Wednesday, June 30, 2021

FREE Online Autism Training from the OPI Montana Autism Education Project

The OPI Montana Autism Education Project is offering 40+ hours of online training in Teaching Procedures for students with autism/cognitive delay, Applied Behavior Analysis and a variety of Focused Topics. These online trainings are available to public school staff in Montana. A listing and description of the training content can be found here.

New groups start the beginning and middle of each month and you will be sent information at that time on how to begin your training. You have 90 days to complete the training. 

OPI renewal units are not available* for this training. The training can be taken for ASHA CEUs. 

You can register for the training HERE. 

* The training content provider now allows learners to fast-forward through videos to reach quizzes. Because there is no longer a specific amount of time that must be spent in each course, we can no longer offer OPI renewal units for this training.


ASHA members and/or MT state licensed SLPs are qualified to earn ASHA CEUs. Independent study plans are limited to 20 hours. ASHA requires that Independent Study activities are approved 30 days prior to the start of the learning activity. It works best to get the ASHA approval BEFORE registering for the courses.  

Participants fill out the form and send it to the Montana MSHA rep. Contact Doug Doty at for information on whom to send it to. You can find the Independent Study form here.  

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Resources for Helping Students Wear Face Masks/Coverings and Other Information

Learning to Wear A Mask

I Can Wear A Mask - A Social Story

Wearing A Mask - A Social Story + Video Story

How to Wear My Mask - A Social Story

How Can I Teach My Son to Cooperate with Wearing a Face Mask? - includes sample teaching steps

How To Get More Comfortable Wearing A Mask - Video

Tips for Caregivers: How to Make Mask-wearing Easier - Video

Wearing A Mask and Communication - Tips for Desensitization, Tolerating a Mask, Tips for Communication and How to Make a Mask with Clear Panels

Teaching Your Child to Wear a Mask - -Tips and Guidelines

Wearing A Mask Toolkit - Tips

Being in Public Places

Seeing People Wearing Masks - A Social Story

Social Distancing - A Social Story

We Wear Masks - A Social Story explaining why people are wearing masks

Tips for Supplementing Communication When Wearing A Face Mask

We Wear Masks - A Social Story

Wearing a Mask to School - A Social Story

Other Information

A Parents Perspective: Navigating Face Coverings - Article with good tips.

Getting Tested for COVID-19 - A Social Story

Getting an Oral Test for COVID-19 - Two Social Stories

Getting a Saliva Test for COVID-19 - Two Social Stories: clinic and drive-through

Getting a Nasal Test for COVID-19 - Two Social Stories: clinic and drive-through

Handwashing - Visual Steps Poster

Wash Your Hands - Visual Steps Poster

Teaching Handwashing - Video

Keeping Friends Safe - A Social Story

10 Face Masks People with Chronic Illness Recommend - Article

Riding the Bus Will be Different - Social Story

Navigating a Socially Distanced Classroom for Students with Autism - archived webinar

When a special education student wears a face mask or face shield solely to prevent the spread of COVID-19, that is not considered an aversive treatment procedure (ARM 10.16.3346(4)(e) Aversive Treatment Procedures.​) 

The determination of medical necessity as included on page 118, question 18, of the Montana Special Education Guidance document is not necessary when state or local governments require individuals to wear face masks or coverings to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Monday, March 1, 2021

The 2021 ACRES Annual Conference is rapidly approaching!

 ACRES = American Council on Rural Special Education 

Conference Registration and Fees
  • Attendance is FREE for all students and PreK-12 teachers! 
  • For all other attendees, including presenters, please consider making a tax deductible donation of at least $25. A registration fee of $100 will include a 1-year annual membership and a $25 tax-free donation.
  • We strongly encourage all attendees to become an ACRES member or renew your membership! Click the Membership link above for more information.
  • All presenters and attendees must register for the conference to receive a link to the virtual sessions. 
You can find more information about ACRES here

You can find a full list of presentations here

Sessions include:

IEP Facilitation in a Virtual World 

Mary Anne Fleury, Colorado Department of Education 

COVID-19 has created significant challenges in special education, one being holding effective individualized education program (IEP) meetings. Tele-facilitation allows us to meet deadlines and continue to respect all voices in a virtual format. IEP facilitation services are now provided more efficiently, supporting rural districts to a higher degree. 

 I-Connect: A technology-based self-monitoring app 

Gretchen Scheibel, University of Kansas; Howard Wills, Kajsa Mullenix-Mohammed, University of Kansas 

I-Connect, a freely available and research-based self-monitoring (SM) app, will be introduced to demonstrate how SM interventions can be individualized (e.g., target behaviors, prompts, and interval length) to meet the uniqueness of students with diverse learning needs. Tips for introducing SM interventions and progress monitoring tools will be included. 

