Monday, July 27, 2020

Webinars - Understanding and Nurturing the Communicative Competence of Learners with Significant Disabilities -

A two-part webinar series
August 10th and 12th, 2020
9:30-11:30 AM MDT
(10:30-12:30 CDT;  
11:30-1:30 EDT) 

The Montana Deaf-Blind Project, in partnership with the Montana Transition Resources Project, is pleased to welcome Philip Schweigert, M.Ed, for a two-part webinar series. Please note that you must register separately for each session. OPI renewal unit credit is available. 

Session 1: Recognizing the Communication Abilities of Learners with Significant Disabilities 
Monday, August 10, 2020
9:30 AM-11:30 AM Mountain Daylight Time (10:30-12:30 Central; 11:30-1:30 Eastern) 
Reserve your webinar seat now at:

Description: This session will focus on assessing levels of communication for learners at the non-symbolic or early symbolic level of communication. The Communication Matrix (Rowland,C., 2006) will be used to review the assessment process and how to target levels for instruction and programming.

Session 2:  Promoting the Communicative Competence of Learners with Significant Disabilities 
Wednesday, August 12, 2020
9:30 AM-11:30 AM Mountain Daylight Time (10:30-12:30 Central; 11:30-1:30 Eastern) 

Description: This session will present participants with a variety of examples of learners at various pre-symbolic stages and intervention strategies to further their communicative abilities. It will also 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. 

The webinars will be recorded and archived to the Montana Deaf-Blind Project and Transition and Employment Projects resource libraries.

Free Resources from PECS

On Facebook we have a PECS User Support page..  search that and join.  Be sure to go to the media tab and check out the videos and photos on there as well as scanning the posts every so often.  You or anyone can ask questions there for free and we monitor it!  It’s a closed group.  There are also live sessions Andy and Lori run…
Overview Managing Challenging Behavior for Learners Video (30 min ish and Informal)
Free Videos
Books they released for free
Free Downloadable Materials – SO MUCH ON HERE
Support at Home Page – New since COVID and expanding – Lots of videos with pictures and lesson plans for simple lesson ideas and other resources
Be sure to click on the more…The red buttons link to youtube videos the green buttons are where you click to download the lesson plan, pictures, etc!
More Activities Page
More Downloads Page
More Additional Resources Page

Sunday, July 12, 2020

The OPI has a New Criteria for Autism

You can see the new criteria here, along with some Frequently Asked Questions. The new criteria checklist is now in the AIM system and on the OPI web page.

If you have questions, please send them to Doug Doty at We will update the FAQ questions periodically.

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Archived Webinar - Working with Autistic Individuals Across the Lifespan: Current Perspectives

This session is an overview on current understanding of autism across the lifespan from a research perspective and linking theory with clinical practice to evaluate existing frameworks for working with autistic people across different life transitions.

View the recording at INSAR.

Archived Webinars - ABA Parent Training Plan – Providing Applied Behavior Analysis for Your Child At Home (free)

Due to the circumstances caused by Coronavirus (COVID-19), parents and families of individuals with ASD are seeing a significant reduction in services and interventions are falling on them to provide at home.

This course package is designed to educate parents on providing Applied Behavior Analysis, or ABA, for their child at home. Access the techniques you need to start improving your child's behavior, communication, social and academic skills.

Archived Webinar - Executive Function Tools and Strategies for K-12 Students

Students of all ages with an array of disabilities struggle with executive function skills. This workshop will explore a variety of tools and strategies to support the needs of K-12 students.

View the archived webinar here at the PACER Center. 

Archived Webinar - Educational Apps for Young Children

Apps have become a large part of learning. During this presentation, we will introduce you to a variety of apps appropriate for early childhood-aged children with disabilities.

View the recording here at the PACER Center. 

Archived Webinar - Assistive Technology and Play in the Natural Environment

View the recording here at the PACER Center. 


View the recording here at the PACER Center. 

Webinar - Positive Approaches to Addressing Problem Behaviors of Students with Severe Disabilities – Part 1

Problem behaviors interfere with student learning, educational advancement, interactions with peers and adults and school success. This webinar session, augmented with multiple scenarios of students experiencing challenging behaviors, will demonstrate: 1) proactive strategies for adapting the environment so triggering events are removed; 2) teaching new skills to the student that will replace problem behaviors; and 3) maximizing clear rewards for appropriate behavior.
Depicting student-specific scenarios, this webinar session will illustrate positive, proactive, and functional behavior intervention strategies to be implemented across situations and settings.

