Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Archived Webinar: Social Skills, Social Networking, and Adolescents with ASD: What Every Parent and Professional Should Know

Watch the archived webinar here. 

Archived Webinar - Going Beyond Behavior Specific Praise How we can utilize praise for social and emotional learning.

This webinar reviews ways in which parents, teachers, and caregivers can utilize praise to teach values and ideas. Many of us have been told to use behavior-specific praise - stating what behavior our student or child is doing or is doing well when giving verbal social reinforcement But why do you want that behavior to continue? Which of your values does this present? What does this mean in the larger social context? This presentation will describe how we can give praise that teaches children our social and emotional values, in addition to providing reinforcement.

View this webinar from The Johnson Center here. 

Archived Webinar - Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA): A Behavioral Approach to ADHD and Anxiety

View the webinar from Relias Learning here. 

Movin' On in Montana - Billings

Movin' On in Montana is a four-day on campus event at Montana State University Billings designed for high school sophomores and juniors with disabilities.  This opportunity will assist the students through the difficult transition from high school to college.  Following a step-by-step process, students will discover the study skills, compensatory skills, social skills, and personal skills needed for a successful college experience.  Students will develop their own personal transition portfolio.

The highlight of Movin' On in Montana is the four-day stay on the campus of Montana State University Billings.  During the summer of 2017 students will live in the dorms, eat in the cafeteria, attend classes on the MSUB campus, and tour other college campuses.  Books, fees, tuition, room, and board will be provided at no charge to students accepted into the program.

Movin' On in Montana includes online modules that both prepare students for the on campus event and follow along as they complete the application process.

Find more information here. 

Facing the Frontal Lobe: Strategies to Support Executive Function Skills in Students with Planning, Organization, Emotional Control, Working Memory and Attention Needs

Billings, March 29, 2017

Executive function skills have come to the forefront in the world of education. Recent research suggests a strong correlation between students' executive functioning and their academic success. It also has been noted that deficits in executive functioning results in difficulty with organization, time management and task completion, problem solving, on-task behaviors and social interactions. 

Participants in the workshop will explore the impact of Executive Functioning on student learning and social interaction. The workshop is designed for all educators as attention is given to those skills needed by kindergarten through middle school students to be successful in a general and special education classroom. Participants will learn about the five domains of cognitive skills and will be given resource ideas and strategies that are designed to support strong cognitive skills in students. The strategies presented focus on skills that promote effective organization and time management, task completion, independent work, student goal setting and accountability. Additionally, the intervention ideas also provide a foundation to assist student self-monitoring, impulse control and emotional management. 

Register here. 

Monday, January 30, 2017

Training - Positive Behavioral Strategies For Students with Autism

March 3, 2017 
Dutton School Auditorium - Dutton, MT 

A thorough presentation of positive behavioral interventions in a variety of environments will be presented to conference attendees. Discussion will center around types of behaviors; task avoidance, escape motivated, atten-tion seeking, behaviors that produce sensory consequences, and the role motivation plays in behavioral success in many settings-school, home, and community.  

The audience will be able to apply the information presented through videos, activities, and examples of how to set up positive plans for the children in a variety of environmental settings immediately in their respective situations. The training will also contain discussions about setting limits that work and the application of positive interventions. 

We will examine the common pitfalls that sabotage behavioral intervention plans and what to avoid when wanting to make significant behavioral changes. 

Discussion of how to conduct a Functional Behavioral As-sessment, write a Positive Behavioral Plan and use an Antecedent/Behavior/Consequence chart will be presented to the conference attendees. A brief discussion of how to draft positive behavioral goals for IEP’s of IFSP’s will also be presented. 

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: 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.

Register here with AbleNet. 

Archived Webinar - 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.

Find and watch the archived webinar here (account creation required.)

