Why change the OPI autism criteria?
Our current criteria was developed in 2000 and is a blend of the IDEA criteria and the DSM IV-R criteria for autism and Aspergers. The understanding of autism spectrum disorder has greatly increased since 2000. The OPI is interested in seeing if we can provide a better, more defined, criteria for autism spectrum disorder than the current rule language
What is the initial process the OPI will to follow to develop a new autism criteria?
Rather than create a large, statewide rule revision committee that would have multiple meetings, we are having
single-day meetings with different regional groups of educators and others to provide us with ideas, feedback and
direction in creating new criteria language. The OPI has already formed these groups.
There will be future ways to provide comment on the specific language of a revised rule as part of the rule-making process. We will share that information through our blog, this newsletter and other means as the process progresses.
If the criteria is changed we would plan for implementation beginning in the 2018 school year. The revised criteria would only be required for initial evaluations and would not affect already-identified students unless the ER team chose to re-evaluate the student's continued eligibility as a student with autism.
PECS Level I Trainings
NOTE: These are the only PECS Level I trainings we will offer this school year.
Great Falls - September 18/19
Bozeman - September 20/21
Kalispell - October 2/3
Missoula - October 4/5
This intensive two-day training is designed to teach participants the theory behind the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) and the protocols for how to appropriately implement the six phases of PECS. PECS is used to rapidly teach communication skills to those with limited functional speech. Training in PECS begins by teaching a spontaneous request and goes on to teach additional communicative functions such as responding to questions and commenting.
Life Skills Para Academy - Billings
This academy provides the paraeducator with knowledge and skill in instructional methods and life skill support for youth and young adults who have moderate to severe cognitive, communicative, physical, or affective needs. The content addresses the role of the paraeducator in assisting the professionals on the team with transition planning and needs of students who are transitioning from school to community life and to adult roles and responsibilities.
2017 Northern Plains Law Conference on Students with Disabilities
Billings - October 3rd and 4th
The Northern Plains Law Conference on Students with Disabilities will cover special education legal issues, including the latest information from due process hearings, circuit court cases, OSEP/OCR guidance letters, and basic IDEA procedural requirements.
You can register here.
Wyoming Autism Spectrum Disorder Summit
Jackson – October 2nd and 3rd
You can see more information and register here.
Great Falls - October 11, 2017
Havre - October 12, 2017
Learn about three core treatment-based frameworks and more than 20 unique strategies based on Social Thinking Vocabulary and related activities. Teach students to better interpret and respond to their social world by exploring how to engage in richer social observation and making smart guesses to find hidden social rules. Learn systematic and logical ways to encourage social responsibility by learning about our own and others’ social thinking. Learn how our thinking about a situation and what we know about others can help us navigate and create the expected behaviors that support our relationships. Learn how we make these abstract concepts more concrete by reviewing a variety of activities through clinical examples.
TEACCH - Fundamentals in Autism
Great Falls – October 23 and 24
Bozeman – October 25 and 26
The Fundamentals in Autism is a two-day workshop that will provide participants with an overview of the learning styles of individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Structured TEACCHing strategies. Participants will learn behavior management strategies using Structured TEACCHing principles. The format of this workshop will include presentations, videos, interactive discussions, and small group activities.
Participants will be able to:
Nov. 13-15, 2017
The MT Office of Public Instruction has a scholarship for public school staff who work with youth with disabilities who are preparing to transition to adulthood.
Go here for more information about the conference.
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.
You can also view trainings as they are added on the OPI Montana Autism Education Project blog
OPI Montana Autism Education Project recent blog posts of interest:
Number of Students with Autism by County 2010 - 2016
You can see the year-by-year county maps here. You can also play or download a short animation that shows the above changes over time. At the bottom of the page you can pause the playback and then use the progress bar button to move more slowly from year to year.
Is It Time To Ditch The Autism Puzzle Piece?
Dating to at least the 1960s, puzzle pieces have commonly been used to denote autism. The imagery is currently employed by Autism Speaks, the ASA and numerous other groups in one form or another and puzzle pieces grace everything from t-shirts and pins to credit cards and license plates.
However, many people on the spectrum object to the icon, arguing that it represents those with autism as mysterious, disconnected and needing to fit in. And now a new study published in the journal Autism is adding credence to their view, finding that public perception of puzzle pieces is largely negative.
Read more here at Disability Scoop.
Lockers can prove pretty challenging for kids with learning and attention issues. Some kids have trouble manipulating the lock. Others struggle to keep their lockers organized. And some kids just have trouble figuring out when they have time to make a locker stop, or what they need to take each time they visit. Check out these videos and tips, plus a handy download to help your child navigate locker challenges.
See more here.
Girls appear to have mastered what some call "social camouflaging," says Amanda Gulsrud, clincial director of the Child and Adult Neurodevelopmental Clinic at University of California, Los Angeles. The boys clearly stood out as being different, Gulsrud says. They were very isolated from the other boys, who were in a large group playing sports. The boys with autism were the ones "circling the perimeter of the yard, or off by the tree in the back."
Girls with autism, on the other hand, didn't stand out as much, she says. They stuck close enough to the other girls to look as if they were socially connected, but in reality they were not really connecting. "They were not having deep, meaningful conversations or exchanges," Gulsrud says. They were flitting in and out of that social connection.
Until the 1980s, many people with autism were institutionalized, rendering them effectively invisible. Studies show that parents who are aware of autism’s presentation — by living near someone with the condition, for example — are more likely to seek a diagnosis for their children than parents with no knowledge of the condition. Living close to urban centers and having good medical care also boost the likelihood of diagnosis.
Greater awareness of autism is also likely to boost CDC estimates by increasing the chances that autism traits, such as lack of eye contact, show up in school and medical records, says Fombonne.
Policy changes may have also played a role. In 2006, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended screening all children for autism during routine pediatrician visits at 18 and 24 months of age. This move may have led to diagnoses for children who would otherwise have slipped under the radar.
Upcoming and Archived Webinars
September 20 2:00 - 3:00 p.m. CST
Whether you are a teacher, a parent, a school administrator, or an education professional, successful behavior management is key to success in school and all other settings. Whether you prefer to manage (or self-manage) behavior through strategies and low-tech supports, or you are keen on going all tech, there is a tool for that!
In this presentation, participants will learn what needs to happen before, during, and after an AAC evaluation for pediatric and/or school based communication device user. During the presentation tools and strategies for having the most effective AAC evaluations and device submission reports will be discussed and demonstrated.
View the archived webinar here.
Archived Webinar - Toilet Training Yes, You Can!
Are you ready to move on from diapers? Is your child ready? What do you need to think about and prepare for when toilet training a person of any age? We will discuss planning, barriers, and strategies to successfully implement a toilet training program.
This talk will provide an overview of a cognitive behavioral treatment (Facing Your Fears) to reduce anxiety in children/adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). We will carefully review the child and parent components of the treatment so that by the end of the webinar, participants would be familiar with specific strategies to reduce anxiety symptoms.
View the webinar here.
The OPI Montana Autism Education Project now has a flyer which describes all of our services.
We have also added a feature on our blog that will allow you to receive an email each time we update the blog with new information. Look for , “Follow by Email” on the right-hand side of the blog.
Our Autism Consultants are available to provide consultations for students with autism for no charge. Please contact Doug Doty at email@example.com if you are interested in scheduling a consultation visit.
OPI Has Behavioral Consultants
The Office of Public Instruction (OPI) has 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Thank you for subscribing to this mailing list. If you know others who might wish to receive this newsletter they can subscribe here.
Doug Doty, Statewide Coordinator
OPI Montana Autism Education Project