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Wednesday, February 28, 2018

How Multilevel Marketing Companies Got the Autism Community Hooked on Essential Oils


Vague wellness language and an army of salespeople are miracle treatments for the bottom line.



Over the past five years or so, with a big assist from DoTerra and its main competitor, an MLM company called Young Living, essential oils have taken off in the autism community. Some parents I talked to told me they spend more than $200 a month on DoTerra products. On Facebook, there are dozens of essential oil groups for parents of kids on the spectrum—the group Autism, ADHD, and Essential Oils, for example, has more than 19,000 members.

Just one problem: There’s little published scientific evidence on the effects of DoTerra’s oils—or any essential oils—on people with autism. These products, indeed, are not regulated. And the company requires its salespeople to spend at least $100 a month on DoTerra products in order to qualify for sales commissions. 



Tuesday, February 27, 2018

OPI Montana Autism Education Project Conference

Billings - Big Horn Resort*
April 9-10, 2018

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



Monday April 9th
(All sessions are from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.)

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

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!



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


Strengthen Your Toolbox of Strategies and Activities for Students with Autism

Upon completion, attendees will be able to:
1)         Design 3 activities using best practice techniques to target specific skills
2)         List 5 strategies that can be used to help students with ASD
3)         Explain how the Social Thinking Model can be utilized across all levels of ASD



Tuesday April 10th

How to Implement a Program for a Student with Autism
(8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.)

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

How to Develop and Write Measurable IEP Goals
(8:30 a.m. to 11:45 p.m.)

Learn the CBCC method for writing goals and how to choose data recording methods that are realistic and measureable.

How To Prepare Students (and Yourself) for Post-school Transition
(8:30 a.m. to 11:45 p.m.)


Reinforcer Surveys and Reinforcer Schedules - How to Increase Student Success and Your Happiness
(1:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.)

Analysis of Automatically Reinforced Behavior: Sexualized Behavior, Sensory Regulation and Stimulation
(1:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.)

See more information and register here


* There is a block of sleeping rooms available at state rate at the Big Horn Resort. OPI will not provide travel reimbursement.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

14 Simple conversation social skills kits for children with autism: Free games, prompts, worksheets, activities

Here are a number of my free resources to help children on the autism spectrum with various elements of conversation.  This post is to facilitate access to them.

Go here to see the resources.

Archived Webinar - Counseling Considerations for People with ASD

Psychotherapy can address some of the skills delays, secondary symptoms, and co-morbid conditions that can come with autism spectrum disorders (ASD); however, interventions that are successful with people with ASD might be different than those used for the general population. Join us as we discuss some areas in which psychotherapy might benefit someone with ASD and things to consider when looking for a therapist. Presented by Amanda Tami, LPC, BCBA.


View the archived webinar here. 

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Asking Students to Plan Bad Behavior

Getting students to think about behaving badly helps them arrive at positive norms—and such reverse thinking may work in other situations as well.

Here’s a question students don’t expect to hear from a teacher: “How can we make sure to get kicked out of the museum today?”
It was Tuesday morning, and my fifth grade class was getting ready to go on a field trip to the Honolulu Museum of Art. While I relish every chance I get to visit museums, I sensed that a few of my students did not feel the same way.
I had to make a choice before our departure: Review the safety rules and run the risk of seeing their eyes glaze over, or engage the students in coming up with appropriate behavior expectations for themselves.

Archived Webinar: Mayada Elsabbagh discusses autism research on global stage

Global autism research offers a unique opportunity. The neurobiological substrates of autism are likely to be common across people, and thus the ‘true’ nature of autism is likely to become clear once we study the condition across diverse genetic pools, environments and cultural traditions.
In this webinar, I will present on recent advances in autism research across international settings. Adapting autism research to distinct cultural contexts offers a valuable opportunity to strengthen the scientific evidence for the roots and core features of autism. It also may inspire new directions for diagnosing and managing neurodevelopmental conditions that draw on the strengths of a community.