Webinar - Technology Consideration and Assessment for Secondary Students

Thursday, February 16th, 2017 - 4:00pm to 5:00pm EST

How do educators work to determine which tools and strategies a student might require in order to ensure a free appropriate public education (FAPE)? When it comes to the selection of technology, there are often numerous options that might be put into place. Educators at the secondary level can use a familiar framework to help analyze the situation and suggest what to implement from a least to most restrictive point of view. In this webinar, participants will have the opportunity to discuss and practice a method of assessing student needs that incorporates tools and strategies that take the least restrictive approach.

Register here (account set-up required)

Webinar - Teaching the Swipe Generation

Wednesday February 8, 2017 from 3:00 PM to 4:00 PM EST 

Join us as we explore developmentally appropriate apps and other technology resources for supporting the growth of language, play, literacy, and early math skills for children birth to eight years of age. Current research on the use of assistive technology for young children with disabilities will be discussed.

Register here. 

Archived Webinar - Think Twice: Appropriate Medical Support for Your Child

Wed, Feb 8, 2017 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM MST

Whether you go to see your regular pediatrician, a specialist in autism or an integrative physician, you should know what questions to ask and why they may ask certain questions. This lecture will help you to discover how to get the most information and support for all of your time, money and effort.

View the archived webinar here.

Archived Webinar - Practical Strategies to Reduce Stress & Anxiety in Children During Medical Appointments & Procedures

Visiting the doctor or dentist, having blood drawn for labs, shots, vitals checks, and other medical procedures are often very stressful for children, compounded in children with ASD because of transition and communication issues. Learn some practical strategies and tips to make these experiences less stressful and more successful for the children (and the parents!).

Watch the archived webinar here.

Microbiota Transfer Therapy alters gut ecosystem and improves gastrointestinal and autism symptoms


Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are complex neurobiological disorders that impair social interactions and communication and lead to restricted, repetitive, and stereotyped patterns of behavior, interests, and activities. The causes of these disorders remain poorly understood, but gut microbiota, the 1013 bacteria in the human intestines, have been implicated because children with ASD often suffer gastrointestinal (GI) problems that correlate with ASD severity. Several previous studies have reported abnormal gut bacteria in children with ASD. The gut microbiome-ASD connection has been tested in a mouse model of ASD, where the microbiome was mechanistically linked to abnormal metabolites and behavior. Similarly, a study of children with ASD found that oral non-absorbable antibiotic treatment improved GI and ASD symptoms, albeit temporarily. Here, a small open-label clinical trial evaluated the impact of Microbiota Transfer Therapy (MTT) on gut microbiota composition and GI and ASD symptoms of 18 ASD-diagnosed children.


MTT involved a 2-week antibiotic treatment, a bowel cleanse, and then an extended fecal microbiota transplant (FMT) using a high initial dose followed by daily and lower maintenance doses for 7–8 weeks. The Gastrointestinal Symptom Rating Scale revealed an approximately 80% reduction of GI symptoms at the end of treatment, including significant improvements in symptoms of constipation, diarrhea, indigestion, and abdominal pain. Improvements persisted 8 weeks after treatment. Similarly, clinical assessments showed that behavioral ASD symptoms improved significantly and remained improved 8 weeks after treatment ended. Bacterial and phagedeep sequencing analyses revealed successful partial engraftment of donor microbiota and beneficial changes in the gut environment

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Workshop - High-Functioning Autism: Proven & Practical Interventions for Challenging Behaviors in Children, Adolescents & Young Adults

(Note. This workshop is not provided by the OPI Montana Autism Education Project and we will not be offering registration scholarships. We rarely do registration scholarships and then only for the CEC and a few other conferences.)

Billings:  February 21, 2017
Bozeman: February 22, 2017
Missoula: February 24, 2017

Single Registration
Single Registration: Advance Price (ends 2/1/2017)
2+ Group Rate: per person

  1. Explain how the DSM-5® updates impact service delivery.
  2. Utilize several social skill interventions to improve long-term success for children/adolescents with HFA.
  3. Employ specific coping and calming techniques for children/adolescents with HFA.
  4. Identify medication side effects that can mimic behavioral issues and may even cause behavioral issues.
  5. Design effective strategies for successful transitions for children/adolescents with HFA.
  6. Select specific behavioral interventions that target the most difficult behaviors in children/adolescents with HFA.
  7. Summarize the new DSM-5® diagnosis of Social-Pragmatic Communication Disorder and design treatment interventions.

