Hi, 

In case you aren't aware of our services, I wanted to share some information about the OPI Montana Autism Education Project. 

Information about the OPI Montana Autism Education Project 

Montana currently has 1,469 students with autism in 213 districts. 

The Montana Autism Education Project is part of the Special Education Professional Development Unit.

OPI created the Montana Autism Education Project (MAEP) in 2010 in response to a growing number of technical assistance and training requests by schools educating students with autism spectrum disorder and Asperger’s syndrome. 

The Statewide Coordinator for the MAEP is Doug Doty. Doug has been the Autism Specialist at OPI since 1994. From 1994 until 2010 he was also a school improvement officer (special education monitor.) 

The OPI Montana Autism Education Project provides the following services to Montana public schools:

Consultation services for students identified with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD.)

Trainings in Autism Spectrum Disorder and related topics.

Online training in Autism Spectrum Disorder and Behavior Management. 

A web site (blog) which provides information on autism-related trainings in Montana, current research 

news, archived webinars and resources for educating students with ASD, their teachers and their peers.

A monthly newsletter of upcoming trainings, recent blog posts of interest and upcoming/archived webinars.

Consultation Services

School staff contact Doug to request a consultation visit. Doug then assigns an OPI Permanent Part-time Seasonal Employee (PPSE)* to conduct the on-site consultation visit. Post-visit the district is given a written report of suggestions and a survey to determine the effectiveness of the visit. Follow-up visits are available. 

 
Post-consultation survey results show that 99% of respondents rated the consultation visit as useful or very useful.

Trainings

The OPI Montana Autism Education Project provides numerous types of in-person trainings:

District PIR Trainings:  At the request of a district, MAEP staff will provide a district in-service on topics related to autism. 

Regional Trainings/Conferences: MAEP staff provide in-person trainings across Montana. We also present at conferences including the CEC special education conference and the MEA and MCEL conferences. 

Sponsored Trainings: The MAEP has Montana and sometimes out-of-state presenters to provide topic-specific autism trainings across Montana.

Training Scholarships: We provide registration scholarships for educators and pre-service education, psychology and speech-language pathology students to attend the CEC conference, the Montana Speech Hearing Association conference and the Montana Association of School Psychologist conference (when the latter two have autism-related topics.) The scholarships increase educator and pre-service educator knowledge and provides a positive OPI relationship with future educators and administrators.

Online Autism Training

Since 2011 we have contracted with a company to offer their online autism training curriculum. Any person working in a public school district can take the training for free. The training consists of 55 hours of videos showing educators working with students on specific learning objectives. Each short video is followed by a short multiple-choice quiz. 

The training is offered for OPI renewal units and American Speech and Hearing Association continuing education units. 

We have very good feedback on the training content. We also conduct an online survey of those who completed the training. Some of the survey results are:

98% of respondents say that online training is an effective or extremely effective way to learn new information. 

87% say they are better at understanding and preventing problem behaviors. 

83% say they are better at teaching students with autism. 

You can find out more about the training here

Newsletter

Our monthly newsletter includes information on upcoming autism related training opportunities, recent blog posts of interest and information about upcoming and archived webinars. The newsletter also includes information on how to enro‚Äčll in the online autism training and how to request an autism consultation visit. 

You can sign up for our and other OPI newsletters here

Please let me know if you have any questions or if we can assist you in educating students with autism. 

Doug

Doug Doty
Statewide Coordinator, OPI Montana Autism Education Project
Montana Office of Public Instruction