Wednesday, December 28, 2016

The Important Difference Between Conversation and Communication with Autism

But first, you must understand five things:
  1. Communication is about reciprocity
It is not about one person dominating the conversation, and it is certainly not about word production or the number of words being used…
Communication is about how effectively those words are used in a back-and-forth exchange. It is about being interested in what your partner shares; it’s about reciprocity.
One of my students was in the habit of asking the mothers who came to our center what they had cooked that day. The delighted mothers would answer elaborately.  But he was not interested in their answers. In fact, he didn’t even wait for them!
He probably had been taught to ask certain questions to increase his ‘wh’ repertoire.

Read more here at Autism Parenting Magazine.

Monday, December 26, 2016

How to Desensitize Autistic Children

Many autistic children are born with significant sensory issues. They can be startling, upsetting, or even painful to the individual. This article explains how to methodically reduce sensitivities in vision, hearing, and touch using gradual exposure.



Read more here on wikiHow.

1 in 150 children in Singapore has autism

The data on developmental problems came from KK Women's and Children's Hospital and the National University Hospital, which diagnose such disorders in children six years and below.
The children's conditions include autism, speech and language delays, behavioural problems and global development delay.
The panel behind the roadmap identified the rising number of people with autism as a key trend affecting the disability sector, and said it was important for future services to address the wide spectrum of needs.
The consensus among experts is that Singapore's high autism rate and the rise in the number of people with autism are likely due to more awareness and testing, and to the wider parameters of the autism spectrum, rather than a greater prevalence of autism.

Read more here at The Straits Times.

Friday, December 23, 2016

How to Build and Implement Programs for Students with Autism

Billings
January 25 and 26, 2017
9:00 am. to 4:00 p.m.
Big Horn Resort
Day 1: How To Build A Program For a Student With Autism
  • What to look for in the diagnosis report
  • Examine programs and assessments to gather meaningful data
  • How to conduct an ER for a child with Autism
  • Develop an IEP with meaningful goals based on data
  • How to create a daily schedule and integrate IEP goals
  • Examine 4 profiles for children with autism and how their programs differ
  • Discuss/Create visual supports that may be helpful with your students
Day 2: How To Implement a Program For a Student With Autism
  • How to take data on goals from the IEP every day
  • How to integrate IEP goals throughout the day
  • How to help the student generalize skills
  • How to conduct a reinforcer assessment
  • How to implement a token economy
  • How to use a visual schedule
  • How to create a task analysis
  • How to use visual supports  throughout the day
Twelve OPI renewal units will be available for this training. This training is FREE from the OPI Montana Autism Education Project.

* Attendance is limited to 45 people.*

This workshop is intended for paraeducators and special education teachers. You can request to attend the workshop here.  You will be informed on January 11th if you have been chosen to attend the workshop. A block of sleeping rooms are available at the hotel.



Presenters:

Lorri Coulter has been an itinerant school psychologist for 14 years.  Currently she provides services to the Prairie View Special Service cooperative in Glendive, Montana. She is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and is now part of an Evaluation & Diagnostic Team and the Autism Diagnostic Observation Scale (ADOS) team in eastern Montana. When she is not on the road she lives with her husband Rod on the family ranch in Brusett and spends every other minute in her art studio.  

Chelsea Phipps is a ranch wife, mother, and speech language pathologist. She currently runs her own private practice.  One of her favorite things about being an SLP is helping kids learn to communicate with AAC devices. 



Thursday, December 22, 2016

Understanding the spectrum

I hear alot of people misinterpreting or misusing the term ‘autism spectrum’. So for Autism Acceptance week, I decided to make a comic to help explain the term and how it affects things. Archie is one of the reasons I became so interested/knowledgeable in autism (I like to go all out in research when I write characters for comics n such) so he’s the one presenting everything! 

See more here. 

Monday, December 19, 2016

Bibliography of Autism Books and Resources Available



The OPI Montana Autism Education Project has books and the Circles Curriculum available for interlibrary loan.