Optimism, confusion greet federal fast track for autism drug

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted the Swiss drug company Roche a rare ‘breakthrough therapy’ designation for a drug that may ease some features of autism.
The breakthrough designation means that the drug, balovaptan, can move more quickly to FDA approval. Experts are hopeful about the drug’s new status but say the tests used to assess it are less than ideal and the drug’s mode of action is a puzzle.
In Roche’s trial of balovaptan in adults with autism, 223 men on the spectrum took 1.5, 4 or 10 milligrams of the drug or a placebo every day for 12 weeks.
Caregivers rated the men’s social abilities on the Social Responsiveness Scale 2 (SRS) — the trial’s primary outcome measure — before and after the trial. Investigators also administered a scale called the Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales, which measures how an individual adapts to social changes and navigates life’s day-to-day demands.
The trial showed no benefit for the drug on the SRS, but the men who took the drug scored four or five points higher on the Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales than did those who got the placebo. The improvement reflects a small but clinically significant effect on social interaction and communication, says Federico Bolognani, the Roche investigator who led the trial. It is unclear why the participants showed improvement on this measure but not on the SRS.

Critics jump on ultrasound and autism connection

Ultrasound exams during pregnancy are common. And researchers have now looked at whether a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder is more likely among children exposed to this technology in the womb. 
There is no association between the number or duration of prenatal ultrasounds and a later diagnosis of autism in the child, according to a new study published Monday in JAMA Pediatrics. 
However, the researchers did find a statistical association between deep ultrasound wave penetration during the first and second trimesters and autism.
    "Depth of penetration has to do with the distance between the ultrasound transducer (probe) on the skin and the point at what you're looking at on the ultrasound," said Dr. Jodi Abbott, a co-author of the new study and a physician with Boston Medical Center.

    Conversation Skills for Teens with ASD


    Join Aarti Nair, Ph.D. of the UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior for this talk on evidence-based strategies aimed at supporting emerging conversation skills in teens diagnosed with ASD. 

    Mainstream schooling may lead to low self-esteem, isolation

    While mainstream classrooms can help students with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) learn important social, academic, and communication skills, a new report indicates that these benefits may come at a price in the form of reduced self-esteem and increased isolation.

    The researchers found that many students with ASD internalized the negative attitudes and responses of other students toward them. This, combined with unfavorable social comparisons to their classmates, led to a sense of being “different” and more limited than other students.

    Williams says, “We are not saying that mainstream schools are ‘bad’ for pupils with autism, as other evidence suggests they have a number of positive effects, including increasing academic performance and social skills. Rather, we are suggesting that by cultivating a culture of acceptance of all and making small changes, such as creating nondistracting places to socialize, and listening to their pupils’ needs, schools can help these pupils think and feel more positively about themselves.”

    Read more here. 

    Wednesday, February 7, 2018

    Living with autism in the Bitterroot

    In 2007, after Sequoia’s autism diagnosis, Jessica applied for a program that provides medical services, therapies, and specialized equipment for those with disabilities and lifelong needs. Jessica applied every year for seven years. Finally, in 2013, a space opened, providing Sequoia with intensive services.
     
    Understanding the limited statewide funding, a state worker told Jessica she had “won the lottery.”
    The Child Development Center in Missoula provides services to 48 children in the Bitterroot who have developmental disabilities, including autism, and 440 children total in their service area, said Jamie Wolf, a spokesperson. In the seven counties the CDC serves, more than 1,000 people, including 230 youth, are waiting for help that never seems to come.

    Read more here.

    Not Autism, but A Good Short Video About a Young Woman

    This video was created to help Kathryn's peers learn about her on their first day of 7th grade!

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

    Billings
    June 12, 2018
    Region III CSPD

    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. 

    This workshop is full, the waiting list is full and registration has closed.

    Tuesday, February 6, 2018

    VCU-ACE Research Article Database

    Welcome to the research section of the VCU-ACE website. As part of our mission to promote quality programming for students with ASD, VCU-ACE conducts, reviews, and disseminates research into innovative and practical solutions to create successful outcomes for individuals with ASD in school, work, and life. Whether you are looking for a peer-reviewed article on a specific intervention, or just want to know more about what works in the field through listening to an episode of the Inclusion Roundtable podcast, you'll find what you need to increase your research knowledge here.

    Use the database here. 





    HOW TO: Short Videos on how to . . .


