with autism spectrum disorder or other developmental disabilities who need help with adaptive and task completion skills. Visual schedules break tasks down into simple steps and use visual cues to help the child succeed! Easily create your own custom visual schedules with This for That and have access to your library of schedules on your iPhone or iPad. This for That is the only visual schedules app that integrates reinforcement to motivate the child to complete the task. This for That gives you the option to include a picture of the reward the child is working toward and shows the child’s progress as they complete each step. This for That was designed for children with autism but is a useful tool for any child who needs help completing tasks independently at home, school, or in the community. This for That features are centered on simplicity and ease of use. With This for That: Visual Schedules, you can: - Create unlimited visual schedules - Add custom steps that walk the child through a task - Upload pictures by either taking them in the app or selecting them from your photo gallery - Save schedules to use regularly - Include a picture of the reward the child is working toward - View progress as each step is marked complete - Edit and delete schedules as needed

 Read more here. 

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Sesame Street Introduces Character with Autism

See more of the resources here. 

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Monday, October 19, 2015

Children With Autism Have Underdeveloped 'Social Brain'

Scientists discovered that parts of the brain linked to social behavior in children with autism are not as fully developed and networked as in normal brains. According to a study published in Brain and Behavior, children affected with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have their brains structured differently from other children, which influences their behavior and how they interact with others. To determine if patients with high-functioning ASD might have a physiologic anomaly in the "social" part of their brains, the team conducted a study on 17 children and young adults with ASD. They then compared the participants' data against 22 youths without ASD. They used magnetic resonance imaging scans to track cerebral blood flow that indicates the measure of energy use in the brain and examined neural networks to test their functional connectivity. The researchers found that there was a widespread increase of blood flow in the frontal areas of the brain of children and youths with ASD, compared to biologically normal brains that have a generally reduced blood flow to the area. The frontal areas of the brain are responsible for understanding social cues and interacting with others. An anomaly in the blood flow to this area implied that socio-emotional cognition development in children with ASD is stunted.

 Read more here. 

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App - Autism & Beyond

Autism & Beyond is a groundbreaking new study of childhood mental health powered by Apple’s ResearchKit. The study aims to test new video technology that can analyze a child’s emotion and behavior. We hope that this technology may one day be used to screen young children in their homes for autism and mental health challenges, such as anxiety or tantrums. We want parents to have tools that will help them understand their children and find help if they need it. We invite you to join Duke as we: • Learn about all children and families • Create new screening tools for autism and challenging behaviors and emotions, like tantrums and anxiety • Support children’s healthy development • Gain a better understanding of what parents need Eligibility: You and your child are eligible to participate in the Autism & Beyond study if: • You are at least 18 years of age • You have a child who is at least one year old or less than 6 years old • You are the parent or legal guardian of this child • You are able to read English • You live in the United States

 See more here.

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Monday, October 12, 2015

Meds, Parent Coaching Quell Hyperactivity in Autism



A drug called atomoxetine eases hyperactivity in children who have both autism and attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). A parent-led therapy also improves symptoms, although to a lesser extent than either the drug alone or a combination of the two.

The standard treatment for children who have both disorders is the use of stimulants, which often either do not work or cause intolerable side effects. The new approaches point to more palatable alternatives, said lead investigator Benjamin Handen, PhD, professor of psychiatry, pediatrics, and psychology at the University of Pittsburgh.


About one-third of children with autism also have ADHD. Stimulants such as methylphenidate (commonly marketed as Ritalin) work well in children who have ADHD alone, but tend to be less effective in children who have both disorders. They are also more likely to cause insomnia and a loss of appetite in those with autism than in those with ADHD alone.

Read more here.\

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Why It's So Difficult to Diagnose Autism in Girls



Consistently recognizing autism in girls can be challenging, however. This is not only because girls with autism are as diverse as any other group of individuals with the disorder, but also because most autism screening and diagnostic tools were developed based primarily on observations of behaviors in boys.

As a result, we may still be missing girls whose symptoms do not match the prototypical boy presentation. These challenges in recognition may also help to explain why many parents say clinicians initially dismiss their concerns about autism in their daughters.

Some researchers theorize that girls are better than boys at camouflaging their symptoms, particularly during highly structured interactions such as a clinic visit. For instance, a colleague of mine described girls with autism as "caricatures" in social interactions. These girls may be motivated to interact, but their behaviors seem exaggerated.

Read more here. 

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Training for Paraprofessionals - Havre - October 2015

Respectful, well-behaved students increase the time and opportunity for teaching and learning. This workshop will focus on a medley of simple behavioral practices which can be used by individual adults to make a huge difference in creating this climate. If these behavioral structures are used consistently within and across small group, class- room and school wide settings-and combined with effective instructional strategies (the focus of the afternoon session)-powerful learning environments can be established.Powerful Teaching: Dynamic and Effective Instructional Strategies Create classrooms and small group settings that maximize student learning using effec- tive instruction and planning. Powerful instructional teaching strategies can be used effectively for all ages. (Preschool to adult) These strategies, when combined with effective behavior man- agement (Behavior Management: Do’s and Don’ts) create a positive and powerful learning en- vironment for all students.
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Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Discover Inclusive Physical Education

A Guidebook for Educators The goal of inclusive physical education is not only to abide by the law, but also to provide and promote a successful learning environment that fosters a lifetime of healthy habits and sports participation for students with and without disability. Our goal is to provide you with a "playbook" to help you create such an environment for all of your students, regardless of ability level, by providing appropriate assessment tools, games, and inclusion strategies to help you improve your teaching methods and implementation processes. As with all good playbooks, this one provides the key elements for a winning performance as it provides clarity of laws, knowledge on specific disabilities, assessment tools, and sample classes and activities. We also hope that you will find practical solutions for everyday activities.

 Download this Guidebook 

 View Guidebook Online

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Resources - ADOLESCENTS AND ASD

Adolescence is a difficult period in any person's life. It is a time of great physical, cognitive, and emotional development. Adolescents must learn to deal with an ever increasing complexity of social experiences. Transitioning into adulthood can be intimidating; however, there are resources to help families, professionals, and the individual with ASD navigate the transition successfully!

 View the resources here. 

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