June 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

Paraeducator Supervision Academy and Training of Paraeducators Academy - Billings

June 14, 2018: Paraeducator Supervision Academy (PSA)
a one-day training that enables educators and other school professionals to develop a core of communication, collaboration, problem solving, and supervisory skills needed to work with paraeducators. It also includes approaches to building work and instructional plans, identifying training for paraeducators through needs assessment, and using feedback to improve the job performance of paraeducators. 

June 15, 2018: Individuals who attend the PSA training can become trainers for paraeducators by taking the Trainers of Paraeducators Academy (TOPA) training to qualify as a CO-TOP Trainer. This training will provide participants with skills to deliver CO-TOP curriculum, consisting of 22 courses, to paraeducators in their districts. TOPA focuses on knowledge of the characteristics of effective and ineffective training sessions and the characteristics of adult learners. It provides guidelines and resources for planning the content of presentations for para-educators and for developing effective presentation methods. Please bring a laptop. If you are interested in becoming a trainer or a facilitator of online training courses for paraeducators at the local or state level please plan on attending these trainings!

Register here.

Para Supervision Training
  - POLSON – June 12

The purpose of this course is to provide the professional educator with core knowledge and skills to work effectively in teams composed both of professionals and paraeducators. They will develop skills in: (1) establishing collaboration and working relationships (2) assessing personal supervisory skills; (3) building work schedules and instructional plans; (4) identifying career development areas for paraeducators through needs assessment; and (5) using feedback to improve the job performance of paraeducators.

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

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

Recent Blog Posts of Interest

Curriculum Materials and Programs for Individuals on the Autism Spectrum

Finding curricular materials for students on the spectrum can be a taxing chore. To facilitate this process, IRCA staff decided to identify materials that could be used to teach subjects ranging from math to living skills.  We are sure there are some topics and materials we have missed.  However, this initial list provides a first steps in identifying options. 

Below is a listing of examples of curriculum and programs that can be used to teach individuals on the autism spectrum. 

Read the list here at the Indiana Resource Center for Autism. 

We Need to Stop Moving the Goalposts for Autism

When the report came out, the headlines read along the lines of “Autism cases continue to rise: now 1 in 59 children have autism.” But let’s look at that CDC study more critically. It is based on an active surveillance system established in 2000 that estimates autism spectrum disorder (ASD) among children age 8 years living in 11 states.

Using that system, the prevalence of autism (ASD) rose from 1 in 150 children in 2000–2002, to 1 in 68 children during 2010–2012 and 1 in 59 children in 2014. That means the prevalence of autism more than doubled in the 12-year period between 2000 and 2012 and increased nearly 16 percent just in the two-year period between 2012 and 2014.

That is preposterous. From 1 per 150 children to 1 per 59 children with autism in slightly more than a decade? No wonder headlines speak of an “epidemic.” Are these believable figures, or might it be because we keep diluting the condition and expanding the definition, and in so doing we keep moving the goalposts?

Read more here at Scientific American. 

15 Behavior Strategies for Children on the Autism Spectrum

Give Choices. All children, including those with autism, like to feel a sense of control over their world. Many children benefit from having the choices limited to two to four options (depending on the child), as they get overwhelmed with too many choices and cannot decide. Examples of choices are: “Do you want to draw or watch a video,” “Do you want butter or jelly on your bagel,” “Do you want to wear the green or red shirt?” 

Read more here. 


To get an autism diagnosis, girls need worse social skills than boys

The ratio of boys to girls who went on to be diagnosed with autism is even higher than that of the at-risk group: About 25 percent of the boys received an autism diagnosis, compared with 7.4 percent of the girls.

This result hints that the diagnostic assessment is skewed to finding boys with the condition. Girls who received an autism diagnosis overlapped cleanly with those who met the SCQ cutoff — suggesting the screen is accurate for girls.

Read more here at Spectrum. 

Understanding the Social Behaviors of Girls with ASD (video)

Watch the very good 15 minute video here.


Cold parenting? Childhood schizophrenia? How the diagnosis of autism has evolved over time

Autism was originally described as a form of childhood schizophrenia and the result of cold parenting, then as a set of related developmental disorders, and finally as a spectrum condition with wide-ranging degrees of impairment. Along with these shifting views, its diagnostic criteria have changed as well.

Here is how the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), the diagnostic manual used in the United States, has reflected our evolving understanding of autism.

Read more here of an excellent history of the DSM criteria for autism.


Social communication on the spectrum

Read more here at Spectrum. 


Toilet Training Resources

A field manual.

Resources from Seattle Children's Hospital


Upcoming and Archived Webinars

Webinars: Strengthening Executive Function in the Early Years: Designing Environmental Scaffolds and Child-specific Interventions – A 3-Part Series

Executive functioning, an important area of growth during the early childhood period, is critical for school readiness and success. This three-part webinar series will present easy-to-use environmental scaffolds, growth-promoting instructional experiences and child-specific interventions woven into the daily routines to develop and strengthen executive functioning in young children, those who have or at risk for developmental delays.

Find more information here.


Webinar - Speech Dude Tells Even More: Innovative Assistive Technology to Help Your Moderate to Severe Students Flourish

June 13, 2018, 02:00 pm CST - 60-minutes

In this presentation, participants will be introduced to a wide variety of innovative technology tools that can be easily integrated into teaching and learning in for students with moderate to severe disabilities. Google extensions and other cutting-edge tools will be discussed, along with simple implementation strategies to increase access to content and improve student engagement and productivity, with special emphasis on high school aged and transitional students.

Read more and register here. 


Archived Webinar - Creating a Meaningful Classroom Data System

I want to share a data collection system that can allow you to take meaningful data in your classroom without being completely overwhelmed. If you are struggling with getting data collection started in your classroom, this webinar can help. I'll share free resources for taking and summarizing data as part of the daily routine. After this webinar you will have tools you can implement to take instructional data in your classroom.

View the webinar here. 


Other Information

Autism Consultation Visits – Got ESY?

Our Autism Consultants are available to provide consultations for students with autism for no charge. Please contact Doug Doty at ddoty@mt.gov if you are interested in scheduling a consultation visit.

As a bonus, two teachers who schedule a consultation visit during ESY will get a three-month trial to use the Navigating the Zones newest product. Please contact Doug Doty at ddoty@mt.gov if you are interested in scheduling an ESY visit this summer.  

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 (dkimmet2@mt.gov). 

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Doug Doty, Statewide Coordinator

OPI Montana Autism Education Project

ddoty@mt.gov 459-5303