    See the whole video series here at the VCU Autism Center for Excellence.

    These short videos are approximately five minutes long and are intended to provide a quick look at implementing a particular strategy. The How To videos provide a short description of the topic with real life video examples of how to implement the evidence-based practice in the classroom with students with ASD.


    TitleCategory
    How To: Motivating the Individual with ASD
    Motivation is a billion dollar a year industry. Motivation to go to the gym. Motivation to eat healthy. Motivation to improve work performance. We ALL need a little extra help in the motivation department. We know that there are really two kinds of motivation: Intrinsic and Extrinsic.
    Reinforcement
    How To: Incorporating Strengths and Interests
    When we think about autism, we often first think of the challenges first. Difficulty communicating with others, maybe repetitive behaviors, or even sensory challenges. Teachers and professionals are often looking for the challenges as they identify needs and supports. Parents are often discussing the challenges as they seek to understand why their child’s development is different. Sometimes we all get caught up in the challenges.
    Reinforcement
    How To: Graphic Organizers
    Graphic organizers can help students write out the who what when where why and how of their ideas. These can also help organize a main idea and supporting statements, help students with story mapping events and characters in a novel, assist with sequencing before and after ideas, and even help with brainstorming for complex papers and essays!
    Visual Supports
    Preschool How To: Reinforcement
    The topic for this How To is reinforcement. You will see examples of how to provide reinforcement to students.
    Preschool
    How To: Emotions and Regulation
    The topic for this How To is Emotions and Emotional Regulation. You will learn why individuals with ASD have a difficult time identifying emotions in themselves and others as well as why regulating emotions can be challenging. You will also learn tips on how to teach skills related to understanding, using, and regulating a variety of emotional states.
    Communication
    How To: Asking for Help
    This How to is about teaching early childhood learners to ask for help. Asking for help is an important communication skill for young learners to effectively and appropriately seek out assistance from others. Some of the children you will see will not have a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder, however the examples all depict strategies and teaching practices that could benefit all students.
    Communication
    How To: Functional Communication Teaching Saying No
    This How to is about teaching learners about saying “no”. Saying “no” and being able to appropriately refuse activities and choices is a critical skill for young learners and will help prevent the occurrence of problem behaviors in the classroom.
    Communication
    How To: Matching Language to Learner
    The topic for this How To is Matching Language to Learner. You will learn about matching classroom language to early childhood learners’ communication level.
    Communication
    How To: Providing Choices
    This video will demonstrate how to provide choices for students with ASD.
    Supports
    How To: Intro to Functional Communication
    Welcome to the How To series. This How To presents an introduction to teaching functional communication to early childhood learners. Some of the children you will see will not have a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorders. However, the examples all depict strategies and teaching practices that can benefit all students. Functional communication is a very important skill for preschool students, and it is critical that all individuals have some form of communication.
    Communication
    Preschool How To: Teaching Requesting
    The topic for this How To is teaching requesting. Teaching requesting is an important skill for students with autism so that they can get their wants and needs met. Some of the children you will see in the video will not have a diagnosis of autism, however the examples all depict strategies and teaching practices that can benefit all students.
    Preschool
    Preschool How To: Visual Supports
    The topic for this How To is visual supports. You will see examples of common visual supports used with students. Some of the children you will see may not have a diagnosis of ASD. However, the examples all depict strategies and teaching practices that can be beneficial for all students.
    Preschool
    Preschool How To: Environmental Considerations - Schedules
    The topic for this How To is schedules. You will see many examples of schedules and how they are used in the classroom. Some of the children you will see may not have a diagnosis of ASD, however the examples all depict strategies and teaching practices that can be beneficial for all students.
    Preschool
    Preschool How To: Transitioning
    The topic for this How To is transitioning in the early childhood classroom. You will see a variety of tools to assist students with transitioning and video examples of children successfully transitioning in the classroom. Some of the children you will see may not have a diagnosis of ASD, however the examples all depict strategies and teaching practices that can be beneficial for all students.
    Preschool
    Preschool How To : Routines
    The topic for this How To is routines. You will see examples of routines being used in the preschool classroom. Some of the children you will see may not have a diagnosis of ASD, however the examples all depict strategies and teaching practices that can be beneficial for all students.
    Preschool
    How To: Token Economies
    The topic for this How To is token economies. You will see examples of token economies used with students.
    Reinforcement
    How To: Task Analysis
    The topic for this How To is task analysis. You will see many examples of task analysis and how they are used in the classroom.
    Supports
    How To: Environmental Considerations - Routines
    The topic for this How To is routines. You will see examples of routines being used in the classroom.
    Supports
    How To: Environmental Considerations - Schedules
    The topic for this How To is schedules. You will see many examples of schedules and how they are used in the classroom.
    Supports
    How To: Environmental Considerations - Physical Structure
    The topic for this How To is environmental considerations and physical structure. You will see examples of physical structure in the environment.
    Supports
    How To: Visual Supports
    The topic for this How To is visual supports. You will see examples of common visual supports used with students.
    Supports
    How To: Teaching Requesting
    The topic for this How To is teaching requesting. You will learn tips for teaching a student how to communicate by requesting his or her wants or needs. You will also learn some tips for effectively teaching requesting.
    Communication
    How To: Providing Reinforcement
    The topic for this How To is providing reinforcement. You will learn what reinforcement is, types of reinforcement, and how to provide reinforcement to students. You will also learn some tips on making reinforcement effective.
    Reinforcement
    How To: Model Prompting
    The topic for this How To is model prompting. You will learn what model prompting is and see examples of how to provide a model prompt.
    Prompting
    How To: Verbal Prompting
    The topic for this How To is verbal prompting. You will learn what direct and indirect verbal prompting are and see examples of how to provide verbal prompts.
    Prompting
    How To: Visual Prompting
    The topic for this How To is visual prompting. You will learn what visual prompting is and see examples of how to provide a visual prompt.
    Prompting
    How To: Physical Prompting
    The topic for this How To is physical prompting. You will learn what full and partial physical prompting are and see examples of how to provide physical prompts.
    Prompting
    How To: Gestural Prompting
    The topic for this How To is gestural prompting. You will learn what gestural prompting is and see examples of how to provide a gestural prompt.
    Prompting


