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.

Number of Montana Students with Autism

A note on the 2017 data: The OPI made a change in 2017 Child Count procedures. In previous years, the Child Count included ONLY students with autism who had an IEP in effect in the online IEP system on the first Monday in October. In 2017, this date was changed to include students who had an IEP in effect on the first Monday in October AND students who had an IEP in effect in September but whose IEP may have not have been in effect on the first Monday in October due to re-scheduled meetings. These student were still receiving special education services, but would not have been counted in previous Child Counts.

I am awaiting a further breakdown of the 2017 Child Count data to see if we can determine the size of this change and note that in 2017 and future data.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Behavior Gains Possible In Adults With Autism, Study Finds

With intervention, adults with autism can see significant behavioral improvements, according to new research suggesting that the window of opportunity for gains may be longer than previously thought.
Researchers found that using an evidenced-based intervention with young adults on the spectrum led not only to observed advances, but also changes in how the participants’ brains functioned.
The results are meaningful because most studies look at the effects of treatment on children, according to those behind the findings published online in the journal Autism Research.

When the Way You Love Things Is “Too Much”; or: Why I Went to Portmeirion

Monday, April 9, 2018

Chuck E. Cheese is Sensory Friendly on Sundays

Including the Billings location. 

Kids’ Show Features Cast With Autism

A first-of-its-kind kids’ show with a star and core cast who are all on the autism spectrum is making its television debut.
The show, “Pablo,” centers on a 5-year-old boy with autism who uses his creativity and imagination to create an “Art World” with animal characters who help him cope with social situations and handle confusion and anxiety.
Airing on the cable network Universal Kids, the show uses a mix of live action and 2D animation. Each episode is based on the real-world experience of someone with autism.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Reinforcer Surveys

Z.Z. Reinforcer Survey - There are two surveys. The first includes a scoring rubric that breaks down potential reinforcers to Social / Privleges / Edibles / Activities and Tangibles.

Jackpot Reinforcer Survey Generator - allows to you create your own custom surveys.

Reinforcement Inventories for Children and Adults

Forced Choice Reinforcement Survey

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.

Movin' On in Montana:

Enrollment Now Open

Movin' On in Montana: An Enhanced E-Mentoring experience is a unique opportunity for high school students with disabilities to receive guidance with the difficult transition from high school to college.  The dates of this transitional opportunity are June 26-29, 2018.  This three-and-a-half day on campus experience at Montana State University Billings is being provided by the Montana Center for Inclusive Education.  Students will live in the dorms, eat in the cafeteria, attend classes, tour other college campuses, and enjoy recreational events in the community of Billings.  This experience gives students their initial exposure to post-secondary education.  Books, fees, room, and board are provided at no charge to the student's family or school.

Highlights include:
  • Touring the campuses of Montana State University Billings, City College, and Rocky Mountain College 
  • Tour of the Rocky Mountain College's aviation program 
  • Meet other students from around the state 
  • Meet college students who have made the transition from high school to college 
  • Attend a Billings Mustangs baseball game 
  • Experience an actual college class 
  • Meet with college representative who can assist in filling at all that paperwork necessary for attending college 
  • To have FUN and much more 
  • Movin' On brochure LINK
  • Movin' On website LINK
  • Movin' On registration LINK
  • Montana Center for Inclusive Education LINK
  • Montana State University Billings website LINK
  • Deb Miller, Project Coordinator, (406-657-2072) 
  • John Keener, Project Coordinator, (406-657-1743)

Using Visual Schedules: A Guide

The advantages to using a visual schedule with individuals with ASD include (Mesibov et al., 2005): 
  • It utilizes the individual’s visual strengths and therefore provides a receptive communication system to increase understanding; 
  • It helps the individual to learn new things and broaden their interests; 
  • It provides tools that allow the individual to use skills in a variety of settings; 
  • It can increase the individual’s flexibility; 
  • It helps the individual remain calm and reduces inappropriate behaviors; and 
  • It helps the individual to develop independence and resulting self-esteem.

Steps for Setting Up a Visual Schedule 

1. Decide on the format of the schedule.
All types can be used with all ages and all types of ASD. The schedule types to consider are: 
A. Object Schedules: These are most appropriate for individuals who have few language skills and are mostly non-verbal. The simplest way to use an object schedule is for the parent to hand an object to their son or daughter just before they are about to move to the next activity. The individual then takes the object and uses it in the activity. The main thing to think about with an object schedule is making a list of which objects you are going to use to represent each activity.

Structured Teaching Strategies: A Series

This series of four articles can be used as a set or separately depending on the needs of the staff/students.  Each article will review the rationale for the use of structured teaching, as well as a brief description of the TEACCH® model.

Article 1:  Physical Structure in the School Setting

This article describes the physical structure component of the Structured Teaching pyramid.  Physical structure is the foundation of structured teaching and is helpful in ensuring that learning is occurring in the classroom.

Article 2:  Visual Schedules in the School Setting

This article describes the schedule component of the Structured Teaching pyramid.  A visual schedule communicates the sequence of upcoming activities or events through the use of objects, photographs, icons, words, or a combination of tangible supports.

Article 3:  Work Systems in the School Setting

This article describes the work systems component of the Structured Teaching pyramid.  A work system is an organizational system that gives a student with ASD information about what is expected when he/she arrives at a classroom location

Article 4:  Visual Structure in the School Setting

This article describes the visual structure component of the Structured Teaching pyramid.  Visual structure adds a physical or visual component to tasks to assist students in understanding HOW an activity should be completed. 

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

Webinar - Creative Technology for Inclusion and Engagement

Thursday, April 12th, 2018 - 4:00pm to 5:00pm EDT

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.

Register 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.

Training Opportunity


June 01, 2018
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
 Add to Calendar
Disability Rights Montana
1022 Chestnut St
Helena, MT 59601
Venue website
Dr.SungWoo Kahng as associate professor and chair of the Department of Helath Psychology at the University of MIssouri (MU) and the Founding Director of MU Graduate Programs in Applied Behavior Analysis has graciously volunteered  to provide a 6 credit training on June 1, 2018 in Helena, Montana at Disabilty Rights Montana. This one day training will have 3 credits for ethics and 3 credits on treating severe problem behavior. 
Fee: $25


$25.00 Dr. SungWoo Kahng
$10.00 Earlybird rate before May 1

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.