Tuesday, May 28, 2019

10 Ways To Help Your Child on the Autism Spectrum Prepare for Periods

1.Period education often gets entangled with sex education, but it doesn’t have to

Children need to learn to keep their privates private. It would be short-sighted not to acknowledge that once a person starts having periods they could get pregnant. This is especially important because of the potential for unwanted pregnancy, especially in the case of abuse. That’s why teaching young people their private parts are private is so important. Please see the NSPCC PANTS resources for a good starting point on how you could approach this topic.

2. Work with a young woman’s strengths

If the person you support likes collecting facts, have them build a spreadsheet or a Talley with a list of symptoms experienced throughout the menstrual cycle so they can see how it changes over time. Be clear that you shouldn’t go asking other people for this kind of information, and they need to choose with whom they want to share this information.

Read more here at Autism Parenting magazine.

Monday, May 27, 2019

Having smart father raises child’s risk of autism

Children whose fathers are highly intelligent are at a 32 percent higher risk of autism than those whose fathers are of average intelligence, according to research published 23 April in the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry1.
The work supports observations that date back to the 1940s, when Leo Kannerand Hans Asperger noted in separate reports that the fathers of children with autism tended to be highly intelligent and in several cases worked in technical fields. A 2012 study also showed that children from regions in the Netherlands where high-tech jobs are prevalent are more likely to have autism than those who live in other regions.

MouseTrial: fun exercises for kids ...for vocabulary, concentration, cooperation and literacy

See more here. 

Creating Safety Plans for People with Autism - Autism Speaks

Use these printable forms and handouts in our Autism Safety Kit to develop a multifaceted safety plan specific to a person with autism's unique needs. Remember, a person with autism's safety needs can change as they get older or when there is a sudden change in routine, so the safety plan should be updated on a regular basis. 

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Archived Webinar - Promoting Progress for the Emergent Symbolic Learner

This session will discuss the transition from pre-symbolic to emerging symbolic communication and describe interventions designed to promote the learner’s continued progress at this stage of expressive communication development.

View the webinar here at the Idaho Training Clearinghouse.

Archived Webinar - Expanding the Communicative Competence of the Pre-Symbolic Learner

The second session will discuss the difference between intentional and intentionally communicative behaviors in learners at the pre-symbolic levels of communication. Students will be presented with a variety of examples of learners at various pre-symbolic stages and intervention strategies to further their communicative abilities.

View the webinar here at the Idaho Training Clearinghouse. 

Archived Webinar - Recognizing the Communication Abilities of Learners with Significant Disabilities

This first session focuses on assessing levels of communication for learners at the non-symbolic or early symbolic level of communication. The Communication Matrix is used to review the assessment process and how to target levels for instruction and programming.

View the webinar here at the Idaho Training Clearinghouse. 

Archived Webinars - Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD): Neurology, Behavior, and Interventions

Presenter: Brenda Smith Myles, Ph.D.

Description: This three part webinar series will address issues that relate to opportunities for creating a high quality of life for students at various levels of autism spectrum disorder. Session one will provide a review of the neurology of ASD. Session two will focus on the meltdowns experienced by over 50% of people on the spectrum and include a discussion of self-regulation and sensory issues. The final session will describe evidence-based interventions that create psychologically safe environments for learning. 

Webinar 1

Webinar 2 

Webinar 3 

From the Idaho Training Clearinghouse

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Archived Webinar - Using Reinforcement in the Autism Classroom

One of the often misused and misunderstood tools that teachers can use is reinforcement. Reinforcement is a critical component of changing a student’s behavior in the classroom.

This edWebinar will give participants a better understanding of reinforcement, strategies to implement and use reinforcement in the classroom, and specific ideas about what to use for reinforcement. The presentation will be of interest to preK-12 teachers, school and district leaders, therapists, and specialists. There will be time for questions at the end of the presentation.

View the webinar here. 

Archived Webinar: Suma Jacob, Christine Conelea discuss repetitive behaviors in autism

View the webinar here at Spectrum. 

Archived Webinar - Research Insights: Understanding Social Development in ASD

Watch the archived webinar here. 

Archived Webinar - Functional Behavior Assessment: Principles for Success

In this webinar, you’ll learn:

● What an FBA is and why is it needed

● Basic principles of behavior and how they relate to the four functions of behavior

● The steps in the FBA process—utilizing indirect and direct assessment measures to analyze antecedents and consequences to determine function

● How to apply data gathered in the FBA process to develop the Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP)
View the webinar here. 

STAR Autism Training 2019/2020

Missoula: October 7-8  FULL - no wait list
(Broadway Inn and Convention Center)

Billings: November 4-5 - FULL - no wait list
     (Billings Hotel and Convention Center)

Bozeman: November 6-7  FULL - no wait list
     (Comfort Inn)  

Great Falls: March 2-3

This comprehensive two-day workshop provides participants with detailed examples and practice activities on how to implement the evidence-based practices identified in the National Standards Report (2009). The STAR Program is used to provide examples. Appropriate content connected to the common core curriculum is presented and detailed information on the three evidenced-based instructional methods of discrete trial training, pivotal response training and teaching through functional routines are shared.