You can view or download the listing of books, etc. by clicking here.  Each title has a hyperlink to the publisher or another source so you can find more information.



Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Autistic Toddlers May Miss Significance of Eye Contact

“They’re looking less at the eyes not because of an aversion to making eye contact, but because they don’t appear to understand the social significance of eye contact.”
The researchers studied eye gaze responses in young children with autism at the time of their initial diagnosis in order to have clearer evidence about the initial underlying reasons for reduced eye contact.
Some adults and older children with autism have reported feeling anxious in response to eye contact. “Our results aren’t meant to contradict these personal experiences,” emphasized Jones.
“For children with autism, social signals can be confusing. And as children grow up to be adults, those signals can become even more challenging to understand. This research highlights the opportunity to target the right underlying concerns as early as possible.”

Archived Webinar - Anxiety and Autism: What You Need To Know


Webinar - Ask the Nutritionist - Live Q&A

December 7, 2016

Ever had a question wanted to ask a nutritionist? Here's your chance - ARI's Nutrition Director Kelly Barnhill will be taking participant's questions live online. 

Kelly Barnhill, MBA, CN, CCN, is the Director of the Nutrition Clinic at The Johnson Center for Child Health and Development. She is a Certified Clinical Nutritionist, with over a decade of experience working with nutrition in children with autism and related disorders. At the Johnson Center she directs a team of dieticians and nutritionists that has served more than 3,000 children through this practice. 


Register here on the Autism Research Institute web site. 

Flu Vaccine During Pregnancy Not Linked To Autism

Question  Is there an association between maternal influenza infection and vaccination and autism risk?
Findings  In a cohort study of 196 929 children, of whom 3103 had austism spectrum disorder, maternal influenza infection during pregnancy was not associated with increased autism risk. There was a suggestion of increased risk of autism spectrum disorders among children whose mothers received an influenza vaccination during their first trimester, but the association was statistically insignificant after adjusting for multiple comparisons, indicating that the finding could be due to chance.

Beyond Compliance: Writing Quality Transition Plans - Tuesday, Jan 17, 2017


WhereWingate Missoula MT, 5252 Airway Blvd, Missoula, MT 59808, USA 

Dr Tessie Rose Bailey
Registration 8:30 to 9am Session 9am to 4 pm Lunch on your own
Participants are encouraged to bring a transition IEP that they have written.
Did you know that a compliant transition plan doesn’t guarantee it is meaningful plan, but a meaningful transition plan guarantees compliance? Quality transition plans—those that are both compliant and meaningful—are essential for promoting seamless and effective transitions from school to post-school living for students with disabilities. 

This interactive session will: • Review the state and federal requirements, including Indicator 13, related to writing transition plans for students with disabilities. • Highlight transition assessment strategies that support the development of quality transition plans. • Present strategies for increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of writing transition plans. • Provide opportunities for evaluating and writing transition plans using learned strategies.
The session is relevant for educators responsible for supporting the development and writing of transitions plans. Participants are encouraged to bring samples of their own transition plans for activities.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

"Aspergers Are Us" Documentary Is Available on iTunes and Coming to Netflix


Comedians Jack Hanke, New Michael Ingemi, Ethan Finlan and Noah Britton have grown accustomed to performing in front of audiences, but the spotlight is about to get a lot larger for the members of the “Aspergers Are Us” comedy troupe.
“Aspergers Are Us” first made headlines in 2011 as the first comedy troupe comprised entirely of men on the autism spectrum. Now the troupe is the subject of a new documentary, also titled “Aspergers Are Us,” which was released on iTunes this week and will be available for streaming on Netflix in December.
“I had come across an article about [‘Aspergers Are Us’] and I loved everything about them,” director Alex Lehmann told The Mighty. “Their energy, their sense of humor, everything drew me in. Their troupe defied my preconceptions of autism, which meant I could make a movie where I was asking a question instead of presenting an answer.”
The documentary follows the four friends, who met at summer camp when they were younger, as they prepare for their final show together as “Aspergers Are Us.”

