Monday, November 23, 2020

I’m a parent of a child with autism. What should I look for in an ABA organization?

As a parent, I thought choosing an ABA organization was similar to choosing a pediatrician or a dentist: they are board-certified, so they must know what they are doing. Surprisingly, because the field of ABA is new (unlike the general medical profession, which has been around for more than 25,000 years), just because someone is board certified in ABA does not necessarily mean he/she is a seasoned clinician.

Did you know more than 50 percent of Board-Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs) have been certified in just the last three years? This means there are many new people hoping to help newly diagnosed children and their families.

Seeking certified staff is a great first start, but there are other indicators of a quality service organization:

1. Who are the BCBAs on staff, and what is their experience?

    • How many years of experience do they have?
    • What types of settings have they worked in?
    • What age range of children have they worked with in the past?

2. What are the backgrounds of the direct care staff who will be working with your child?

Read more here at Autism Parenting magazine. 

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Inheritance plays different roles in autism with and without intellectual disability

 Autism with intellectual disability is less heritable than autism alone, according to a new study of how the conditions run in extended families.

About a third of autistic people have intellectual disability (ID) — an intelligence quotient (IQ) of 70 or less. Autistic people with lower IQs are more likely to have spontaneous, or de novo, gene mutations than autistic people with higher IQs, studies show, suggesting that the genetic underpinnings of autism with ID differ from those of autism alone.

Read more here at Spectrum. 

20 Tips to Help De-escalate Interactions With Anxious or Defiant Students

 Tip 6: The teacher can give students an in-between step to make the transition more palatable. Go from recess, to two minutes of coloring, to the spelling quiz. The intermediary step gives that non-compliant student behavioral momentum. He’s already sitting down, quiet, with pen in hand, so the jump to spelling isn’t as jarring.

See more tips from Jessica Minahan here

Monday, November 16, 2020

Online ADOS Booster Training - 2020 December

We have scheduled the online ADOS Booster training for December 4th, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.* This is a one day review of the ADOS 2 training complete with scoring practice and practical question review. The training is available only for Montana public school educators who have previously completed a two-day ADOS administration training. 

You can register for the training here. The registration includes an opportunity to ask questions before the training and to choose which ADOS modules the training should focus on. Please have your ADOS manual with you during the training. We will send links for the log-in and materials prior to the training. 

    * Includes a one-hour lunch break. 

What Do Previous Attendees Say After Taking an ADOS Training and Conducting the ADOS? 

Do you have any additional comments or suggestions?

I am a core member of our ADOS evaluation team. This training is essential for my job. I need to fine-tune my skills, and learn about subtleties of the assessment as well as updates and changes. 

Loved to watch other administer the ADOS. I think looking at how someone scores the ADOS is very helpful providing strategies for scoring and documenting what you see and hear.

I am so glad that I did it. I should attend every time you offer it, because the ADOS is so complex.


Saturday, November 14, 2020

2021 General & Special Education Conference

March 10, 11 and 12.  2021

(Doug Note - I attend this conference every year and it is awesome!) 

Selected sessions are below, you can see the full conference schedule and register here. 


Practical Applications of the SCERTS Model to Create Classroom and Individual Supports and Enhance Emotional and Energy Regulation by Amy Laurent, PhD, OTR/L and Jacquelyn Fede, PhD


Achieve Success with Defiant, Emotional, and Disengaged Students  by MaryAnn Brittingham, MS, Family and Child Counseling


Using the Power of Play to Create Calm, Grounded, and Engaged Learners by Janine Halloran, MA, LMHC


Every Move Counts, Clicks and Chats: A Sensory-Based Approach to Communication and Assistive Technology – part 1 by Jane Korsten, MA


The Challenge of Challenging Behaviors! Understanding and Effectively Addressing the Behavioral Challenges of Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder by Susan K. Lewis Stokes, MA, CCC-SLP


It’s All About Independent Functioning! Practical Strategies that Foster Independence for Students with ASD by Susan K. Lewis Stokes, MA, CCC-SLP

Interventions for Executive Function Difficulties: Changing the Brain to Change Behavior by George McCloskey, PhD

Trauma Responsive Functional Behavior Assessment and Behavior Intervention Planning – part 1by Lynne DeSousa, MS, School Psychologist

Every Move Counts, Clicks and Chats: A Sensory-Based Approach to Communication and Assistive Technology - part 2 by Jane Korsten, MA

Embedding SEL in Daily Instruction to Improve Student Engagement and Academic Success - part 2 by Mike Anderson, MS

Teaching Social Skills Remotely by Rebecca Moyes, MEd



Integrated Technology Tools to Support Dyslexia and Other Language-Based Learning Disabilities by Sharon Plante, MA

The Neuropsychology of Emotional Disorders: A Framework for Effective Interventions by Steven Feifer, DEd, ABSNP

Trauma Responsive Functional Behavior Assessment and Behavior Intervention Planning - part 2by Lynne DeSousa, MS, School Psychologist