FYI, this same workshop was in the same cities in February of 2016, but with a different speaker. 

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Helping Children with Autism & ADHD Fall Asleep

Problems with sleeping are common in children with ADHD and autism. If you are the parent of a child with ADHD or autism then you will know how a good night’s sleep will make a big difference to how your child is able to cope with the day after that sleep. If they don’t get all of the sleep that they need then they can end up-
  • Wanting to fall asleep during the day
  • Being unable to pay full attention at school
  • Heightening behavioral issues
  • Being more prone to hyperactivity or aggression
We all need rest to be able to function at our best, and this is even more so for children. So getting the full sleep that is required for their age is an essential part of helping your child manage their condition, get on with others and lead a normal healthy life.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Could Cancer Drugs Treat Autism?

A surprising genetic connection has autism researchers wondering if they can borrow from cancer’s medicine cabinet.

"Five years ago, on Charlie Ryan’s second birthday, a big lump mysteriously formed on the side of his abdomen. At the emergency room his parents took him to, doctors suggested the lump was a hernia caused by some unknown trauma, and referred the family to a surgeon. The surgeon told them it was a benign tumor, and sent them home.

Charlie already had a host of medical issues. He’d been born with an abnormally large head and other features of autism, including being nonverbal. Now this.

Two years later, after visits to multiple doctors and the nine months it took for his genetic test to be analyzed, her hunch proved right. Charlie has a mutation in PTEN. Ryan immediately faxed the results to Charis Eng, a PTEN expert at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, whose name she had come across in her research. A few months later, the family made their first trip from their home in Tulsa, Oklahoma, to see Eng and her colleague, autism expert Thomas Frazier. Together, Eng and Frazier have treated more than two dozen children like Charlie—who all have PTEN mutations, autism, and large heads.

Read more here at The Atlantic. 

Decoding beaver DNA for clues to autism

The beaver DNA project is expected to help advance research into human disorders and diseases such as autism and cancer, by allowing scientists to better understand genome sequencing done from scratch.
"The beaver genome was something that was begging to be studied," TCAG director Steve Scherer told CTV News.
Scherer, known for his breakthrough research into genes linked to autism, explained that the beaver genome sequencing was done as a way to test new technologies and ideas developed at the TCAG to study human genomes.

Watch the video on the Globe and Mail. 

Read more on CTV. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Archived Webinars - Idaho Training Clearinghouse

Autism Spectrum Disorder: Executive Function to Interventions - Session 1

See more here - registration required to view. 

Roadmap to Transition: A Handbook for Autistic Youth Transitioning to Adulthood

Roadmap can be used in different ways. Chapters 2-6 lay the groundwork for understanding and preparing for transition. These chapters cover:
  • self-determination and self-advocacy
  • legal rights
  • how to make a transition plan
  • how to get supports, and
  • what supported decision-making is and how to use it.
Chapters 7-10 are content chapters. These chapters give in-depth information about the different things you'll need to think about as you go through transition planning. While each of these chapters focuses on a different topic, they all have sections about the important laws you should know and how that topic fits into your transition plan. The topics covered in these chapters are:
  • post-secondary education
  • employment
  • housing and independent living, and
  • health care.

Archived Webinar: Somer Bishop addresses advances in autism diagnosis

Watch the archived webinar her on Spectrum. 

