Friday, June 19, 2020

Helena - Cues Club and Teen Chat

Cues Club and Teen Chat is offering two social opportunities this summer while using safe social practices.  

We are happy to announce a new class that emphasizes communication skills for employment. This class is offered through a partnership with Full Spectrum Therapy and instructed by Jonny Metropoulos, SLP.  Also, welcome Meghan Harrington, SLP, who will be instructing the Hanging with Friends class!  

Our location has changed for the summer and we thank Roots Rehab and First Words Speech and Language Clinic for giving us a place to socialize.

The class schedule is listed below but also see the attached flyer.  Feel free to share!
Register at or contact me, Chris Caniglia, at 406-461-2853.

June 22-July 3rd
Communication Skills for Employment
        16+ years   1:00-2:00
                   July 13-July 23    
                Hanging with Friends
                Monday -Thursday
                 9-11 years    4:30-5:30

Autism Navigator Courses for Family Members and Professionals

Find more information here. 

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Free Workshops - Teaching Communication Skills // Managing Challenging Behaviors

CANCELLED by order of the State Superintendent - "Additionally, all OPI employees should plan on no in-person, external meetings for the remainder of the calendar year."


You will learn how to teach critical communication skills that lead to greater independence in the home, work, school and community settings. We review nine specific skills: requesting reinforcers, requesting help, requesting a break, indicating yes and no, waiting, following directions, schedule-following and transitioning. Through lecture, demonstrations, video and participatory activities, you will acquire specific teaching strategies that are relevant for anyone who has limited communication skills, regardless of their communicative modality (e.g., Picture Exchange Communication System [PECS], signing, device use, speech).

Great Falls    October 5      Location to be determined

Missoula        October 7      Location to be determined


Beginning with key concepts of applied behavior analysis, we focus on the conditions under which behavior occurs. We discuss the importance of designing supportive learning environments that address skill deficits prior to or while simultaneously addressing unwanted contextually inappropriate behaviors. Through discussions, video examples and hands-on activities you will identify and define unwanted behaviors, analyze why the behavior is occurring, determine alternative skills to replace unwanted behaviors, review differential reinforcement procedures, and discuss proactive strategies and reactive strategies. The workshop concludes by showing how you and your team can evaluate and monitor the effectiveness of your behavior plans as you put your new strategies into practice.

Great Falls     October 6     Location to be determined

Missoula        October 8      Location to be determined  

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

2020 Community Investment Fund

Applications for the 2020 Community Investment Fund are now being accepted! The Community Investment Fund is made available annually for innovative projects that help people with disabilities live, learn, work and play in their communities alongside people without disabilities. 

Any Montana organization, agency, non-profit group, or individual with a creative idea developed by/with people with disabilities to promote community inclusion is eligible to apply. Please note: due to University contracting requirements, successful applicants will be required to have liability insurance and either Workers’ Compensation coverage or a Workers’ Compensation exemption certificate. 

Doug note: These funds have been provided to school districts in the past. 

For more information or for application materials, please visit: 

Community Investment Fund  
Tips from Application Reviewers

Thank you for your interest in the Rural Institute Community Investment Fund. Following are tips the application review committee thought you might find helpful.
Ø     If you are interested in reading about projects that have been funded in the past, visit our web page at:

Ø     “Nothing about us without us” means that people with disabilities should be included in proposals from the earliest stages, and that their meaningful involvement should continue throughout the project. Here are questions you might ask yourself:
o     How did you come up with your idea? 
o     When you came up with a plan, did you ask people with disabilities what they thought? 
o     How were people with disabilities a part of developing the idea, plan, project, or solution?  
o     Did they help with the answers for the application? 
o     How will they help pull off the project? 
o     Will they review its impact?

Ø     Sometimes an idea seems inclusive but actually is not. Inclusion means people with and without disabilities are accomplishing something together and seeing the value in each other. It means everyone belongs. For example:
o     A coed softball team made of people with disabilities, staff who provide services to people with disabilities, and community members.  The team competes in a league open to everyone.  Everyone is able to experience a community summer activity with equal participation.
o     A school coffee cart where youth with and without disabilities learn skills and work together, and where all the employees value one another.
o     An improvisational comedy show where people with and without disabilities perform for an audience with and without disabilities. 

Maybe YOUR inclusive idea will be the next one on this list!