Friday, April 27, 2018

New evidence ties Hans Asperger to Nazi eugenics program

The Austrian doctor Hans Asperger cooperated extensively with the Nazi regime and may have sent dozens of children to their deaths.

Horrific details of his involvement were revealed yesterday in the journal Molecular Autism and will be detailed in a forthcoming book called “Asperger’s Children: The Origins of Autism in Nazi Vienna.”

Asperger was among the first researchers to describe autism, and his decades of work with children later informed the concept of an autism ‘spectrum.’
Scholars have raised questions about his associations with the Nazi Party and his involvement in Nazi efforts to euthanize children with certain health conditions or disabilities.

The new book and paper suggest that Asperger referred dozens of children to a clinic called Am Spiegelgrund in Vienna, where doctors experimented on children or killed them1. Nearly 800 children, many of whom were disabled or sick, were killed there. The clinic’s staff gave the children barbiturates, which often led to their death by pneumonia.

Read more here at Spectrum.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

CDC increases estimate of autism’s prevalence by 15 percent, to 1 in 59 children

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) today released its biennial update of autism’s estimated prevalence among the nation’s children, based on an analysis of 2014 medical records and, where available, educational records of 8-year-old children from 11 monitoring sites across the United States.
The new estimate represents a 15 percent increase in prevalence nationally: to 1 in 59 children, from 1 in 68 two years previous.
Key findings of the new report include: 
* Nationally, 1 in 59 children had a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) by age 8 in 2014, a 15 percent increase over 2012.
* But estimated rates varied, with a high of 1 in 34 in New Jersey (a 20 percent increase), where researchers had better access to education records. On the low side, autism’s estimated prevalence in Arkansas was just 1 in 77. “This suggests that the new national prevalence estimate of 1 in 59 still reflects a significant undercount of autism’s true prevalence among our children,” says Autism Speaks Chief Science Officer Thomas Frazier. “And without more and better research, we can’t know how much higher it really is.”
* The gender gap in autism has decreased. While boys were 4 times more likely to be diagnosed than girls (1 in 37 versus 1 in 151) in 2014, the difference was narrower than in 2012, when boys were 4.5 times more frequently diagnosed than girls. This appears to reflect improved identification of autism in girls – many of whom do not fit the stereotypical picture of autism seen in boys.

Social communication in autism, explained

What is social communication?
Social communication may seem like a redundant term. Communication is inherently social: It requires the ability to share — in an appropriate manner — what you feel or want to say, and also to understand and respond to what others are feeling or saying. In neurotypical people, communication disorders can include problems with language, but not with social interaction. People with autism, though, are particularly challenged by communicating in social contexts. Experts use the phrase ‘social communication’ to emphasize that fact.
What sorts of problems with social communication are most common in people with autism?
Individuals on the spectrum have been shown to face challenges with a range of verbal and nonverbal skills, including grammar, the correct use of pronounsand responding when spoken to. Differences in some nonverbal aspects of communication, such as facial expressions and the tempo of speech, may account for what others perceive as ‘awkwardness’ in people with autism.
As with so many autism features, there is tremendous variability from one person to the next. Still, problems with two aspects of communication stand out: pragmatics and prosody.
What are pragmatics and prosody?

Summary of Advances in Autism Spectrum Disorder Research: Calendar Year 2017

The 2017 Summary of Advances provides short, plain language summaries of the top 20 research articles selected by the IACC. The studies selected for 2017 have provided new insight into potential biomarkers to predict risk of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), developmental trajectories of children with ASD, and the impact of the various prenatal exposures on ASD risk. The advances also include studies that investigated treatments and interventions for both ASD and co-occurring conditions, the impact of policy changes on ASD health care spending, patterns of injury mortality, and prevalence differences across demographic groups. 
PDF (5 MB)

Why no one needs a diagnosis of ‘social communication disorder’

Five years ago, a new diagnostic category, ‘social communication (pragmatic) disorder,’ made its debut in the DSM-5, the latest version of the “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.” I was a skeptic: I argued, along with many others, that there simply was not enough evidence for the existence of this condition.
I was also concerned that the category would renew the practice of assigning vague diagnoses, such as pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified, in place of autism, just when the DSM-5 seemed to have put an end to it.
That worry never materialized. And I’m still not sure it’s a useful diagnostic category.