Trailer         Read more here on The Mighty 

Parent training may lead to lasting gains in autism features

Teaching parents of toddlers with autism how to recognize and respond to their children may result in stable improvements in these children’s social communication and other autism features.

The researchers measured autism severity using the Calibrated Severity Score, a test that controls for a child’s age and language ability. This test was not available when they analyzed the data for their 2010 study.
When the researchers reanalyzed their initial data using the test, they found that the children in the treatment group showed a decrease in their autism severity: They showed greater improvements in social communication and a bigger decrease in repetitive behaviors than those in the control group.
These children maintained their advantage six years later, with 46 percent of them showing severe autism features compared with 63 percent of children in the control group.
Spence says the changes are likely to be clinically meaningful. But she says the treatment does not appear to work for everyone. “A couple of the kids got worse,” she says.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

URLEND Training Opportunities

Hello,

I am contacting you about an amazing learning opportunity, that will actually PAY you to participate and learn!  We are planning ahead to recruit our new URLEND trainees for next fall at the University of Montana.

URLEND is well explained on its website at www.urlend.org  

The focus of URLEND is leadership training to work effectively with families of children with disabilities within an interprofessional team. 

University of Montana’s Rural Institute is a partner with the URLEND program. We recruit and train a handful of people – people with disabilities, caregivers, educators, health care professionals and graduate students working with people with disabilities – to be more effective as advocates, clinicians and leaders. This year-long program includes Friday afternoon classes on the UM Missoula campus during the fall and spring academic semesters as well as clinic and home visits that are scheduled as needed. A stipend is paid to all trainees completing 300 or more hours of class and training over the 30 week program. In August, all trainees from around the region are sent to Salt Lake City (expenses covered) to meet each other and enjoy an orientation weekend. Interested trainees can elect to attend a second year of training focused around autism spectrum disorders. 

If you or someone you know is interested, please let me know. We can only include a handful of people each year and like to have the spots filled by late winter/early spring for planning. Please feel free to forward this email out through your networks. If you would like some of these brochures printed, please send me an address and we will send them out. 

Best,

Mindy 

Mindy Oxman Renfro, PT, PhD
Rural Institute for Inclusive Communities
University of Montana

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Along the Autism Spectrum, a Path Through Campus Life

The first generation of college students with an autism diagnosis is fanning out to campuses across the country. These growing numbers reflect the sharp rise in diagnosis rates since the 1990s, as well as the success of early-learning interventions and efforts to include these students in mainstream activities.

But while these young adults have opportunities that could not have been imagined had they been born even a decade earlier, their success in college is still a long shot. Increasingly, schools are realizing that most of these students will not graduate without comprehensive support like the Kelly Autism Program at Western Kentucky. Similar programs have been taking root at nearly 40 colleges around the country, including large public institutions like Eastern Michigan UniversityCalifornia State University, Long Beach, the University of Connecticut and Rutgers.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Making the Most of the Holidays for Your Family and Your Son/Daughter on the Autism Spectrum

10.  Prepare a photo album in advance of the relatives and other guests who will be visiting during the holidays. Allow the child access to these photos at all times and also go through the photo album with your child while talking briefly about each family member.
11.  In preparation for the holiday season, you might want to practice opening gifts, taking turns and waiting for others, or giving gifts to others. Use a visual turn taking card to help with this process. Role play scenarios with your child in preparation for them getting a gift they do not want. Talk through this process to avoid embarrassing moments with family members. The New Social Story Book by Carol Gray (2010) contains a number of social stories on gifts.

Functional Assessment-Based Interventions

A functional assessment-based intervention (FABI) is a systematic approach used to support students with the most intensive intervention needs with the goal of teaching students functionally equivalent replacement behaviors to support them in enjoying a high quality life. Umbreit, Ferro, Liaupsin, and Lane (2007) developed a systematic approach to identifying maintaining function(s) of target behaviors and designing interventions (BIP) directly linked to results of the functional behavior assessment (FBA).  In these materials, you will find resources to help you design, implement, and evaluate FABIs in your setting with this systematic approach. These include, brief video modules introducing this systematic five-step process and implementation materials to support your efforts. 

