Special Education

Montana Autism Education Project

Monday, April 4, 2011, 4:14 pm

The Montana Autism Education Project (MAEP) of the Division of Special Education has provided consultation/training visits from the three MAEP autism consultants to 27 school districts across the state so far this year. These consultation visits are available to any school district serving students with autism and typically last one or two days with a follow-up report and the opportunity for further visits.


The MAEP will be paying the registration fees for local staff in the Missoula and Billings area to attend autism conferences this spring and summer. This provides increased opportunities for staff training with little or no cost to districts and is a way of supporting autism conferences. We are also paying for a nationally recognized autism speaker to appear at the Montana CEC conference and are looking at bringing back advanced training in the PECS communication system as a follow-up to the 2010 PECS trainings in Kalispell, Belgrade and Miles City. These two-day trainings cost less than $80 per attendee, which was necessary to cover the cost of materials.


Other ways the Montana Autism Education Project has been working to support schools in educating students with autism are:


Providing information about educating students with autism either by sponsoring the cost for a webinar at multiple locations (18 sites in March, from Plentywood to Libby) or sharing information about free webinars on the Montana Autism Education Project blog (http://www.opi.mt.gov/autism/maep). The increasing use of webinars and sharing information through the internet makes a great amount of autism knowledge available anywhere, anytime. The MAEP blog is updated several times a week with news, information and upcoming trainings about autism and Asperger’s.

Piloting a two-day training in developing functional behavior assessments and behavior interventions for students with problem behaviors. Although the training is focused on students with autism, the information from the training can be used with any student who has behavior problems. This training will be replicated across Montana.

This school year the MAEP began  providing a monthly half-day training and follow-up consultation to 11 districts in Northwest Montana. The 40 staff attending each training are given homework assignments which are then reviewed by the MAEP autism consultants, in addition to side-by-side consultations. The purpose of this training model is to develop the autism expertise of staff in each participating district. The feedback about this training model from the special education teachers, school psychologists and administrators has been very positive. We will be doing this same intensive autism training and consultations for schools in the Bitterroot Valley and Missoula area in the 2011-2012 school year. In the following years, we will share this model across the state.

For more information, contact Doug Doty, 444-0907