Social Skills Resources

  • Resources by Scott Bellini that include the Autism Social Skills Profile – 2 –
  • Tutorial on using wristbands for self-management and initiations:
  • OCALI SOCCSS forms and templates-
  • Incredible 5-Point Scale Resources –

    Find MANY MORE resources here from Reeve Autism Consulting

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Shawna Heiser is coming to Glasgow on April 20, 2018

A thorough presentation of positive behavioral interventions in the classroom will be presented to conference attendees. Discussion will center on students with learning disabilities and children with serious emotional disorders and behavioral concerns will be thoroughly discussed. 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 practice based interventions such as Superflex super hero curriculum and zones of regulation in the classroom. We will examine the common pitfalls that sabotage behavioral intervention plans and thoroughly describe the 504 accommodations presented to people in 1973 and how to provide these accommodations in a regular education classroom.
Throughout the presentation, the attendees will receive a vast amount of information on what seems to work best for the children and adolescents with emotional disabilities and learning challenges and how to set up positive behavioral supports and interventions for the individuals they are serving.
Content areas included:
Early Childhood, Elementary/Middle School, Secondary School,Curricula & Instructional Design, Families, Transition(s), Collaboration/Team Building, Differentiated Education, Social Skill Development, Behavior Management, Classroom Management, Self-Regulation, andPBS Positive Behavioral Support
Learning Objectives: After attending this session, participants will
1. Identify why difficult behaviors are occurring, and what to do to change the inappropriate behaviors.
2. Gain knowledge about what accommodations and positive behavioral interventions can be most
effectively utilized in the classroom.
3. Know how to set up a classroom using good therapeutic practice based management systems.
44 attendees

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Repetitive behaviors in autism show sex bias early in life

Girls with autism have slightly less severe restricted and repetitive behaviorsthan do boys on the spectrum, according to one of the largest studies of sex differences in children with the condition1.
The difference is small and is seen only in children aged 5 and younger. Boys and girls older than 5 have repetitive behaviors of comparable severity, and children of all ages show similar social communication skills.
About four times as many boys as girls are diagnosed with autism. As a result, there is little information about how the condition might present in girls.
The new study is based on 2,684 people with autism from nine countries in Europe. It confirms the results of smaller studies — and of one large study of people with autism in the United States2. These studies also found that girls with autism are less likely to have restricted interests than are boys on the spectrum.
Read more here at Spectrum. 

Archived Webinar - Access to Core Vocabulary Using 3D Tactile Symbols Webinar

Did you know that 85% of what we say is communicated with only 200 basic words? It is now commonly understood in the field of augmentative and alternative communication that all students need access to a commonly used core vocabulary. Core vocabulary is a small set of simple words, in any language, that are used frequently and across contexts. 

This webinar with Kathy Look Howery will introduce you to a newly developed set of 3D tactile symbols created by the Centre for Literacy and Disability Studies for students with severe visual impairment, significant intellectual disability, and/or complex communication needs. Current research and practice focusing on the use of these symbols to support language development and expressive communication is also shared. The webinar also shares resources that can assist you in teaching and modelling use of core-vocabulary throughout the day for students whose challenges come in multiples.

Watch the webinar here. 

Woes for Autism Waiver at Hi-Line Home Programs

Called the Children’s Autism Waiver Services, the program works to fund interventions for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). That waiver program was affected by recent legislative cuts and the elimination of the Autism Diagnosis Observation Schedule Assessment Site in Miles City, which was hosted by the Developmental Education Assistance Program. 

According to Denise Herman of Hi-Line Home Programs, the waiver provides Medicaid funding to help pay for a three-year intensive early intervention program for preschool-aged children with ASD. The catch is that these children must go through an intensive evaluation and diagnosis assessment and be certified by a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) before they can receive the waiver from Medicaid. With the closure of the assessment site, now each specialist must be visited individually for completion of the assessment, adding time and money to the process. 

According to Herman, the diagnosis system has fallen apart in Montana, due to budget cuts and a sense of over-regulation on the part of the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS). In the past, if a child was referred to Hi-Line Home for a developmental disability they were sent to an Evaluation and Diagnosis Clinic in Miles City.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Chuck E. Cheese is Sensory Friendly on Sundays

Including the Billings location. 