Participants will learn how to implement these strategies through structured lesson plans and a curriculum scope and sequence. The workshop will include extensive data collection systems and participants will learn to collect and use data for instructional decision making.

The trainings will be from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Read more and register here.

2019 PECS Level I and Level II Trainings

August 19/20         Kalispell - Level 1         Hampton Inn
Sept. 30/Oct. 1       Billings – Level 1          Hampton Inn - 5110 Southgate Drive

October 2/3            Billings – Level 2*        Hampton Inn - 5110 Southgate Drive

October 7/8            Sidney – Level 1           Wingate Hotel

October 28/29       Great Falls – Level 1     Holiday Inn (5th ST.)

October 30/31       Missoula – Level 1         Doubletree Hotel

The Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) is used to rapidly teach communication skills to those with limited functional speech.  Training in PECS begins by teaching a spontaneous request and goes on to teach additional communicative functions such as responding to questions and commenting.  Participants will learn how to implement the six phases of PECS, plus attributes, through presenter demonstrations, video examples and role-play opportunities. 

PECS Level 1 Training:

This intensive two-day training is designed to teach participants the theory behind the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) and the protocols for how to appropriately implement the six phases of PECS.

PECS Level 2 Training: Prerequisite: PECS Level 1 Training

This two-day training focuses on creating lessons and activities to promote communication throughout the day. Beginning with a review of the Pyramid Approach to Education as it relates to PECS, we guide you in refining your PECS implementation and discuss current challenges you have experienced within the six phases.

Find more information and register here.

iPad Boot Camp: Awesome New iPad Apps, Adaptations, and Accessories

Great Falls
August 8/9, 2019
8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Holiday Inn, 1100 5th St

This two-day course will discuss and demonstrate the top 50 apps to support students who experience various functional limitations; 20 new accessories and adaptations; new accessibility features of the latest IOS operating system; 101 ways to use video to support physical, sensory, communication and intellectual disabilities; what is new in accessibility features; hands-on fabrication of a key guard for an iPad – for communication access; hands-on fabrication of an adaptive stylus for the iPad using Instamorph, PVC, Microfiber Mesh, and Universal Cuff; hands-on fabrication of a tactile graphic overlay for vision impairments using Remo 1, foamies and transparency film; hands-on fabrication of a multi-use iPad holder for hand free access; hands-on fabrication of a vertical iPad holder; creating switch access receipt to work with a drone and web based interfaces such as YouTube and PBS; hands-on exploration of new switch interfaces for the iPad; new iPad adaptations to support users who experience physical, sensory, or communication impairments; overview of new amazing apps for vision, hearing, communication, learning and intellectual impairments; app feature mapping – how to select an appropriate app; apps and adaptations for students who experience limitation in reading and writing; apps for reminding, finding and prompting for individuals who experience executive function impairments.  

This course scored a 5.0 on, "Would you suggest this course to others?"

Quotes from previous attendees: "Great visuals, videos and hands-on!"  "Therese was awesome!"  "I loved how practical this was."  "It was an awesome workshop. I absolutely loved it. Therese has a great sense of humor and is fun to listen to!"
Read more and register here.

Course Objectives – participants will be able to:

  • Identify at least 10 different built in features on an iPad to support students who experience various disabilities

  • Identify at least five resources for finding appropriate apps for specific functional limitations

  • Describe how to use the SETT framework when electing an appropriate app

  • Describe five different ways to access the iPad for physical limitations

  • Build a multiuse iPad holder

  • Build a scan and read station to support an iPad for students who experience print disabilities

  • Fabricate a tactile overlay for GarageBand for vision impairments

  • Build an adaptive stylus for someone who is unable to hold a stylus

  • Identify and describe 10 different uses of the iPad camera for physical, sensory, communication or cognitive limitations

  • Identify three different ways to interact with the iPad or iPhone without ever touching the device

  • Describe a five minute solution for creating an adaptive keyguard for a communication app

  • Identify at least five apps and iPad accessories to support students who experience executive function impairments
  • Identify and describe at least five apps and adaptation for deaf and hard of hearing

  • Identify and describe at least five apps for self regulation

  • Identify and describe at least five mounting solutions for a wheelchair, table, bed or floor


Tuesday, May 7, 2019

AAC & Proloquo2Go: How to Program for a Better Implementation and Outcome!

Glendive - August 19, 2019     Holiday Inn Express
Billings - August 20, 2019     Billings Hotel and Conv. Center
Bozeman - September 23, 2019  Comfort Inn
Havre - October 7, 2019   Best Western Plus
Great Falls -   October 8, 2019  Holiday Inn

8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. each day

What is “best practice” for use of AAC with a student? Attendees will receive information to confidently help individuals who rely on AAC. This session will provide attendees with the opportunity to learn the “ins and outs” of the iOS app, “Proloquo2Go” from Participants will learn to navigate the app, discover new features and practice programming the app. The group will review case studies and talk about specific student’s needs. Julie will share teaching strategies so that interactions with AAC/Proloquo2Go are enjoyable for the student, the family,  instructor, and staff.