Providing Classroom-Based Support to Rural Special Education Teachers and Paraeducators with Bug-in-Ear Technology 

Annemarie L. Horn, Jonna Bobzein, Old Dominion University 

eCoaching is a validated procedure that has been shown to improve special education teacher and paraeducator instruction, as measured by skill transfer and sustainability in the classroom context. Further, there are limited barriers to rural settings. Session attendees will acquire information for practical application of eCoaching procedures in rural schools. 

Rural Native American Students with Disabilities during COVID-19: Challenges and Recommendations 

Patricia Peterson, Candi RunningBear, William P. A. Terrill, Adriana Frates, Northern Arizona University 

The COVID-19 pandemic caused serious disruptions in the education of Native American students with disabilities who live in rural and remote areas. This presentation focuses on the challenges, solutions, and recommendations for the future related to educating Native American students with disabilities in rural communities and remote tribal lands. 

Reaching Educators Through the Wires: Enhancing Functional Behavior Assessments in the Public-School Setting 

Jennifer Hamrick, Jennifer Hixson; Texas Tech University 

Research indicates behavior plans in public schools typically lack integrity. We will discuss trainings focused on assessment and intervention strategies to all levels of educators to increase knowledge of assessment skills, implementation, and training procedures necessary for high treatment integrity. 

Friday, February 19, 2021

Webinar about adaptive recreation technologies and programs

 The Montana Disability and Health Program is hosting a webinar about adaptive recreation technologies and programs that support people with disabilities to: 

  1. increase their physical activity minutes and physical fitness, and 
  2. be included in activities and experiences that support our social connectedness.   


Through examples from Montana, people across the nation can discover new ways to explore the great outdoors, engage in fitness and reconnect with communities. 


You are invited to join this webinar on Increasing Inclusive Fitness Opportunities Under the Big Sky, 

Monday, February 15, 2021

 WAVES 2020-21 Session Archives Available

Hopefully you’ve taken advantage of the free professional development opportunities that the Wyoming Department of Education provided this past semester. We know how hard you’ve been working to meet the needs of Wyoming students. If you missed a session or two, we’ve got you covered. Educators can access all the WAVES recordings and materials  below, or visit the Wyoming Instructional Network []

WAVES 20-21 Session Archives []

IDEA Legal Issues in COVID School Closures: FAPE, Compensatory Services, Other Issues - Jose Martin

There are special factors for IEP teams to consider during the pandemic. This session provides excellent guidance to assist you:

What About Us? PLC at Work Process for Grades Pre-K – 2 - Brian Butler and his co-authors 

Discover how to achieve the full potential of preK-2 classrooms through proven best practices aligned to the PLC at Work® process. Learn how to work in collaborative teams to determine essential standards, design assessments, monitor student progress, and more.

Conducting Comprehensive Evaluations - Bart Lyman

Explore the foundations and identify the specific components of a comprehensive evaluation.

Modern Issues in Least Restrictive Environment: Does the Mandate Really Apply Equally in All Context? - Jose Martin 

LRE is a foundation of IDEA. This will walk you through all the components to consider.

Goal Writing (K-12 focus) - Dr. Tessie Bailey

An overview of strategies for setting high quality Academic and Behavioral IEP Goals.

Comprehensive Evaluations & Observations for Early Childhood Pre-K – 2 - Annastashia Teepe

Take an in-depth look into conducting comprehensive evaluations and observations for children ages 3 - 8 as part of the referral process for special education

Addressing Postsecondary Transition: Student with Complex Needs - Ellen Condon

Find ways to encourage families, young adults, and support staff to stretch their thinking in the possibilities of postsecondary transition.

MTSS 101 (K-12 focus) - Bart Lyman

Develop a basic understanding of MTSS components, learn the benefits of utilizing the framework, and begin to evaluate current practices through an MTSS lens.

Social Emotional Panel Discussion (Early Childhood focus) Panelists - Nikki Baldwin, Kathy Buchanan, Laura Fowler, Nicole George, and Tiffany Hunt

Panelists discuss some practical strategies/suggestions for educators to provide social emotional learning and support for our children and families while ensuring a Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) in the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE), while providing tips on how teachers can feel supported in their own social/emotional well-being among the COVID-19 pandemic.

Trauma-Informed Care (K-12 focus) - Clark Fairbanks and Wendy Gaunter

Trauma-Informed Care (Early Childhood focus) - Clark Fairbanks and Wendy Gaunter

Woodcock Johnson/Review of General Administration Procedures -  Dan Mayer

Visual Impairment Eligibility Determination - Leslie Van Orman 

Overcoming Poor Quality Tier 1 through Effective Implementation of High Leverage Practices/Evidence Based Practices - Dr. Tessie Bailey

Develop a quality Tier I through the selection and implementation of High Leverage Practices/Evidence Based Practices.