Friday, April 6, 2018

Psychologists Once Blamed ‘Refrigerator Moms’ For Their Kids’ Autism

Donald had an astonishing memory, but never cried for his mother. Virginia never played with other children and was the daughter of a woman described as “not by any means the mother type” by her husband. Herbert didn’t speak; his mother, a physician, said she couldn’t understand people and instead chose to accept them. 
Each child was eventually determined to be on the autism spectrum—and each of their mothers was thought to be part of the reason they had the condition. Between the 1940s and 1960s, mothers of children with autism were dubbed “refrigerator mothers” and characterized as cold, neglectful, and even abusive. 
The now discredited theory blamed mothers for “causing” their children’s autism—and stigmatized an entire generation of women struggling to understand and care for children with autism spectrum disorders.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

MSU offers new hope for students with disabilities

Now Montana State University is launching a program offering new opportunity and hope to students with disabilities — the chance to go to college and learn job skills.
Called LIFE Scholars, for Learning Is For Everyone, it was announced last week at MSU’s Diversity Symposium.

The goal is not to earn a bachelor’s degree, but to let students audit classes, participate in college clubs and activities, get experience in job internships and build a more independent life.

MSU plans to open LIFE Scholars to students age 18 or older who have intellectual disabilities, have completed high school and have a strong desire to attend college.
Students can pick a four-year, two-year or one-year program. The final year would be devoted to internships and jobs skills.

Students would likely sign up to audit one to three classes per semester at MSU and Gallatin College.

They would be eligible to wear a cap and gown at MSU’s graduation ceremonies, though they’d likely receive a certificate of completion, rather than a degree.

They would pay the same tuition and fees that typical students pay, plus a fee for the LIFE Scholars program. In a few years, students would have the chance to live in the dorms.
The LIFE Scholars program is estimated to cost $10,000 per student at the start, and tuition would likely cover about half of that, said Michael Becker, MSU spokesman. The EHHD College plans to cover the rest through grants, donations and university funds.

Read more here at the Bozeman Daily Chronicle.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Archived Webinar - Creative Technology for Inclusion and Engagement

Most of us know about many of the most common technologies to help students with disabilities. This presentation will explore creative technology to help struggling learners better access the curriculum and engage in the learning process. You will learn about how to include students in art, and music with technology and engage students with various disabilities. Participants will learn about high-interest technologies that will motivate student and the psychology of educational technology.

Watch the recording here. 

Aging Out - Autism In Montana

Upcoming Air Dates:
  • Saturday, 04/28 at 4:00pm
  • Sunday, 04/29 at 10:00am
Reed Point’s Dianne and Jim Booth worry about the future of their son with the programs available to them right now. Their son Logan, 22, is nonverbal and will never be able to live on his own. Coming from rural Montana, Dianne and Jim want Logan to stay in an agricultural setting for him to continue the lifestyle he has grown up with, but they are struggling with a lack of options. Follow the Booths and other Montana families as they recognize their fears and try to piece together a plan for the future.

Zones of Regulaton App Sale

Monday, April 2, 2018

Next Dollar Up Strategy: Resources and Freebie

Next Dollar Over is an essential money skill, particularly as students grow older. Never teach coin identification to anyone older than nine. Before then, it mainly a math thing, rather than a coin usage. Opportunities to use coins are becoming more rare. After the age of 10 what you want to teach about coins is: 1. Find a container and put all your coins in it. 2. When the container is full, have the bank give you real money for the coins and go buy something cool for yourself.  

Here are some resources for teaching Dollar Over. 

Next Dollar Up Strategy: Resources and Freebie

Downloadable Toolkits from National Autism Association’s Autism ATRIUM program

View the 16 Toolkits here. 

ASD & Siblings Toolkit

1 in 66 Canadian children and youth have autism spectrum disorder

An estimated one in every 66 Canadian children and youth aged five to 17 has autism spectrum disorder, says the inaugural report on the prevalence of the neurodevelopmental condition in this country.
Autism spectrum disorder, or ASD, is typically detected in early childhood and causes impairments in communication skills and social interactions, often combined with repetitive behaviours and narrowly focused interests or activities.
Thursday’s report by the Public Health Agency of Canada includes 2015 data from six provinces and one territory. It found that prevalence — the number of affected people within a specific population — ranged from a high of one in 57 children and youth in Newfoundland and Labrador to one in 126 in Yukon.