Saturday, January 7, 2017

15 Tips for Helping Children With Sensory Sensitivity Brush Their Teeth

6. If your child is a music lover, consider a singing toothbrush. There are lots of varieties of musical toothbrushes on the market, from ones that sing songs to ones that make animal noises.
7. If a singing toothbrush with all the fancy bells and whistles doesn’t sound too appealing to you, simply sing a song your child loves while they brush. If the brushing stops, you stop singing. You can even play a favorite song on your phone and pause it if they stop brushing.
8. Brush when your child brushes. Brush your teeth at the same time as your little one. Be enthusiastic about it, making it look appealing.
9. Take turns brushing. Let your little one brush their own teeth first before you do it for them. You can also try and give your child your brush and let them brush your teeth while you brush theirs (it can be a good distraction!).

Estate Planning for Parents of Children with Autism

As people grow older, especially parents, they begin to think about the future, and how their children will be provided for after they’re gone. For parents of children without developmental disabilities, this is easier, as those children can typically provide for themselves.
However, when you have a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder, the issue becomes much knottier. Not only do you have to financially provide for that child after you’re gone, you must ensure they’ll be well taken care of and that your death does not compromise the child in any way other than the obvious emotional impact losing you will have.
Below we will discuss what it means to plan your estate when you have a child with autism. We will address the basics – like what exactly estate planning is and the challenges it can bring – as well as what documents you need to have in order in your estate planning, which documents your child needs to be successful and in compliance with the law, and how you should proceed once you have put your affairs in place.

An Accommodation Model + Student Abilitiies Profile Form

The Process

It is helpful to have a process to follow when determining appropriate accommodations for students with disabilities. DO-IT has developed a model process and a Student Abilities Profile form for creating effective accommodations.
The Accommodation Model can be used by any instructor and is composed of the following four steps

Friday, January 6, 2017

Large study shows self-injury common among children with autism

About one in four children with autism hit, scratch or otherwise hurt themselves, suggests an analysis of school and medical records for more than 8,000 children in the United States. Children who engage in self-injury tend to have mood and behavioral challenges, as well as cognitive impairment.

In a second study, Soke and his colleagues investigated possible connections between self-injurious behaviors and a variety of other features — from a child’s sex and race to sleep problems and sensory sensitivities. The researchers also took note of family characteristics, such as age of parents, maternal education, insurance coverage and income.

Read more here at Spectrum. 

10 Nail-Trimming Tips for Parents of Children With Sensory Sensitivities

1. Nail clippers can look scary. Try buying a pair of “kid-friendly” nail clippers that are more visually appealing. They sell cute animal clippers (ex: in the shape of a dino or dolphin).
2. Re-evaluate your need to use nail clippers. If your child absolutely cannot tolerate nail cutting, experiment a little. Maybe using baby nail scissors that have a rounded tip will be less irritating for your child. Or maybe even try using a nail file. It can take longer, but if your child is tolerant of the file versus the clippers, it might be a lot less stressful for the both of you.
3. Before nail cutting, ask if your child wants to squeeze putty, play-dough, or a stress-ball. The heavy work/deep pressure input might help to reduce your child’s tactile sensitivity.


I recently heard from a parent who was in the process of moving to a new city. She was very concerned about helping her son, Andre, who has autism spectrum disorder (ASD), adjust to all of the upcoming changes a move entails, including a new house and a new school. I assured her that there are a number of strategies that she could use to help prepare Andre for the upcoming changes and adjust to his new home. These are the suggestions I shared with her:
Let the individual with ASD know about the change in advance. In general, people with ASD do best if they know about a change ahead of time. How far in advance that knowledge is helpful varies tremendously from person to person. If you’re moving to a new house and you are going to have to start packing, it’s probably the right time to introduce the change.
Create a social narrative about the change. You can create a video or written social narrative. This should be written at the appropriate level for the individual. For younger children or older individuals with ASD who need more significant support, the narrative may include few words and lots of pictures. For others, the narrative may read more like a newspaper article. For written narratives, use photographs whenever possible. You may find it helpful to create narratives about several different changes that will be occurring. So, you might write one about your new house, their new bedroom, the new city, the new school, and their new classroom. You can also write about “people changes,” such as having a new teacher or meeting new neighbors. If you’re moving closer to Grandma and Grandpa, you’ll want to explain that they will get to see their grandparents more often.

