Sunday, March 29, 2020


A new documentary on Netflix. Not autism-specific but a good look at the some of the history of the disability rights movement in of the creation the IDEA, Section 504 and ADA. 

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Bibliography of Autism Books and Resources

The OPI Montana Autism Education Project has a library of books and resources we like and suggest. You can see the list here

Many of these books are also available through inter-libary loan.

To celebrate my finally getting the bibliography updated, the first four people to tell me the secret message found by the Little Orphan Annie decoder ring will get a free book of their choice. 


(This is old, but the information is still considered good.)

A field manual for coordinatingtraining procedures acrossmultiple community settings.

Hanen 4 "I"s to Socialize: Coaching Parents of Children with Autism and Social Communication Difficulties

Dates: May 6-7
Location: Early Childhood Intervention
              2016 Grand Avenue, Suite B
              Billings, MT

If your role includes supporting the communication development of young children with autism or social communication difficulties, you know that involving parents effectively is key to your success.
Hanen 4 “I”s to Socialize™ is an intensive 2-day workshop designed to facilitate and enhance your efforts to involve families and to achieve the best possible outcomes for young children with social communication challenges.
The workshop provides:
  • A research-based protocol for evaluating children’s social communication and determining next steps – A comprehensive checklist helps you zero in on a child’s stage of social communication and identify what his or her next target may be.
  • A set of responsive interaction strategies drawn from Hanen’s evidence-based More Than Words® program – You’ll share these strategies with parents so they can facilitate their child’s ability to engage in extended, enjoyable interactions within everyday activities and routines.
  • A structured parent coaching framework that’s based on principles of adult learning – this consists of a clear, 4-step coaching model that considers the needs of adult learners and effectively supports parents’ application and generalization of strategies.

We are unable to offer scholarships to this training. 

The Birds and the Bees: Hygiene, Puberty, Sexuality, & Safety in Youth with ASD or Other Developmental Disabilities

Billings    July 28

With up to 80% of individuals with disabilities reportedly becoming the victims of sexual/physical abuse or crimes by the time they reach adulthood, the topics of hygiene, puberty, and sexuality are imperative to safety. Unfortunately, these topics are often overlooked. Strategies for teaching hygiene, puberty, and sexuality with an emphasis on safety will be discussed.

*Learners will be able to articulate the importance of hygiene related to socialization and strategies to help teach and maintain good hygiene and related behaviors in their students with disabilities.
*Learners will be able to articulate the challenges that their students with disabilities may face in puberty as compared to typically-developing students.
*Learners will be able to articulate the significance of sexual development in their students with disabilities as well as strategies for teaching sexual development to these students.
*Learners will be able to articulate the importance of teaching hygiene, puberty, and sexuality as it relates to personal safety. They will be able to implement strategies to maintain the personal safety of their students.
*Learners will be able to identify strategies for working with parents of their students with disabilities that promote the best interest of the student through open conversations and collaboration.

About the Presenter: Natalie T. Montfort, PhD - Natalie earned her Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology from the University of Houston and her Master of Arts Degree and a Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Clinical Psychology from Fielding Graduate University. She has worked with children and young adults with ASD since 2002 and has training in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (with children, adolescents, and adults), Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Relationship Development Intervention, Social Thinking, behavior modification (including Applied Behavior Analysis), and educational assessment.

You can register here. Dr. Montfort has presented several times in Montana to rave reviews. 

Book - The Autism-Friendly Guide to Periods

Approved by our reviewers. 

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Emerging Practices for Supporting Students on the Autism Spectrum in Higher Education:

Get Ready for College

Course Overview

"Get Ready for College: A Resource for Teens with Disabilities" is a free series of online lessons, each focusing on a different aspect in the college preparation, selection, and disability services process. These online lessons contain video presentations and resources that can be used to equip students and others with the knowledge and skills for the transition to postsecondary education. Topics include the differences between high school and college, postsecondary education and training, selecting a college best fit, getting accommodations in college, and what you can do now in high school to prepare for college.

Organization of Course

The course is self-paced and divided into eight lessons. Self-paced allows you to have access to narrated, recorded presentations and resources for you to review at your own pace. Please note, this course does not have an assigned instructor, however, at any time, you can visit the course "web board" and post questions you have regarding any of the lesson topics.


Whether you're a student, family member, educator, school counselor, college disability support services staff, vocational rehabilitation counselor, or an individual with a disability who wants to learn more about going to college, "Get Ready for College" will provide you with the college planning information necessary in the transition.
Students, grades 9-12, who are interested in attending college and have a desire to take a self-paced online class to learn more about the skills and knowledge necessary for postsecondary success.
Teachers and School Counselors interested in utilizing the course content to equip individual students or groups who are interested in gaining information to successfully navigate the college preparation, selection, and disability services process.

Read more here.

Desperation And Broken Trust When Schools Restrain Students Or Lock Them In Rooms

Every time Jennifer Tidd's son was secluded or restrained at school, she received a letter from his teachers. Her son has autism and behavioral issues, and over three years — from 2013 to 2016 — Tidd got 437 of those letters.

"I see this pile of documents that's 5 inches tall that represents hundreds of hours of being locked into a room, and I feel, you know, horrible," Tidd says.

She's sitting in her living room in Northern Virginia, her head hanging over the stack of papers. Tears are in her eyes.

"What kind of parent lets this happen to their child? ... I just trusted the school. I thought that it would work — we were at our wits' end with the behaviors and stuff. But it actually just made it worse."
Restraint and seclusion are most often used on students with disabilities or special needs — children like Tidd's son. Those terms can mean anything from holding or using restraints on students to isolating them in a separate room or space.

Read/hear more here at NPR.

