Montana Autism Education Project News – April  2017



Upcoming Trainings:

June Institute


June 14-15

PECS –  Teaching Critical Communication Skills

PECS –  Guide to Managing Challenging Behaviors

Find more information and register here.


2017 Summer Institute

Polson, June 13 and 14

June 13 - Language of Emotions

June 14 - Managing Challenging Behavior 

Find more information and register here.

Autism for Administrators

Billings  August 2nd

Morning Objectives: Participants will (a) define the major characteristics of autism and identify symptoms commonly associated with the disorder and state whether they are part of the official definition or not, (b) identify two ‘gold standards’ for diagnosing autism and state the difference between diagnosis and verification, and (c) identify at least two accommodations and two alternate assessments for students who have autism.

Afternoon Objectives: Participants will (a) identify and describe several classroom and academic interventions for students with ASD, (b) describe social and behavioral approaches to increasing these skills in students with ASD, (c) identify the need for crisis planning and supports including FBA and Function-based interventions, (d) list at least four considerations for improving policies at their own school or district, and (e) inform others of current research which applies to students with ASD in their school or district.

See more information and register here. 


Social Thinking Returns to Montana!

Missoula  August 17 and 18    

Social Thinking (Kari Zwebel Palmer) will present the following workshops:

Zooming In: Strategies for Concrete Learners

Zooming In: Strategies for Individuals with Subtle but Significant Social Problems

Registration will open in May.

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 offer subscriptions to a highly-rated online training in autism spectrum disorders and behavioral interventions. The training provides 55+ hours of instruction in autism spectrum disorders and behavioral interventions.  The training must be completed in 90 days. OPI renewal units and ASHA CEUs are available. New groups start the middle of each month. 

If you are interested in taking the training please go here to register.


Montana Autism Education Project recent blog posts of interest:

Newest "Sesame Street" Muppet has autism: Meet Julia

60 Minutes visits "Sesame Street" for the first time and films the debut of their new Muppet character, Julia, who has autism. 

Watch the 60 Minutes video here. 

FDA Cracks Down on False Claims

According to Commander Jason Humbert, M.H.S., R.N., a regulatory operations officer in the FDA’s Office of Regulatory Affairs, the agency has warned and/or taken action against a number of companies that have made improper claims about their products’ intended use as a treatment or cure for autism or autism-related symptoms. Some of these so-called therapies carry significant health risks and include:

“Chelation Therapies.” These products claim to cleanse the body of toxic chemicals and heavy metals by binding to them and “removing” them from circulation. They come in a number of forms, including sprays, suppositories, capsules, liquid drops and clay baths. Chelating important minerals needed by the body can lead to serious and life-threatening outcomes.

Read more here.


NAA’s Big Red Safety Boxes® Now Available!

The National Autism Association’s Big Red Safety Box® is a free-of-charge safety toolkit for autism families in need of wandering-prevention tools.

NAA’s Big Red Safety Box® includes:

Educational materials and tools, including NAA’s Be REDy Booklet

Two (2) GE Door/Window Alarms including batteries

One (1) MedicAlert Bracelet or Pendant, and One (1) Shoe ID tag. You will receive instructions in the box to submit your custom personalization order and create your free MedicAlert account

Five (5) Adhesive Stop Sign Visual Prompts for doors and windows

Two (2) Safety Alert Window Clings for car or home windows

One (1) Red Safety Alert Wristband

One (1) Child ID Kit from the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children

Read more here. 


New findings on regression in autism

Q: Is there evidence that regression may be a universal aspect of autism rather than one subtype of autism? 

We have to be cautious about saying that anything is universal in autism. Autism involves so much diversity. Rather, I’d say that regression may be much more common than we used to think.

This may be especially true if we broaden our definition of regression beyond loss of language and look at how kids are losing skills before they speak. When we track their communication skills and abilities over time, starting in infancy, we see evidence that they’re doing certain things less. There’s a larger proportion of kids where we see evidence that they’re not as socially engaged at 9 or 12 months as they were at 6 months.

As a result of all these things, I think we may be getting away from the notion that regression is in just a minority of children with autism. As we start to think about loss of skills more broadly, it may be that regression affects most kids with autism in some way. 

Read more here at Autism Speaks. 


Upcoming and Archived Webinars


‘Perfectly Normal’: Autism Through a Lens

At about the halfway point of “Perfectly Normal,” the artful short documentary about a man with Asperger’s syndrome, there is a rare filmic experience of the sensory overload of autism.

For about a minute, as Jordan, the articulate middle-aged subject of the film, speaks about his own condition, the soundtrack skitters and booms, rapid jump cuts intensify the sense of danger, and in this swelling moment of uncertainty, the viewer experiences a fleeting sense of what it might be like to live in a condition of permanent, anxious neural flood. “You think life has one circle, but no, there are circles which are added to extra circles that create chaos, and it looks like you’re drowning,” Jordan says. 

Read more here. 

Webinar - Supporting Sensory Needs in Children & Teens with ASD

Mon, May 8, 2017

Sensory issues are a complex and often overlooked issue for individuals on the autism spectrum. Join occupational therapist Lindsey Biel - co-author of the book Raising a Sensory Smart Child: The Definitive Handbook for Helping Your Child with Sensory Processing Issues, to learn tips for successfully supporting children and teens who struggle with sensory discomfort and pain.

Register here with the Autism Research Institute. 


Webinar - Organizational Strategies for Students with ASD in Middle School and Up

Does your Middle or High Schooler struggle with Executive Functioning tasks? Is disorganization or complicated planning hindering their ability to get more out of their programs or classes? Join us for a discussion on strategies to help build organizational skills and strategies for students with ASD.  

Register here with the Autism Research Institute. 


Archived Webinars for Paraeducators

Choreographing Effective Paraeducator Support in Inclusive Early Childhood Settings

Supporting Students with Severe and Multiple Disabilities: What Paraeducators Need to Know and Do

The Three Ps for Behavioral Support: Preventive Strategies, Personalized Supports and Positive Strokes

Delivering Effective Paraeducator Support to Students with Disabilities: A Delicate Dance

Teacher and Paraeducator Teaming for Student Success

View the webinars here (registration required.) 


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 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 at (


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Doug Doty, Statewide Coordinator

OPI Montana Autism Education Project 459-5303