Webinar - Environmental Toxins & Autism Spectrum Disorder

Learn what the current research says about how environmental chemicals may interact with genetic mechanisms to increase ASD risk. 

Webinar - Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA): A Behavioral Approach to ADHD and Anxiety

Wednesday, January 18th at 1pm EST 
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurological disorder of childhood that often persists into adulthood. It is reported that more than 1 in 10 (11%) of US, school-aged children have received an ADHD diagnosis by a health care provider (CDC, 2016). While medications are often prescribed for children with ADHD or anxiety, the first line of treatment recommended by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) is behavioral therapy. This recommendation is also supported by the American Academy of Pediatrics and is further supported by research published in the Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology (Pelham et al., 2016). 

This training will: 
  • Discuss characteristics of ADHD and anxiety 
  • Review findings from current research 
  • Highlight similarities and differences between ABA for clients with autism from those with ADHD/anxiety disorders 
  • Allow time for Q & A with audience members
*Interested but can't attend? Register anyways and we'll send you the recording.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Webinar - Including Assistive Technology in the IFSP and IEP

Date: Wednesday, January 18, 2017
Time: 6:30pm-8:00pm
In this workshop, we will provide families, teachers, and other professionals a way to be intentional about the process of considering assistive technology and ensure it is included in the IFSP/IEP document. Participants will learn how to use the TIKES Project’s Child-Centered AT Plan to consider and document assistive technology for children ages birth to five.

Funding AT for K-12

Webinar January 11th  

Presenter: Chris Gibbons, Smartbox Inc, Vice President of Education and Assessment 
Chris Gibbons
Assistive technology (AT) can change the lives of students with disabilities, helping them reach their full potential. Yet the rubber meets the road when it is time to pay for AT devices and services, and information about AT funding is often hard to find. In this important webinar, Chris Gibbons will discuss AT funding sources for children with and without IEPs. He’ll provide information on 3rd party funding, offering specific examples and providing participants with useful resources.

Why parents try fringe therapies for autism

The dilemma:

When it comes to alternative interventions, there’s a seemingly endless array of diets, supplements, high-tech therapies and other options. This abundance is a reflection of both the huge spike in autism diagnoses in recent years and the lack of good treatment options.
“It’s a cottage industry of false hope,” says Paul Offit, professor of pediatrics at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and author of “Autism’s False Prophets,” a book about dubious causes and cures. “To me, taking advantage of parents’ desperate desire to do anything to help their children is the lowest form of quackery.”
To an expert, dismissing pseudo-scientific alternatives or weighing the risks of potentially promising yet unproven treatments may be second nature. For parents, it’s much more complicated.

Autistic Driving School - movie on Netflix Instant as of January 1, 2017

You can watch the traiiler here. 

Compulsions, anxiety replace autism in some children

Most children who lose their autism diagnosis develop related psychiatric conditions, according to a new study1. The findings suggest that doctors should continue to monitor children once diagnosed with autism.
An estimated 9 percent of children with autism achieve a so-called ‘optimal outcome.’ But nearly all of these children years later develop related conditions such as obsessive-compulsive disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, anxiety and depression, the new study suggests.
“The majority of the group with a past history of autism are vulnerable to developing other psychiatric disorders,” says lead investigator Nahit Motavalli Mukaddes, professor of child and adolescent psychiatry at the Istanbul Institute of Child Psychiatry in Turkey.
Other studies have reported psychiatric issues in children who lose their autism diagnosis, but at much lower rates. The new study examined children living in Turkey, so the high rates may reflect cultural differences, sociopolitical stress or variations in how psychiatric conditions are diagnosed and treated, says Inge-Marie Eigsti, associate professor of psychology at the University of Connecticut in Storrs, who was not involved in the new study.