Sleep, growth, and puberty after 2 years of prolonged-release melatonin in children with autism spectrum disorder

In view of a recent 3-month double-blind, placebo-controlled study reporting the efficacy and safety of pediatric prolonged-release melatonin (PedPRM) for insomnia in children with autism spectrum disorder, researchers here examined how PedPRM treatment affect sleep, growth, body mass index, and pubertal development in long term. T

he double-blind, placebo-controlled trial was completed by 80 children and adolescents (2–17.5 years of age; 96% with autism spectrum disorder); these were administered 2 mg, 5 mg, or 10 mg PedPRM nightly up to 104 weeks, followed by a 2-week placebo period to assess withdrawal effects. During the 104-week treatment period, there remained improvements in child sleep disturbance and caregiver satisfaction with child sleep patterns, quality of sleep, and quality of life. The measures declined during the 2-week withdrawal placebo period compared with the treatment period but these were still improved compared with baseline. 

Outcomes support the safety and efficacy of nightly PedPRM at optimal dose (2, 5, or 10 mg nightly) for long-term treatment in children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorder and insomnia. No detrimental effects were observed on children’s growth and pubertal development and there were no withdrawal or safety issues related to the use or discontinuation of the drug.


Autism rates declining among wealthy whites, escalating among poor

For the study, the researchers analyzed 20 years’ worth of autism caseload counts from the California Department of Developmental Services, comparing data from 36 of the state’s most populous counties.

Between birth years 1993 and 2000, autism prevalence increased steadily among all racial groups.

But around 2000, the trajectories started to diverge: Prevalence among whites in wealthy counties like Santa Clara (home to Silicon Valley) and from Monterey to the San Francisco coast started to decline.

In middle-income counties like Sacramento, Los Angeles and San Diego, prevalence among whites continued to increase, but at a slower rate.
Meanwhile, in lower income areas like Riverside and the South Central Valley, rates among whites climbed steeply.

By birth year 2013, prevalence among whites in the lowest income counties was at least double that of whites in the highest income counties. Generally speaking, the higher the county income, the lower the rate of autism among white children.

Read mere here.

Friday, March 20, 2020

Psychopharmacology and Autism Spectrum Disorder

Read more here. 

Autism Social Skills Profile

Download it here. See more of Scott Beliini's work here

The Healthy Bodies Toolkits For Boys and Girls

You can download them here. 

PBIS Suggested Behavior Interventions

Pick a behavior, any behavior . . . 

Try it here. 

Archived Webinar - Autism, Sexual Health, and Today’s Sexual Culture

The world of sexual health can be intimidating for anyone, but if a person has autism spectrum disorder (ASD), it can be even more challenging. Difficulties with boundaries, safe sexual expression, and forming healthy romantic relationships are common for teens and adults with ASD. If you support someone who struggles with these issues, and you want to learn more about sexuality and positive supports, please watch Katherine Antall, MS in this edWebinar that addresses these topics and more. Learning objectives of the presentation include:
  • Learn about typical sexual development through the lifespan
  • Examine how ASD may impact sexual expression and forming romantic relationships
  • Explore the role of sensory processing within the sexual response cycle
  • Discuss the role of culture and technology on sexual health, specifically as it applies to those with ASD
  • Discover ways to develop positive, supportive environments for healthy sexuality
  • Learn about addressing problematic sexual behavior with tips and resources for parents and professionals
This recorded session will be of particular benefit to middle school through higher education teachers and school and district leaders as well as therapists, behavior specialists, associate teachers and aides.

Basic FBA to BIP

See more here. 


A popular and respected intervention for young people with autism may not necessarily result in the benefits often claimed, especially in improving communication skills, researchers at the University of Kansas have found. While pivotal response treatment, known as PRT, can be effective in improving certain skills, a review of published research on the treatment has shown evidence does not support claims that it improves untaught communication skills.

Read more here. 

The best $500 I ever spent: My autism diagnosis

My rule-following autistic brain wouldn’t allow me to think of myself as really autistic until someone officially diagnosed me as such.

Read more here. 

Of Hourse, Human and Nature

Of Horse, Human and Nature - A public Conference presented by the Montana Center for Horsemanship & the University of Montana Western, featuring Dr. Temple Grandin:
Knowledge inspires action and all roads lead to Dillon, Montana, September 10-12, 2020 for the first national conference merging traditional, natural horsemanship with 21st century new equine and horse-human research, education, and horse-human experiences. Meet the experts on the frontlines of ground-breaking initiatives that foster and promote the unique relationship between horse and human.
OF HORSE, HUMAN & NATURE brings together leading voices and experts in equine and animal behavior, natural horsemanship, ranching, outfitting, packing, wilderness and back-country recreation; horse-human initiatives that advance health and well-being; horse-and-rider demonstrations, and hands-on experiences with horses. The Conference also presents compelling storytellers and award-winning equine films from EQUUS INTERNATIONAL Film Festival 2020. 
Of Horse, Human and Nature also presents some of the latest research and science surrounding the unique relationship between horse and human.
OF HORSE, HUMAN & NATURE brings a balanced and insightful look at, and appreciation for all things horse and the powerful and life-changing impact of the horse-human relationship.
The Montana Center for Horsemanship, the only education center in the nation devoted exclusively to Natural Horsemanship, in partnership with the University of Montana Western, is pleased to present this conference, featuring Dr. Temple Grandin, one of the foremost experts on animal behavior. A professor of animal science at Colorado State, consultant on animal behavior and a renowned autism spokesperson, Dr. Grandin was one of the first individuals on the autism spectrum, to document the insights gained from her personal experience of autism. She is also a strong proponent and advocate for equine assisted learning.
We welcome your participation, attendance, support and partnership.
Please contact us: 406.925.3270
To learn more -