Kindergarten Transition & Executive Functioning Skills - Deana Smith, Nikki Baldwin, and Amy Reyes

During this session, you will find ways to improve Kindergarten transition, help your students develop or improve their social/emotional and executive functioning skills, and learn strategies and ideas from teachers within the state  to help your student’s transition be more successful as they enter kindergarten. 

Avoiding Pitfalls in the IEP Process: Don’t fall prey to some commonly overlooked components of the IEP process - Stephanie Weaver

Goal Writing Strategies for Early Childhood: An overview of strategies for setting high quality Pre-Academic and Functional  IEP Goals - Dr. Tessie Bailey

National CEC Conference is Virtual in 2021

 (Cost is $250 for members) 

Welcome to CEC L.I.V.E.

Join us on March 8-13 for CEC’s Learning Interactive Virtual Event (L.I.V.E.), featuring 700+ on-demand sessions, 3 keynote presentations, 30 live mainstage sessions, 400 poster videos, a series of pre-conference workshops, and more.

From the comfort and convenience of your home with reduced registration rates and flexible scheduling, CEC L.I.V.E. will bring you:

  • Opening Keynote Presentation with Dr. Tyrone Howard, one of the country’s premier experts on educational equity and access
  • Two more exciting keynote presentations
  • 30 live interactive sessions
  • More than 700 pre-recorded sessions
  • 400 poster videos, 150+ Teacher Slam presentations, and 40+ Research Data Blitz sessions
  • Series of pre-conference workshops
  • Technology Playground presenting Technology Demonstrations, Technology Implementation, and Make N' Take sessions

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Upcoming Social Thinking Trainings (virtual) - Spring 2021 REGISTRATION CLOSED

The OPI Montana Autism Education Project will be offering the trainings below for Montana public school educators. The trainings are 3.5 hours long and attendees will have access to the recording of the training for 30 days after the training date. 

March 4 -  Me in the Social World—It All Starts with Social Self-Awareness

March 5 Using Social Competencies to Navigate in the Social World

April 16  The Social World: Practical Vocabulary and Concepts for Teaching How It Works

April 17 Strategies and Concepts for How to Navigate to Regulate in the Social World

May 3 Assessing Social Competencies with Practical Assessment Tools and Tasks

May 4 Exploring Socially Based Executive Functions & Tips for Assessing Different Developmental Ages

Four OPI renewal units will be provided for each training. 

We have reached the maximum number of attendees for these trainings and have closed the registration. We hope to offer more trainings this summer. If you wish to subscribe to the Montana Autism Education Project mailing list to be notified if more trainings become available you can do so here

PECS Trainings (virtual) - Spring 2021

The OPI Montana Autism Education Project is offering the following full-day workshops from PECS this spring: 

March 10th - Teaching Critical Communication Skills

March 24 -  Transitioning from PECS to Speech-Generating Devices

April 7 - Guide to Managing Challenging Behaviors

April 28 -  Transitioning from PECS to Speech-Generating Devices

You can request a PECS training here.

PECS Level 2 Trainings (virtual) - Spring 2021

The OPI Montana Autism Education Project is offering the following PECS Level 2 trainings. You must have previously attended a PECS Level 1 training to attend a Level 2 training. 

March 18-19PECS Level 2

April 19-20 - PECS Level 2

You can register for a PECS Level 2 training here.


Tuesday, February 9, 2021

ADOS -2 Initial Training (virtual) March 18-19 2021

 What is the ADOS (Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule)?

The Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule-Second Edition (ADOS-2) is a standardized assessment tool that helps providers diagnose autism spectrum disorders (ASD) in children and adults.  The ADOS involves a semi-structured play or interview session determined by the age and communication level of the individual. (Read more here.)

You can register for the training here. Limited to 50 participants. OPI renewal units will be available. 

This trainings will be from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. MST 

If you have questions, please contact Doug Doty at

Monday, February 8, 2021

High School Teachers - OPI Training for Linking Assessment and Instruction for Independence (virtual)

This one-day workshop from STAR Autism Support provides participants with information on how to implement evidence-based practices for secondary students using the Links Curriculum. Participants will learn to use a process for assessing and teaching functional routines. Extensive information will be given on selecting and individualizing routines and teaching specific skills to support success during routines.

The Links Curriculum includes extensive data collection systems and participants will learn to collect and use data for instructional decision making, tracking student progress and writing IEP Goals. Video examples and video practice activities will be incorporated into the workshop. An on-line computerized system will be demonstrated with hands-on practice by the participants. Attendees will receive one year of access to the LINKS online curriculum.

The trainings are from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. with a one-hour lunch break.

Attendees will receive one year of access to the LINKS online curriculum

The training dates are: 

February 19

March 18

April 14

You can register for the training here.