Montana Autism Education Project News – January 2018

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 on the proposed rule and trainings through this newsletter and our blog.

Please Note: If you have questions regarding any of the information below please email Our newsletter software does not forward reply emails to me. 


Upcoming Trainings:

LAMP Training

Bozeman   February 5

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.

You can find more information and register here for Bozeman. The Billings and Missoula workshops are overfull and registration has closed for those locations.


AAC & Proloquo2Go: How to Program for a Better Implementation and Outcome!

Kalispell   February 6th
Missoula   March 21  

Attendees will receive  information to confidently help individuals who rely on AAC. This session will provide attendees with the opportunity to learn the “ins and outs” of the iOS app, “Proloquo2Go” from Participants will learn to navigate the app, discover new features and practice programming the app in a way that is salient. The group will review case studies and talk about specific student’s needs.

Read more and register here.

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

You can see the full agenda here.


STAR Training

Kalispell              March 4-5

Missoula              March 6-7 

Sidney                  March 26-27 

Billings                 April 8-9

Great Falls           April 10-11

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. This is a two-day workshop with limited attendance and you must attend both days of the workshop.

Find more information and register here.


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.

Rage to Reason

Great Falls  April 6th

Amy Buie, MEd, BCBA, LBA has over 25 years of experience working in the field of Applied Behavior Analysis. She is the CEO of Learning Momentum, an agency specializing in the treatment of children with emotional disorders who have challenging behavior. She is the author of  Behavior Mapping, Teaching Appropriate Behavior to Children with Autism and Related Disorders and Rage to Reason.

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. You must have completed a prior ADOS 2 training to attend this workshop. This will be our only ADOS Booster training in 2019.

You can register here.

ADOS 2 Training

Region V CSPD is planning an ADOS-2 Certification workshop in June of 2019. We will share more information with you when registration for that workshop opens. We are also in discussion with Region III CSPD about hosting an ADOS 2 Training in Billings this year.


Online Training in Autism Spectrum Disorders and Behavior Interventions – NOW WITH 77 COURSES!

We offer subscriptions to a highly-rated online training in autism spectrum disorders and behavioral interventions. The training provides up to 110 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:

 Circle Activity – Let’s Go Shopping!

This activity reinforces pattern and color recognition as students work in teams to complete a series of matching tasks in a scavenger hunt.


                        Visual sequence strip (provided)

                        Shopping image cards (provided)

                        Shopping word/picture list (provided; choose based on skill level)

                        Bag or basket (1 per team)



                        Blank notecards (3” x 5”)

Find the full activity at STAR Autism Support. 

PECS and Speech Generating Devices: A Comparison Study

A pilot communitybased randomized controlled trial was conducted to compare the effects of the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) to a teaching sequence using a hightech Speech Generating Device (SGD) to teach social communication behaviors. A total of 35 schoolage children were randomized to either a hightech (SGD device) or lowtech (PECS cards) form of Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC). Study participants received 4 months of communication training delivered in their classrooms, and the primary outcome measures of the trial were several functional communication skills emphasized in the PECS teaching sequence. Results indicated that both hightech and lowtech AAC approaches resulted in significant improvements in communication, and that these improvements did not differ significantly between the two approaches. 


Helping Anxious Students

20 Tips to Help De-escalate Interactions With Anxious and Defiant Students, by Katrina Schwartz

Helping Anxious Students Move Forward, by Jessica Minahan 


Contingency Contracts

1.     Contingency Contract: this is also referred to as a behavioral contract; it is basically a document that specifies a contingent relationship between the completion of a specified behavior and access to or a delivery of a specified reward. The contract should be developed with the teacher and the student to modify academic performance/work completion. The recommended goal tracking apps or check-in, check-out sheets could be used to help set goals.

a.      Ideas for contingency contract: working for increments of time to earn points or numbers off of work, turning in one assignment per day and then working up. Make sure you pick a goal that is obtainable and then work toward bigger goals as you see success. (Start with math like we discussed then add in other subjects as you see consistent success).

b.     Sample contracts and steps for implementation can be found at these websites:


                 ii. ,


                                                                       (From OPI Autism/Behavior Consultant, Anna Donohoe)

Good Study Design Does Not Equate Useful Results

A tongue-in-cheek example of why it's important to look closely at how a study is designed and not just the results.

Parachute use to prevent death and major trauma when jumping from aircraft: randomized controlled trial


Upcoming and Archived Webinars

Webinar - Using Video Modeling To Teach Social Skills

Jan 28, 2019 

In this webinar you’ll learn:

How to incorporate video modeling into your teaching repertoire.

Practical strategies and technology tools to help make video modeling easy

Actual video clips and sample video models used for student intervention will be showcased, demonstrating just how effective—and fun—video modeling can be.

Register here. 

Webinar - Resolving Common Problems for Individuals with IDD in Learning to Cook

February 7, 2019 

Difficulties in opening food packaging
: A range of options will be offered for opening common products as well as traditional and pull-top cans. 

Difficulties in mixing ingredients: Though a simple action, many individuals with motor challenges will need special methods to grasp the needed motion and the presentation will offer several. 

Challenges in learning how to safely chop and cut ingredients: The presentation will briefly overview some of the most effective means for teaching prep skills with minimal risk.  Over-reliance on others to complete tasks: Independence is often hindered for those with IDD by well-meaning staff and caregivers. Several methods for overcoming this barrier are addressed. 

The presentation will briefly explain how Active Engagement bypasses this problem through use of a pictorial cueing system in lieu of conventional recipes.

Register here. 

Webinar - Mood and ASD: Nutritional Strategies for Anxiety and Depression

Wed, Feb 13, 2019 

Register here.

Archived Webinar – Using Smartphones, Watches and Wearables to Support Executive Function

View the webinar 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. If you are in need of a consultant, please contact Doug Doty at


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 459-5303