    Suggested Curriculum Materials and Programs for Individuals on the Autism Spectrum


    Communication Curriculum for Individuals on the Autism Spectrum

    Functional and Life Skills Curriculum for Individuals on the Autism Spectrum

    Reading Literacy & Comprehension Curriculum for Individuals on the Autism Spectrum

    Math Curriculum for Individuals on the Autism Spectrum

    Science Curriculum for Individuals on the Autism Spectrum

    Sensory Curriculum for Individuals on the Autism Spectrum

    Social Skills Curriculum for Individuals on the Autism Spectrum

    Social Studies Curriculum for Individuals on the Autism Spectrum


    Behavior Contracts

    The behavior contract is a simple positive-reinforcement intervention that is widely used by teachers to change student behavior. The behavior contract spells out in detail the expectations of student and teacher (and sometimes parents) in carrying out the intervention plan, making it a useful planning document. Also, because the student usually has input into the conditions that are established within the contract for earning rewards, the student is more likely to be motivated to abide by the terms of the behavior contract than if those terms had been imposed by someone else. (NOTE: View a sample behavior contract as an attachment at the bottom of this page.)

    See the page here. 

    Toddlers with autism indifferent to eye contact, study says

    Toddlers with autism are oblivious to the social information in the eyes, but don’t actively avoid meeting another person’s gaze, according to a new study1.
    The findings support one side of a long-standing debate: Do children with autism tend not to look others in the eye because they are uninterested or because they find eye contact unpleasant?
    If children with autism dislike making eye contact, treatments could incorporate ways to alleviate the discomfort. But if eye contact is merely unimportant to the children, parents and therapists could help them understand why it is important in typical social interactions.
    The lack-of-interest hypothesis is consistent with the social motivation theory, which holds that a broad disinterest in social information underlies autism features. On the other hand, anecdotal reports from people with autism suggest that they find eye contact unpleasant. Studies that track eye movements as people view faces have provided support for both hypotheses.