Archived Webinar - Managing Behavior in a Technology Rich Environment

Technology is a powerful tool and one that is available in most classrooms today.  However, along with technology comes increased concerns about managing behaviors in regards to screen time, engagement, and appropriate technology use. 
How do you navigate the wide variety of tools that are available to figure out which will work best in your classroom to increase students' time on task, participation, and access to content?  This session will start with a look at how behaviors have changed with the introduction of technology and then move into tools for self-monitoring time on task, increasing student engagement, and providing more access to the content you are teaching.  

Archived Webinar - Remote Learning for Early Learners with Autism

Remote Learning for Early Learners with AutismPresented by Elizabeth Curtin, M.Ed., Training Specialist, STAR Autism Support
Sponsored by STAR Autism Support
Go here to access the archived webinar (registration required.) 

Webinar - Tools for Success: Technology to Support Young Adults with Disabilities at College and on the Job

Date: Wednesday, August 26, 2020 — 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM CST
Location: Online Web Streaming
This workshop will feature a wide range of technology to support youth with disabilities at college and on the job. Demonstrations will include tools and apps for executive function, computer access, reading, writing, and notetaking.

Webinar - Strategies for Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) Implementation

Date: Tuesday, August 18, 2020 — 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM CST
Location: Online Web Streaming
Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) tools can help individuals communicate with others but implementing them can be overwhelming. This workshop will explore strategies to implement AAC in an individual’s routines and environments.

Webinar - Succeed at Work: Tools that Support Executive Function and Focus on the Job

Date: Tuesday, August 11, 2020 — 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM CST
Location: Online Web Streaming
This workshop will showcase technology to support executive function at work. Topics will include managing time, staying organized, completing tasks, and maintaining focus. Demonstrations will include timers, task managers, and smart pens.

Archived Webinar - Transition to Employment: Tools to Help You Find a Job

Join us to learn about tools that help during a job search. We will explore apps for searching for jobs, writing a resume or letter, and preparing for an interview. We will also explore how to keep track of communications, read with text-to-speech, 

Archived Webinar - Technology Overuse and Autism Spectrum Disorders

As screen time is so alluring, parents need to take concrete steps to create limits and structure. Learn strategies for managing screen time access for young people with ASD and their neurotypical peers.

View the recorded webinar here. 

Archived Webinar - Transition to Adulthood

Stephen Shore, Ed.D. shares insights about growing up with autism, navigating school, and finding his role in education and advocacy.

View the recording here. 

Webinar - Evidence-based sensory integration strategies

Upcoming Webinar: 08/12/2020, 1 PM Eastern Time (U.S.)

Tune in to hear Roseann Schaaf, Ph.D., professor chair in the Department of Occupational Therapy at Thomas Jefferson University, share evidence-based sensory integration strategies for supporting individuals with autism.

Archived Webinar - Preparing for Back-to-School During COVID-19

As students prepare to return to school during the COVID-19 pandemic, you may have questions about how to help your loved ones on the spectrum cope with social distancing, distance learning, and ongoing change. Tune in to ask your questions in real time.

Archived Webinar - The Ins and Outs of Dating

Learn strategies for individuals on the autism spectrum interested in the ins and outs of dating.

You can view the webinar recording here at the Autism Research Institute. 

Archived Webinar - Preventing and Managing Severe Autism Behaviors at Home

This interactive online forum focused on strategies for families living with challenging behaviors, such as aggression, property destruction, pica, and self-injury.

Find more information and view the video here.

New Study Points to Grim Outcomes for Adults with Autism

A new study out of South Carolina following 187 people diagnosed with autistic disorder found their long-term outcomes to be overwhelmingly negative. A team under Roger Stevenson of the Greenwood Genetic Center published the paper, “Autistic Disorder: A 20 Year Chronicle,” in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders in June.
The subjects were followed over a course of 20 years. They had been enrolled in the study during a three-year period from early 1995 to early 1998, and were between the ages of 1 and 21 at that starting point. All were receiving services for autism from the South Carolina Department of Disabilities and Special Needs. The subjects included 153 males and 34 females, representing a 4.5:1 male–female ratio. Sixty-six percent had white ancestry, 32% black ancestry and 2% other ancestry, numbers that parallel the population in South Carolina. Of the enrollees, 84% had co-occurring intellectual disability. The average IQ in the cohort was 49. Twenty years later, at the average age of 27, the investigators ascertained their outcomes.
The outcome data was grim, showing pervasive inability to live independently, hold a job, or manage money. Few became independent, with 99% unable to live independently. Of those, 70% lived at home with relatives, 21% lived in disability homes in the community, and 8% in residential facilities.

Autism, Head Banging and other Self Harming Behavior

In a recent study it was found that as many as 30% of children on the autism spectrum engage in self-injurious behaviour like head banging or skin picking. This an alarming issue for families with children on the autism spectrum.
In this guide we discuss the causes and strategies to help your child reduce self-injurious behavior.