Attendees say: "This was the best information!  Loved it!" and "Julie is fantastic. Her excitement is contagious and her knowledge is amazing. I loved the real life examples."

Register here.
This training is FREE from the OPI Montana Autism Education Project. Six OPI renewal units will be available for this training. ASHA CEUs will not be available.

Julie A. Doerner, M.S. CCC-SLP has been a nationally certified and state licensed Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) for 16 years and she currently works for the Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Reservation Tribal Health. Julie has worked as an SLP in public schools, private practice, rehab settings, and most recently at the University of Montana where she worked for the state assistive technology program, MonTECH, and the Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences. In that position her focus was on Augmentative Alternative Communication. Julie has been working with the Proloquo2Go app since 2012.

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Gaps in Current Autism Research: The Thoughts of the Autism Research Editorial Board and Associate Editors

Anthony Bailey, University of British Columbia
Despite a welcome recent shift, a very small proportion of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) research focuses on the needs of affected adults, despite these individuals constituting the bulk of the ASD population and incurring over 90% of ASD related costs. The significance of this research gap is amplified by the relative lack of services for adults with ASD, which is particularly marked for those with intellectual abilities within the typical range.
Ralph‐Axel Mueller, Dept. of Psychology, San Diego State University
After decades of research activity, the neuroimaging community has yet to generate a clear picture of critical brain features in autism spectrum disorder (ASD). An underlying challenge is that the field needs to take heed of its own insights.
Andrew Whitehouse, Telethon Kids Institute, University of Western Australia
Despite an improvement over the past 5 years, there remains a substantial dearth of rigorous clinical trials of existing and new interventions. 

Tech firm’s ‘Superpower Glass’ for autism not so super, experts say

A California-based healthcare company is poised to market its ‘Superpower Glass,’ high-tech eyeglasses that use software intended to improve autistic children’s social skills.
The company, Cognoa, announced in February that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration had granted the therapy ‘breakthrough status,’ meaning it can move quickly through the agency’s approval process. And an open-label clinical trial published in March suggests that the technology temporarily improved the social skills of a group of 40 autistic children1.
But some experts, including several who declined to speak on the record, say the trial was poorly designed and the effects small and temporary.
According to parent reports, autistic children who used the glasses improved more on a social-skills portion of the Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales than did controls. But there was no significant difference between the two groups on another test of social skills, and on two emotion-recognition tests. And six weeks after the treatment ended, the children’s social improvements on the Vineland had disappeared.
“It’s hard to know how much to make of it,” says James Rehg, professor of interactive computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta. “It doesn’t look like at this point it was a slam dunk.”
Rehg says he would have more faith in the treatment if the effects had lasted or if the children had shown improvement on the other tests.
One reason the results are weak may be that the treatment targets the wrong problem, some experts say: Autistic children may not have trouble recognizing emotions.

Diagnostic tests don’t miss girls with autism, study suggests

Boys and girls with autism get virtually identical scores on three commonly used diagnostic tests, suggesting that sex doesn’t affect the scores. With 10,000 autistic children, including nearly 1,500 girls, the unpublished study is the largest of its kind. But some experts are unconvinced, saying the study’s design does not account for girls who go undiagnosed.

The findings are limited, however, because the researchers included only girls already diagnosed with autism, says Kristin Sohl, associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Missouri in Columbia. Tests such as the ADOS miss many girls with the condition, she says, and the new work does not account for this population.
The bigger question, Sohl says, is why diagnostic tests may not spot girls with autism in the first place.
“What is it about those girls that is allowing them to not score [as autistic] on this excellent test?” she says. “It tells me there are probably some adaptations that need to be made to the scoring or how we interpret those scores in the context of gender.”
Bishop acknowledges this possibility but says the team would have seen bigger differences between boys and girls if the tests were inherently biased.
“If we were missing [girls] because they were systematically scoring lower than the boys, we would expect to see larger effects here,” she says.

Repetitive behaviors ease with age in most autistic children

Restricted and repetitive behaviors decrease significantly in about 75 percent of autistic children from age 3 to 11, according to a study that tracked more than 400 children. The study is the longest yet to analyze this core autism trait.

Read more here. 

U.S. autism prevalence in black children based on few families

The survey, called the National Survey of Children’s Health, asks parents to respond to questions about the health of the children in their household.
The survey tends to report a higher prevalence of autism than estimates that rely on expert review of health records. The prevalence of autism based on the latter method is 1.69 percent for 2014, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The 2016 survey found that 2.5 percent of children in the U.S. had autism at the time of the survey. The survey also offered a breakdown by race: 2.79 percent in black children and 2.57 percent in white children. The estimate for black children is based on responses from just 80 families, however.
The number of black families in the 2017 survey is even smaller.
For this survey, the researchers looked at the data for children who had ever had an autism diagnosis, not just those who had it at the time of the response. The survey reported a prevalence of 2.86 percent in white children and 2.63 in black children. In this case, the figure for black children is based on survey data from only 38 families with an autistic child.