Montana Autism Education Project News – December 2018



BIG NEWS: Beginning July 1, 2019 there will be a new Montana educational criteria for autism. In the spring of 2019, the OPI will share the draft criteria for public comment. Comments will be reviewed and the new criteria will be published by July 1st. We will provide training in the new criteria before and during the 2019 school year.


One very important thing to keep in mind – students who have been identified by their ER team as having autism prior to July 1, 2019 WILL NOT have to meet the new autism criteria.


We will provide information about opportunities for comment and trainings through this newsletter and our blog.



Upcoming Trainings:


Communication Tips & Techniques for Teachers of Children Ages 4-8


Billings   January 12

In this workshop, learn about literacy activities that can support your learners with communication, social emotional awareness and actions, and about how to embed literacy intervention support. The day will include a mixture of theory, practice, and hands on activities you can implement with the children you serve. 

Information/Registration LINK




Polson     January 15
Kalispell  January 16    
Missoula   March 13


Check-In Check-Out is a Tier II  intervention, designed especially for students whose problem behaviors (a) are unresponsive to Tier I practices and systems, (b) do not require more immediate individualized interventions, and (c) are observed across multiple settings or contexts.  

Register here.



LAMP Training


Billings - February 4

Bozeman - February 5

Missoula - February 7


Language Acquisition through Motor Planning (LAMP) is a therapeutic approach based on neurological and motor learning principles. The goal is to give individuals who are nonverbal or have limited verbal abilities a method of independently and spontaneously expressing themselves in any setting. Registration for the LAMP trainings will open in December.



CEC Conference


Helena              February 20-22nd


There are several sessions related to autism:


Autism and Interdisciplinary Collaboration

Teaching Self-Regulation Skills and Techniques

Inventing Tomorrow: Strategies for Improving Transition Services for Students with High Functioning Autism

The Basics and Beyond: Strategies You Need to Know to Effectively Teach Students on the Autistic Spectrum


                        (Our registration scholarships for the conference have already been assigned.)


You can see the full agenda here.



STAR Training


Tentative* dates are: 


Kalispell            March 4-5

Missoula           March 6-7 

Sidney              March 26-27 

Billings             April 8-9

Great Falls        April 10-11


The OPI Montana Autism Education Project is planning a series of STAR trainings across Montana in the spring of 2019. The STAR Program teaches children with autism the critical skills identified by the National Research Council. The ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) instructional methods of discrete trial training, pivotal response training and teaching functional routines form the instructional base of this comprehensive program for children with autism. Registration will open in late January/early February. 

            * Pending approval of the State Superintendent


Facing the Frontal Lobe: Strategies to Support Executive Function Skills in Students with Planning, Organization, Emotional Control, Working Memory and Attention Needs

Bozeman March 26th


Participants in the workshop will explore the impact of Executive Functioning on student learning and social interaction. The workshop is designed for all educators as attention is given to those skills needed by kindergarten through middle school students to be successful in a general and special education classroom.  


Register here.


ADOS Booster


Missoula           April 19th


This is a one day review of the ADOS 2 training complete with scoring practice and practical question review. Participants are required to bring their ADOS manuals for reference in scoring practice. Registration will open in January.



Online Training in Autism Spectrum Disorders and Behavior Interventions – NOW WITH MORE COURSES!


We offer subscriptions to a highly-rated online training in autism spectrum disorders and behavioral interventions. The training provides 83 hours of instruction in autism spectrum disorders and behavioral interventions.  The training must be completed in 90 days. OPI renewal units, ASHA and LCPC CEUs are also available. New groups start the middle and beginning of each month. 


If you are interested in taking the training please go here to register. You can go here to see the updated listing of courses.



Montana Autism Education Project recent blog posts of interest:


Autism 101


How is autism diagnosed? What explains the rise in autism’s prevalence? How much do genes contribute to the condition? What about the environment? In this section of Spectrum, dubbed Autism 101, we answer these and other questions about autism. Each article pulls together the latest science to reflect what we know.


Read more here.


New Government Report Suggests 1 In 40 Kids Have Autism


While there is some debate over whether parent surveys or medical records are more accurate, the true prevalence rate is probably somewhere between 1 in 40 and 1 in 59, said Alycia Halladay, chief science officer at the Autism Science Foundation.

“There is evidence to say that the method of collection impacts prevalence numbers,” Halladay said.

The autism prevalence rate of 2.5 percent found in the 2016 parent survey is up from 1.7 percent in 2014 and 1.5 percent in 2012. But Kogan cautioned that the rise could be mostly attributable to changes in the survey format.

Read more here. 


Diagnostic Criteria for Autism through the Years 


Note: the APA did not publish separate criteria for autism until 1980 

DSM I (1952) 
000-x28 Schizophrenic reaction, childhood type 
Here will be classified those schizophrenic reactions occurring before puberty. The clinical picture may differ from schizophrenic reactions occurring in other age periods because of the immaturity and plasticity of the patient at the time of onset of the reaction. Psychotic reactions in children, manifesting primarily autism, will be classified here. 

DSM II (1968)
[autism was not mentioned; the word appears only under the following category]
295.8  Schizophrenia, childhood type 
This category is for cases in which schizophrenic symptoms appear before puberty. The condition may be manifested by autistic, atypical and withdrawn behavior; failure to develop identity separate from the mother's; and general unevenness, gross immaturity and inadequacy of development. These developmental defects may result in mental retardation, which should also be diagnosed. 

Read more here.



Upcoming and Archived Webinars


Webinar - Research updates on transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) for ASD


Wed, Dec 5

For more than 20 years, researchers have been studying TMS as a potential therapy for a number of neurological and psychiatric conditions. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has cleared the use of TMS for the treatment of depression in adults who haven’t been helped by medication. The use of TMS for autism is an emerging area of research.

Register here.



Archived Webinar - Sensory Smart™ Strategies for Real-Life Challenges


This presentation will demystify sensory processing difficulties, emphasizing practical strategies and solutions. You’ll learn techniques to cope with sensitivity to noise, touch, movement, sights, taste and smell and ways to prevent sensory overload. You’ll also find out more about “sensory diet” activities and environmental modifications that can help individuals maintain an optimal state of arousal
throughout the day.


Go here to register and view the webinar.


Webinar - School Engagement and Avoidance: What to do When Your Child is Struggling

Tuesday, December 4

This training will help parents and others consider positive approaches to working with a child’s school to increase school engagement when attendance becomes a concern.

Register here. 



Using Smartphones, Watches, and Wearables to Support Executive Function for All Ages


Monday, December 3

This workshop will explore ways that smart phones, smart watches, and other wearable can support executive function skills for people of all ages. Participants will learn ways to increase time awareness and focus, how to use reminders, explore tools to organize and prioritize, and discuss task initiation and completion. The tools and strategies demonstrated will benefit people with disabilities such as ADHD, executive function disorder, autism spectrum disorder, and blind or low vision.

Register here. 


Other items


The OPI Division of Special Education has a new blog that shows special education training opportunities from the OPI and the CSPD regions. You can also subscribe to our new Special Education Trainings mailing list on this page.


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 (


Thank you for subscribing to this mailing list. If you know others who might wish to receive this newsletter they can subscribe here. If you have questions please email Doug Doty at as direct replies to this email will go to an unmonitored mailbox.




Doug Doty, Statewide Coordinator

OPI Montana Autism Education Project 459-5303