March 2018

Greetings from the OPI Montana Autism Education Project. We hope you find the information below useful and interesting. You can always find more training opportunities and information on our blog.


Upcoming Trainings

Autism: Managing Frustration & Anxiety and Teaching Social Skills

Great Falls          March 24th

Jed Baker, PhD. comes to Great Falls to share his vast expertise in “Managing Frustration & Anxiety and Teaching Social Skills.” Individuals on the autism spectrum and those with behavioral challenges often have difficulty regulating their feelings and interacting socially. This autism conference describes how to help individuals and their caregivers handle meltdowns and design effective plans to prevent frustration and anxiety. It will also detail effective social skills training strategies for all individuals and review some common skills needed for young adults, including the realm of sexuality and dating.

Find more information here. 

OPI Montana Autism Education Project Conference

Billings       April 9th and 10th

Monday April 9th

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

2.  How To Build A Program For a Student With Autism

3.  Strengthen Your Toolbox of Strategies and Activities for Students with Autism.

Tuesday April 10th

1.  How to Implement a Program for a Student with Autism

2.  How to Develop and Write Measurable IEP Goals

3.  How To Prepare Students (and Yourself) for Post-school Transition

4.  Reinforcer Surveys and Reinforcer Schedules (How to Increase Student Success and Your Happiness)

5.  Analysis of Automatically Reinforced Behavior: Sexualized behavior, Sensory Regulation and Stimulation

Find more information and register here.

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 64 hours of instruction in autism spectrum disorders and behavioral interventions.  The training must be completed in 90 days. OPI renewal units, ASHA CEUs and now SWP/MFT/LAC/ CEUs are available. New groups start the middle of each month. 

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


Recent Blog Posts of Interest

Setting the Tone for All Learners with Visual Cues 

Since many of my students have ADHD or autism, I know that lining up quietly is one of the most difficult tasks in the world for some kids. I was once one of them and I spent a good portion of my childhood being sent to the back of the line. I think that makes me an expert on wanting to make noise and wander off.

One thing to always consider is that we have students who learn in different ways. Some kids are great listeners and some kids really respond well to visual cues. After viewing the video, I’d want to put in place some good visual cues for students who struggle with listening. 

Read and view more here on the Teaching Channel.

3 Tips for Making Data-Based Decisions like a Pro!

Data. Some people love it. For others, it can be a real four-letter word. Whether you love it or hate it, data is here to stay! It is CRUCIAL to student success. Without data, we have no way to objectively analyze student progress. However, simply collecting data without pausing to reflect & make decisions gets us nowhere. Check out these great tips to ensure a successful data-driven school year!

1. Collect a Baseline

            Read more here at rethink ED. 

Autism Studies You May Have Seen Recently and What to Know About Them

With little known about it, an abundance of research about autism exists. It can be overwhelming to keep track of, and often these studies don’t take autistic individuals’ experiences into account or are rooted in finding a cure, versus bettering resources and therapies for people on the spectrum. In February alone, three stories based on research claims made headlines. The Mighty looked into each of these stories.

1. One study suggests a correlation between autism and ultrasounds.

             Read more here at The Mighty.

How Multilevel Marketing Companies Got the Autism Community Hooked on Essential Oils

Over the past five years or so, with a big assist from DoTerra and its main competitor, an multilevel marketing company called Young Living, essential oils have taken off in the autism community. Some parents I talked to told me they purchase more than $200 a month on DoTerra products. On Facebook, there are dozens of essential oil groups for parents of kids on the spectrum—the group Autism, ADHD, and Essential Oils, for example, has more than 19,000 members.

Just one problem: There’s little published scientific evidence on the effects of DoTerra’s oils—or any essential oils—on people with autism. These products, indeed, are not regulated. And the company requires its salespeople to purchase at least $100 a month on DoTerra products in order to qualify for sales commissions.  

            Read more here at Mother Jones. 

14 Simple conversation social skills kits for children with autism: Free games, prompts, worksheets, activities

Here are a number of my free resources to help children on the autism spectrum with various elements of conversation.  This post is to facilitate access to them.

              Go here to see the resources. 

Asking Students to Plan Bad Behavior

Getting students to think about behaving badly helps them arrive at positive norms—and such reverse thinking may work in other situations as well.

It was Tuesday morning, and my fifth grade class was getting ready to go on a field trip. I had to make a choice before our departure: Review the safety rules and run the risk of seeing their eyes glaze over, or engage the students in coming up with appropriate behavior expectations for themselves. Here’s a question students don’t expect to hear from a teacher: “How can we make sure to get kicked out of where we are visiting today?”

            Read more here. 


Upcoming and Archived Webinars

Conversation Skills for Teens with ASD

Wed, Mar 7, 2018 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM MST

Join Aarti Nair, Ph.D. of the UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior for this talk on evidence-based strategies aimed at supporting emerging conversation skills in teens diagnosed with ASD.  

            Register here. 

 Archived Webinar - Counseling Considerations for People with ASD

Psychotherapy can address some of the skills delays, secondary symptoms, and co-morbid conditions that can come with autism spectrum disorders (ASD); however, interventions that are successful with people with ASD might be different than those used for the general population. Join us as we discuss some areas in which psychotherapy might benefit someone with ASD and things to consider when lookingfor a therapist. Presented by Amanda Tami, LPC, BCBA.

View the archived webinar here. 


Archived Webinar on Preparing for the World of Work

This recorded webinar video discusses employment and job trends for people with autism, skills that help individuals with autism gain and retain jobs, and how employers and co-workers can create an autism-friendly workplace.

View the webinar here at Interactive Autism Network.


Other Information

Consultation Visits

Our Autism Consultants are available to provide consultations for students with autism 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) 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 (

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Doug Doty, Statewide Coordinator

OPI Montana Autism Education Project 459-5303