See more here. 

Thursday, November 17, 2016

CEC Conference Registration Scholarship REQUEST


Missoula – Hilton Garden Inn
February 15/16/17, 2017

Please read ALL of the information below before requesting a scholarship.

The OPI Montana Autism Education Project is offering a limited number of registration scholarships to the 2017 Montana CEC conference.

The scholarships are only available to special education staff working in Montana public school districts.

The scholarships are for the conference registration only. OPI will not provide travel reimbursement (gas, food, lodging.)

The scholarships are for all three days of the conference, except for university students, who receive one-day scholarships.

The scholarships are available for school staff from across the state. Please be sure that you will be approved to attend the conference before requesting a scholarship.

Scholarship recipients will be notified by (one week before the Early Bird registration deadline.)

THE SCHOLARSHIPS HAVE BEEN CHOSEN FOR THIS YEAR AND THE LINK BELOW NO LONGER WORKS. WE HOPE YOU WILL BE CHOSEN NEXT YEAR.

Read more and request a registration scholarship here

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Mother's DNA linked to autism risk

Scientists are closing in on the genetic cause of autism, with the latest research pinpointing mutations in DNA inherited from the mother.
A team at Cornell University analysed DNA belonging to 903 children on the autism spectrum, and compared it with DNA from their unaffected siblings.
Children with autism had twice the number of potentially harmful mutations in their mitochondrial DNA than their siblings.

Webinar - Executive Function Series: Session 1 Building Memory and Focus – for Students with Autism and Intellectual Disabilities

February 22, 2017, 11:00 am CST - 45-minutes
Executive Function Series: Session 1 Building Memory and Focus – for Students with Autism and Intellectual Disabilities
Executive Function Series: Executive functioning and self-regulation — recalling relevant information to complete a task, filtering out distractions and exercising self-regulation, and adapting and adjusting to changing demands — are particularly challenging for students with significant communication, behavioral and cognitive needs. This webinar series will discuss support strategies to develop and strengthen executive function and self-regulation skills and compensate for any deficit areas to enable academic and life success.
Session 1: Remembering the information required to completing a task, and sustaining attention during a particular activity are skills that learners require to be successful in academic activities and to develop self-dependence. Augmented with student scenarios and context-specific situations, this webinar session will discuss and illustrate a variety of instructional support strategies to build and strengthen the working memory, attention and focus of students with autism and intellectual disabilities to enable them to succeed in school and beyond.
FREE
Beginner

LEARN MORE & REGISTER
February 01, 2017, 11:00 am CST - 45-minutes
Supporting Students with Severe and Multiple Disabilities: What Paraeducators Need to Know and Do
This session will demonstrate how to choreograph effective paraeducator support to students with severe and multiple disabilities that is student-centered, non-intrusive and non-stigmatizing. Participants will learn strategies to maximize academic and social learning opportunities for students they support while facilitating growth of independence and reduce adult dependence. The inclusion of classroom scenarios and student-specific vignettes during the presentation will help with implementation of best-practices.
FREE
Beginner

LEARN MORE & REGISTER

Webinar - AT Independence in College: The QIAT-PS Student Self-evaluation Matrix

December 14, 2016, 11:30 am CST - 1-Hour
AT Independence in College: The QIAT-PS Student Self-evaluation Matrix
In this session, we will look at factors students must consider when attending college, including accessing available AT services and supports. A newly revised student self-evaluation matrix will be presented as a strategy for preparing students for independence with AT during the transition from high school to post-secondary education.
FREE
 &
Beginner/Intermediate