Social Story Resource Collection

Social stories can be a helpful tool for individuals to prepare for and understand different situations, such as going to the library, following the rules of the justice system, or determining when to call 911. This bundle is a collection of social stories developed by ASERT and other professionals. (Found here.)

When to Call 911, Parts 1 & 2

These social stories were created to describe the various aspects of determining when to call 911, for individuals with autism.

Traffic Stop, What to Expect

These social stories were created to describe the various aspects of a traffic stop and what to expect for individuals with autism.

The Law, Parts 1-4

These social stories were created to describe the various aspects of the law and justice system to individuals with autism. 

Before Court, Parts 1 & 2

These social stories were created to describe the various components of preparing for court to individuals with autism.

Appearing in Court, Parts 1-3

These social stories were created to describe the various aspects of appearing in court  to individuals with autism.

Detention Center, Parts 1 & 2

These social stories were created to describe the various aspects of being in a detention center to individuals with autism.

Foster Care Social Story

These social stories were created to describe the various aspects of foster care to individuals with autism.

At the Library, Part 1, What is the Library?

These social stories were created for individuals with autism to describe what people usually do at the library.

At the Library, Part 2, Finding What I Need

This social story was developed for individuals with autism to describe how to find books and other materials at the library and some of the library rules. 

At the Library, Checking out Books and Materials

These social stories were created to describe the various aspects of the library to individuals with autism, specifically how to check out books and materials.

Sensory Story Time at the Library

These social stories were created to describe the various aspects of the library and sensory story time to individuals with autism.

Archived Webinar - Sexuality & ASD: How to Address Sex Education for People with ASD

Watch here at the Autism Research Institute. 

Archived Webinar - Evidence-based Approach to Teaching Social Skills to Teens with ASD

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Archived Webinar: Documenting Assistive Technology in the Individualized Education Program (IEP)

Oklahoma ABLE Tech provides guidelines and resources for documenting assistive technology in a student's Individualized Education Program (IEP). You will also learn about a system of checks and balances for your school to determine how well it is documenting assistive technology in the IEP.

View the 13 minute webinar here.

Archived Webinar - Introduction to the Student Self-Evaluation Matrix

The Student Self-Evaluation Matrix allows students to rate themselves on their AT skills. The tool is useful to both students struggling to manage AT and assists students in enhancing self-awareness and problem solving with AT for better transition outcomes. The webinar session will discuss the foundations of the QIAT-PS project, the research behind the Student Self-Evaluation Matrix, and using the tool in K-12 and Postsecondary environments.
Webinar Recording:

Archived Webinar - Young Children, Assistive Technology, and Accessible Materials: A Starting Point for Considering Why, What and How

Join us for an overview of how parents and educators can begin their journey with accessible materials and assistive technology for young children. Topics covered will include how to approach your search, the types of materials and technology available, and the impact it can have on a child’s development of literacy, socialization, and communication skills. This webinar will be led by Assistive Technology Specialists from the PACER Simon Technology Center in Minnesota.

View the archived webinar here. 

Archived Webinar - Speech Recognition as AT for Writing: A Guide for K-12 Education webinar

Speech recognition is everywhere now, so it’s easy to assume we no longer need to consider it as AT or to teach students how to use it. But we do! In their guide, Dan and Kelly approach speech recognition through the AT cycle. Both special educators by training, they will demonstrate HOW to teach speech recognition using a series of 8 scaffolded steps they developed over many years of working with students across all grade levels. These steps are aligned with specific assessment tools for measuring effectiveness during the trial. 
Learn to teach speech recognition to students
Review a process for trialing speech recognition to students across all grade levels 

Archived Webinar - Assistive Technology that Supports Independent Living for Young Adults with Disabilities

There is a wide range of assistive technology (AT) that can be used to support young adults with disabilities who want to gain independence and live on their own. These include devices to manage medication or practice healthy habits, as well as apps for a smartphone or tablet that help to manage tasks, keep track of money, or find transportation. Join us to learn about the many kinds of AT that can help teens and young adults to develop the skills needed to live more independently.