Montana Autism Education Project News – October 2016


Upcoming Trainings:

Fall Trainings with Ann Garfinkle - CAPS

In this training from Ann Garfinkle, learners will focus on the multi-level comprehensive autism planning system or (CAPS) to program for students with High Functioning Autism (HAFA)  and Aspergers. The topics will include sensory differences, cognitive differences, motor differences, and emotional vulnerability with reinforcement strategies for a comprehensive look at programming, service delivery, and progress monitoring. The attendees will leave with a new mind-set of how inclusive settings can be modified/adapted for a positive learning experience. 

Comprehensive Programming for HFA      Hamilton         October 7th

Comprehensive Programming for HFA       Bozeman       October 28th

Comprehensive Programming for HFA       Great Falls     November 8th

You can register here.

MSHA Fall Convention October 20-21, 2016 Helena

Dr. Lisa Ruble and Dr. Misty Parsley are presenting two days on the COMPASS model and collaborating as a team to serve your students with Autism. This includes writing FBA’s, identifying alternative skills to improve behavior, building a teaching plan with evidence based practices, transition to adulthood/post-secondary education and case studies that you bring.

You can find information on the speakers here.

You can find the schedule here.

You can register here.

PECS 2 Training - Polson  Oct 27 – 28, 2016

Where:  Red Lion Ridgewater - Polson

Description:  Only 50 seats MAX available for this 2 day training

Prerequisite PECS 1 training

This training will show you how to teach PECS with fidelity so your learners don’t get stuck on early Phases of PECS. Turn your PECS user into someone who communicates in all situations using longer sentences. Review the six Phases of PECS and discuss your current challenges…this combined with ideas related to materials, teaching strategies and activities to promote communication will refine your PECS implementation skills.  

Register here.

Language Acquisition through Motor Planning (LAMP) Training - Missoula and Kalispell

            Kalispell - November 1, 2016 // Missoula - November 2, 2016

LAMP is an augmentative alternative communication (AAC) approach designed to give users a method of independently and spontaneously expressing themselves through a speech generating device. This course will cover the components of LAMP: readiness to learn, engaging the learner through joint engagement, and learning language through a unique and consistent motor plan paired with an auditory signal and a natural consequence.

Please note: The LAMP training is focused on students who use a device for speech, and not symbolic communication (e.g., PECS.) “LAMP focuses on giving the individual independent access to vocabulary on voice output AAC devices that use consistent motor plans for accessing vocabulary.”

You can register here.


PECS II in Great Falls    November 3-4

You can register here.             (Prerequisite: PECS™ Level 1 Training)

 This training will show you how to teach PECS with fidelity so your learners don’t get stuck on early Phases of PECS. Let us help you create lessons that turn your PECS user into someone who communicates in all situations using longer sentences. A review of the six Phases of PECS and discussions about your current challenges combined with ideas related to materials, teaching strategies and activities to promote communication will refine your PECS implementation skills. With innovative ideas, renewed confidence and enthusiasm you will leave the PECS Level 2 Training ready to move PECS users to more sophisticated levels of communication.

Montana Youth in Transition Conference - Helena, November 14-16

You can see the conference flyer here and find more information here and the agenda is here

The Birds and the Bees: “Puberty, Hygiene, Safety and Sexuality for Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder."

This presentation covers a much needed and little talked about area for youths with ASD. Youths with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities are twice as likely as their typically developing peers to be victims of physical or sexual abuse. Information regarding puberty, hygiene, and sexuality relates to keeping children with ASD safe. Areas covered can easily become target behaviors, objectives for IEPs, or treatment goals for youth with ASD.

Kalispell - December 7th

Missoula - December 8th 

Registration will open here in early November.

You can also view trainings as they are added on the OPI Montana Autism Education Project blog 

Online Training in Autism Spectrum Disorders and Behavior Interventions

We are offering free* subscriptions to online training in autism spectrum disorders and behavioral interventions. The training provides 35 hours of instruction in autism spectrum disorders or behavioral interventions.  The training must be completed in 90 days. OPI continuing education units are available for each hour of the training completed. New groups start the first week of each month.

If you are interested in the training please go here to register.  * The training is free to public school staff but the OPI pays for each subscription and we have a limited number of subscriptions per year. We ask that you be committed to completing the training before you register.


Montana Autism Education Project blog posts of interest:

Checking for Understanding:  Checking for understanding is part of a formative assessment system in which teachers identify learning goals, provide students feedback, and then plan instruction based on students' errors and misconceptions.    Find several pages of good examples here. 

Why parents try fringe therapies for autism: To an expert, dismissing pseudo-scientific alternatives or weighing the risks of potentially promising yet unproven treatments may be second nature. For parents, it’s much more complicated.   Read more here. 

Stimtastic – jewelry and toys for kids (and adults) who live better when they have an object to fidget with.

Classroom Lesson – Teaching Socializing with Friends.


Upcoming and Archived Webinars:

Evidence-Based Early Intervention- An Introduction to The Early Start Denver Model    
Wednesday, October 26th | 4PM EST

The importance of early intervention cannot be understated. The Early Start Denver Model (ESDM) has a strong evidence-base in working with the very young child. At the heart of the ESDM is the empirical knowledge-base of infant-toddler learning and development and the effects of early autism. In particular, this intervention focuses on boosting children’s social-emotional, cognitive, and language, as development in these domains is particularly affected by autism.  

Register here.

Engineering Classrooms with Visual Strategies for Autism Success

In this webinar, Linda Hodgdon, M.Ed., CCC-SLP, and author, highlighted her list of 12 “must haves” for every classroom with students with Autism Spectrum Disorders. When and how you use these tools is important, so she also covered how to integrate them easily and meaningfully into classroom routines. 

Watch the archived webinar here.

Webinar - Confident Me! A Free Middle School Self-Esteem Program

October 12, 1:00 – 2:00 MST

Confident Me! is a one-session and five-session self-esteem program for middle school students that uses skills-based health education and focuses on: challenging unrealistic sociocultural ideals of appearance; media literacy with respect to these ideals; reducing appearance comparisons and appearance conversation; and encouraging body activism and positive behavior change. This webinar will provide more information about this free program to any middle school interested in using it. 

Register here. 

You can find many, many more upcoming and archived webinars here.


Other Items:

Consultation Visits:  Staff from the Montana Autism Education Project are available to provide on-site trainings, classroom-level consultations or consultations on individual students. These services are available for no charge. Please contact Doug Doty at if you are interested in scheduling a consultation visit.

OPI Now Has Behavioral Consultants

The Office of Public Instruction (OPI) wishes to announce the availability of Behavioral Consultants for districts needing help in developing functional behavioral assessments (FBA) and behavioral intervention plans (BIP) for individual special education students without autism. If you are in need of a consultant, please contact Dale Kimmet via e-mail (

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Doug Doty, Statewide Coordinator

OPI Montana Autism Education Project 459-5303