LEARN MORE & REGISTER

Webinar - Apps and AT to Support Executive Functioning

November 10, 2016, 03:30 pm CST - 60-minutes
Apps and AT to Support Executive Functioning
Executive function is often described as difficulty with planning, behavior control/regulation, organization and thinking skills. For individuals with autism, dyslexia, ADHD, learning disabilities or a nonverbal learning disability, components of executive functioning can limit functional capabilities in all areas of occupation. Students struggle with planning, memory, organization and experience frequent challenges with recalling the Who, What, When and Where of many tasks. In this session you will learn about AT tools and Apps to support many executive functioning skills such as time management, shift and flexible thinking, emotional regulation, self-monitoring, planning and prioritizing, organization, attention and focus, task initiation, and more! Join us for demonstrations, examples, discussions and methods of implementation! 
FREE
Beginner

LEARN MORE & REGISTER

Supports for Visual Supports


Find these and many, many more at the Indiana Resource Center for Autism

Tantrums trick autism tests

Sorting autism from other developmental conditions is no simple matter. Autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), for example, can be particularly tough to tell apart. And a new study suggests that even the gold-standard tests for diagnosing autism are not a foolproof solution to this problem1.
Some children with low intelligence or behavioral issues — but not autism — meet the cutoff for autism on these tests. The findings, published 27 September in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, highlight the limitations of the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule(ADOS), the Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised (ADI-R) and the Social Responsiveness Scale (SRS).
We asked Somer Bishop and Alexandra Havdahl, the researchers who led the study, why these tests are not specific for autism and what this means for clinicians making the diagnosis.

ADHD May Be Over-Diagnosed In Those With Autism

New research suggests that a commonly-used screening tool for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder may be faulty when used with children who have autism, potentially causing kids to receive inappropriate treatments.
Researchers analyzed results from the ADHD Rating Scale Fourth Edition for 386 kids ages 7 to 17 with autism. They found that children on the spectrum raised red flags on some questions whether or not the kids actually had ADHD.

10 Things I Keep in My 'Toolkit' as an Autistic Person

7. Something that smells good: My sense of smell is sensitive. Public bathrooms, household cleaners, chemicals, and air fresheners all make me queasy. I like to have good scented lotion or perfume (that smells like food or candy) in my bag to apply when I need to smell something pleasant and block out something obnoxious.
8. Gum/mints/candy: My stims are less obvious, possibly because I’ve turned to an oral fixation. I like to keep organic mints, candy, or gum in my bag. Personally, I cannot handle aspartame or artificial sweeteners as they aggravate my stomach. I tend to be more sensitive to any non-organic chemicals than most people.
9. Taking breaks: I’ve found it is better for me to step away for a quiet moment alone than to have a public meltdown or shutdown. Don’t be afraid to excuse yourself and step away to take a break if you need one.

Webinar - How to Improve Transition Results for High School Students with Disabilities

 TUESDAY, DECEMBER 6TH

 1:00PM ET/10:00AM PT


Transition challenges are top-of-mind for every special educator. How can we improve achievement for students with disabilities and prepare them to transition from high school to college and career? With heightened accountability, special educators are using a range of tools and methods that go beyond core academics and include non-academic skills, while considering student motivation and engagement. Now, there is a growing need for an organizing framework that ensures all students with disabilities are college and career ready. 

Make plans to participate as transition expert Dr. Mary Morningstar describes six academic and non-academic domains special educators can use to address transition challenges and implications for program level implementation.

The Birds and the Bees: Puberty, Hygiene, Safety and Sexuality for Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder

December 7 - Kalispell 
December 8 - Missoula

Both workshops will be from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. 

This presentation covers a much needed and little talked about area for youths with ASD. Youths with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities are twice as likely as their typically developing peers to be victims of physical or sexual abuse. Information regarding puberty, hygiene, and sexuality relates to keeping children with ASD safe. Areas covered can easily become target behaviors, objectives for IEPs, or treatment goals for youth with ASD.

Topics include:

What to Expect (and what you might not expect.)
Hygiene
Clothing Matters
Personal Safety
Rethinking "The Talk"
Teaching Anatomy
and more!


Dr. Natalie Monfort is a clinical psychologist for The Stewart Center at the Westview School in Houston, Texas.

This training is FREE from the OPI Montana Autism Education Project. Six OPI renewal units will be available for this training