    Survey assesses well-being in adults with autism

    A brief questionnaire written with guidance from people with autism is the first of its kind to assess quality of life among adults with the condition.
    The new assessment features nine autism-specific questions intended as an add-on to a general quality-of-life instrument. The original was developed by the World Health Organization and is called the WHO Quality of Life-BREF (WHOQOL-BREF).
    The new questions and scoring framework are available online, and could help scientists and clinicians judge the effectiveness of treatments.

    Little Change in Proportion of US Kids With Autism

    After steadily climbing for two decades, the proportion of U.S. children with autism may be leveling off, a recent study suggests.
    As of 2016, approximately 2.8% of U.S. children from 3 to 17 years old had autism spectrum disorders (ASD), researchers report online January 2 in JAMA. While that’s up slightly from about 2.2% in 2014, the difference is too small to rule out the possibility that it was due to chance.
    Over the three-year study period, about 2.4% of children and teens had ASD, a collection of diagnoses that can include Asperger’s syndrome, autism and other developmental disorders that impact communication and behavior.
    Autism is more common in boys, and the current study findings offered fresh evidence of this: 3.6% of boys had this diagnosis, compared with 1.3% of girls.
    The study also found differences based on race and ethnicity: 1.8% of Hispanic children had autism, compared with 2.8% of white kids and 2.5% of black youth.

    Monday, February 5, 2018

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

    April 16 - Billings
    April 17 - Bozeman
    April 19 - Missoula

    $219.99   Single Registration                                    
    $199.99   Single Registration: Advance Price (ends 3/27/2018)                                        
    $199.99    2+ Group Rate: per person

    Course Description:

    This intensive, full-day seminar provides proven intervention strategies, essential treatment tools, and behavioral techniques to help you analyze behaviors and actions, identify consequences for behaviors, and teach new skills to children, adolescents and young adults with high-functioning autism (HFA). Walk away with practical intervention techniques for social success, behavior changes and overcoming challenging co-occurring behaviors that deliver success through adulthood. The challenging co-occurring issues to be addressed are:

    • Social skills
    • Sensory
    • Depression
    • ADHD
    • Psychotropic medications
    • Communication
    • Anxiety/Rigidity
    • Meltdowns
    • OCD
    • Non-compliance

    Gain valuable insight into common psychotropic medications, including both the helpful effects and potentially problematic side effects, that these individuals are prescribed. We will explore HFA and the new DSM-5® diagnosis of Social-Pragmatic Communication Disorder. You will receive the necessary tools to gain effective collaboration between clinicians, educators and parents. Through case studies, video clips and class participation you will leave this seminar with the confidence to identify actions that cause impediments in change, utilize more successful consequences for behaviors, and teach new skills to children, adolescents, and young adults with HFA. Don’t just manage these individuals; provide interventions that can lead to successful independence into their adult years!


    Register here. 

    Please note: This training is provided by PESI and we will not be offering attendance scholarships as we are unfamiliar with the presentation/presenter. 

    Oppositional, Defiant & Disruptive Children and Adolescents: Non-medication Approaches to the Most Challenging Behaviors

    March 19 - Billings
    March 20 - Great Falls
    March 21 - Missoula

    $219.99
    Single Registration
    $199.99
    Single Registration: Advance Price (ends 2/27/2018)
    $199.99
    2+ Group Rate: per person

    Course Description:

    Children and adolescents with ODD, ADHD, Asperger’s, anxiety, mood and disruptive disorders provide constant clinical and parenting challenges. Attend this seminar and learn new, effective non-medication strategies for your client’s most challenging behaviors including:
    • Tantrums
    • Running out/away
    • Noncompliance
    • Nagging
    • Refusing to work/help
    • Yelling/screaming
    • Bullying
    • Panic/anxiety reactions
    • Lack of follow through
    • Not following directions

    You will walk away with immediate strategies for out of control behaviors and techniques for emotional regulation along with long-term treatment strategies to help kids at home and school. Amanda Crowder, LCSW, is a clinical expert and has worked with the most challenging kids both in clinical and school settings. Through the use of case studies and action oriented handouts, you will leave this seminar with solutions to turn your most challenging kids around.


    Please note: This training is provided by PESI and we will not be offering attendance scholarships as we are unfamiliar with the presentation/presenter.