Grading Smarter, Not Harder: Building an Assessment Strategy to Empower Struggling Learners by Myron Dueck, MEd

“Yes, and...” Using Improv to Promote Academic and Social-Emotional Success for Students With (and Without) Disabilities by Jim Ansaldo, PhD Ed

Fostering Equity in Special Education by William White, EdS

Opening the Doors to Students with Moderate to Significant Cognitive or Developmental Delays by Kathy Morris, MEd


Registration at []

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

New study links autism traits and eating disorders in moms of autistic children

 A July 2020 study in the journal Autism Research found that mothers with eating disorders and a child with autism showed more autistic traits than mothers without an eating disorder, leading researchers to suggest that overlap between disordered eating and autism could contribute to underdiagnosis of autism in females. 

Read more here at Autism Speaks. 

Special Education Community of Practice

The Special Education Community of Practice meets the first Thursday of each month from 3:30 to 4:30PM.  Each session has a 10 to 20 presentation op a topic followed by a discussion around the topic.  Topics are:

November 5, 2020- Assessment- Yvonne Field

December 3, 2020- Preschool Transition - Danni McCarthy

January 7, 2021- Twice-Exceptional- Allyson Chance

February 4, 2021- Best Practices with Parents- Chris McCrea

March 4, 2021- HS Transition- Marla Swanby and Sara Bailey

April 1, 2021-Data Collection-TBD

May 6, 2021-Inclusive Programming-TBD

June 3, 2021- TBD

To access the meeting:

Join Zoom Meeting []
Meeting ID: 968 223 3568
Dial by Telephone +1 646 558 8656 or +1 406 444 9999 Meeting ID: 968 223 3568 Find your local number: []
Join by SIP
Join by H.323 (Polycom)
Join by Skype for Business []

For more information contact Jennifer Nettleton at or call 406-444-5848.

Monday, November 2, 2020

Live Webinar on December 15: Why ADHD Is Different for Women: Gender-Specific Symptoms & Treatments

Register below for this free expert webinar to learn why ADHD is different for women on Tuesday, December 15 at 1 pm ET.

Sign up and you will receive the free webinar replay link after 12/15 as well!

Women’s presentation of ADHD symptoms contributes to the diagnostic confusion that still leaves many women overlooked or misdiagnosed. The perfect storm of internalized symptoms, hormonal fluctuations, and societal expectations yields a distinct set of stressors. Emotional dysregulation also renders women more reactive than proactive. Trapped beneath the weight of stigma, self-doubt, and shame, they lose confidence in their judgment since it often betrays them.

The good news it that experts today are creating holistic treatment plans tailored to women’s needs. Reframing strategies offer women the opportunity to see themselves through a lens of validation and acceptance, to impose self-protective boundaries, and to question obligations. Rather than being silenced by shame, women are learning to trust their own voices.

In this webinar, based on the most up-to-date research on women and ADHD, you will learn:

  • How diagnostic challenges can limit accurate identification and treatment of ADHD in women
  • Five gender-specific factors that affect the impact of ADHD
  • How unpredictable executive functions thwart the ability to conform to society’s expectations
  • How fluctuating hormone levels impact ADHD symptoms
  • Five factors that increase the risk for negative outcomes with ADHD
  • How co-existing conditions complicate the ADHD experience and treatment
  • How treatment offers hope with evidence-based strategies that teach self-acceptance, self-respect, and self-compassion

Live Webinar on November 24: ADHD Anger, Tantrums, and Mood Shifts: Effective Treatments for Emotional Dysregulation

Register below for this free expert webinar to learn effective treatments for emotional dysregulation on Tuesday, November 24 at 1 pm ET.

Sign up and you will receive the free webinar replay link after 11/24 as well!

In this webinar, you will learn about:

  • The causes of emotional dysregulation and why it is an integral part of ADHD
  • The most effective psychosocial treatments for children with ADHD
  • The most effective psychosocial treatments for adults with ADHD
  • The interplay of ADHD medication and emotional dysregulation
  • Lifestyle changes and habits to manage concerns about anger and emotionality
  • Other conditions that should be considered if tantrums or anger are the main challenges

Webinar - Why Are You So Sensitive? Understand How Sensory Processing Sensitivity Affects the ADHD Brain

 Register below for this free expert webinar to learn how sensory processing sensitivity affects the ADHD brain on Wednesday, November 18 at 1 pm ET.

Sign up and you will receive the free webinar replay link after 11/18 as well!

The overlap with ADHD is clear: The inability to control emotions, being more easily overwhelmed and overstimulated than neurotypicals, and struggling with low self-esteem are all symptoms of being a HSP.

In this webinar you will learn:

  • The symptoms of SPS and how it affects the brain
  • How ADHD behavior of ruminating and overthinking situations and life events can contribute to SPS
  • How to manage SPS alongside ADHD